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Pearls & Coral on the Runway – 5 Spring/Summer ‘21 Fashion & Jewelry TRENDS

As more and more people get vaccinated, there is hope on the horizon that we can all come out of this pandemic-induced hibernation very soon.  As we start to dress again and, dare I say it, socialize, fashion will reemerge as a fun and fulfilling way to express ourselves. Let’s take a look at five of the hottest fashion and jewelry trends for Spring/Summer 2021, taking our cues from the runways of New York, Paris, London and Milan.

1. From Layered Strands to Drop Earrings, Pearls Prevail

Clockwise from Upper Left – Jason Wu S/S 2021, Simone Rocha S/S 2021, Assael Akoya Pearl Strands, Y Project S/S 2021, Assael South Sea Pearl Pave Hook Earrings, Carolina Herrera S/S 2021

This spring and summer, pearls will continue to enjoy the spotlight as featured in couture collections from a wide variety of designers. Fashion editors I follow at Cosmopolitan, WhoWhatWear, The Zoe Report and more noted the plethora of pearls as the accessory of choice for Spring/Summer 2021. According to Marie Claire, “Designers sent these stones in a mix of silhouettes down the spring runways… from drop earrings to layered necklaces.”

I love how Jason Wu accessorized his earthy and casual-chic new collection with baroque pearl strands. Simone Rocha and Altazurra embellished their fabrics with the feminine allure and sensuous texture of pearls. Rocha also adorned her models with pearl chandelier earrings and/or exotic pearl headdresses.

Y/Project opted to pile on the pearls at both the wrist and hand with wrapping pearls bracelets and rings. Tibi, Altazurra and Carolina Herrera brought the luster up high with bold pearl earrings adorning the face. One of the best things about pearl earrings is the fabulous color variety. From South Sea Whites and Goldens to the deep dark colorful Tahitians, there is a pearl earring for almost any outfit. My favorite Assael earrings are the impeccable designs that allow the pearl drop to be removable, making two earrings in one, which gives me many more chances to wear them.

2. Bare Bodices = More Jewelry: Bralettes/Cutouts/Crochet

Clockwise from Upper Left – Assael Baroque South Sea Pearl Earrings, Assael South Sea Baroque Pearl Strand, Ulla Johnson S/S 2021, Brandon Maxwell S/S 2021, Jason Wu S/S 2021

Just like us, fashion designers are dreaming of warmer temperatures… and showing plenty of skin, especially in the upper torso or bodice. Cutouts reigned supreme at Brandon Maxwell, Sandy Liang, Maisie Wilen, Markarian, Simon Miller and Collina Strada. Bralettes, particularly in knit, were popular in many collections – Jason Wu, Chromat, Veronica Beard, Ulla Johnson and Christian Siriano to name a few. So much so, that The Zoe Report called the trend “All About the Bra.” Crochet was another see-through element making an appearance in various collections from Batsheva to Zimmerman.

These breezy looks call for bold earrings or opaque gems like beads and pearls. Baroque pearls, with their uniquely organic shapes, are best. The solid smooth surface of the pearls balance or offset the lightness of the textures, while their irregular shapes complement the earthy grains in the fabrics.

3. The Zoom Culture Clamors for Glamour in Leisure Wear

There is a great focus on comfort for Spring/Summer 2021, a leftover luxury from lockdown. As the quarantine-inspired Zoom culture is likely to continue, this trend offers a way to step up our WFH attire.  Refinery29 calls it leisurewear, while Fashionista touts glam sweatsuits.  Tom Ford featured lounge pants with sweaters. Brandon Maxwell, Cynthia Rowley, Collina Strada, PH5, Rodarte and Veronica Beard debuted glam sweat suits. The “Ladies Who Lounge” (Harper’s Bazaar) or “Luxe Pajamas” (Fashionista) trend works well with the ever-appropriate appeal of solid metals like silver and gold chains or the simplicity and elegance of Akoya pearls to add a touch of sophistication.

I love to spruce up my loungewear with the elegant simplicity of pearl and gold station chains or hoop earrings. Together, pearls and gold always feel appropriate, never overdressed, just an added a hint of refinement.

4. Look for the Emergence of Beads – Especially Coral

Given ready-to-wear designers’ current crush on earth tones, like burnt orange, sage green and Pantone’s “Illuminating” yellow, coupled with the natural fabrics like knits, netting and crochet, there is no surprise that beads abound for Spring/Summer 2021.  I loved Dior’s bright coral beads in strands both short and long, as well as stacked bracelets. The orange and crimson hues are the perfect complements to the collection’s neutral fabrics and Boho style.

According to Vogue, “Color at the neck will make you look more alive than you feel after back-to-back video calls.” And nothing is more colorful than Assael’s responsibly sourced Sardinian, Sciacca and Angel Skin Coral.  From deeply crimson reds to subtle salmons, nature provides a gorgeous array of treasures in precious corals. Not as conspicuous as traditional bling, but more of an understated luxury vibe.

Learn more about precious coral in our recent blog post by coral expert Rui Galopim de Carvalho, FGA, DGA.

5. Fashion is in the Details… and They’re Fabulously Feminine!

Clockwise from Upper Left –Ulla Johnson S/S 2021, Assael Single Pearl Hair Pins, Bubble Hair Jewels by Sean Gilson for Assael, Carolina Herrera S/S 2021

Other leading Spring/Summer 2021 trends I’m tracking include “prim, girly details” like large “ruffled collars, frills, and balloon sleeves” (The Zoe Report), strong shoulders and hourglass silhouettes, and bright highlighter hues. In terms of accessories and jewelry, belts are back, the wider the better, along with thick chunky chains and lots of charms. Also in abundance are beautiful pearl hair jewels for day and night.

Luckily, it will be easy for all to be both comfy and chic in the coming months. Whether we meet in person or online, we can all add a little glam with the luster of pearls, the exuberance of coral, or a few strategically placed ruffles and creative cutouts. May we all enjoy dressing up again, sooner rather than later. Amen!


If you liked this, you might also like:

Color Forecast – Our Favorite Color Combos from Pantone’s Spring/Summer 2021 Palette

Must Have Styles for Summer – Caftan Culture

The Art of Stress-Free Dressing – Summer Whites

Fun New Ways to Wear Pearls Now


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