When I read the fashion forecasts for an upcoming season, I get a little feisty. Magazine articles prophesying that “Monstrous Minnie Mouse Hairbows will be the Must-Have Accessory of the Season” make me say, “I’d rather die than put that stupid *#$@&! thing on my head.”
Certainly some fashion trends open my eyes to design concepts I hadn’t dreamt. Fascinators? Crazy-chunky knitwear? Sarah Jessica Parker’s Victorian chandelier earrings that followed a decade of understated jewelry? Thank you, Fashion! But can we agree that following the stupider fashion trends makes us just . . . followers (or worse – stupid?).
So five seasons ago, when fashion prophets forecasted a trend of bold floral accessories, I (of course) was suspicious. (Big, bold florals? I’ve seen Little Shop of Horrors – it doesn’t end well!) But the more I see florals as a design statement, not some Jane Austen-Regency notion, the more I LIKE it. Interpreting this trend into my own aesthetic, I’ve started using silk flowers in my jewelry designs. I love how feminine and romantic silk flowers look in bracelets and earrings, but their design is bold and slightly over-stated, so the effect is also fashion-forward.
Silk flowers are an inexpensive element to give some trendy style to your usual jewelry. When choosing silk flowers I pay a lot of attention to quality and scale. I want flowers that can hold their own next to metal components for daily wear. And I want blossoms that look correct for the piece: too small and the flowers get lost, too large and you’ll look like a walking garage sale.
If you want to use silk flowers in your jewelry designs, I’ve found that it help to approach your piece with an engineer’s eye. Silk flowers are textile and “malleable.” So I use rigid elements – beads, bead caps, headpins, etc. – to give the whole piece a structure that allows for fabric elements.
For us artists, silk flowers are a very easy way to take the floral trend and incorporate it into our own pieces. Just don’t sell out: your own designs will always be better than some fad that shouldn’t have ever been.