The trend for colour blocking and jewel tones is key this season but there is one colour combo that has always been the most striking – black and white. Whilst our commitment to this tried and tested, dramatic yet chic colour scheme is omnipresent, there is one decade in particular that had the most fun with it. Sixties London was a happening platform for monochrome in fashion and this was reflected in the textiles of the era. Contemporary art and graphics like Andy Warhol’s Pop images and the Op art paintings of Bridget Riley were inspiring young freelance designers who sold their work to influential companies like Heal’s and Conran Fabrics. Fashion was becoming more disposable and easy to make and buy during the sixties. The famous ‘paper dresses’ were marketed as ‘instant fun’ and there was a similar feeling to the jewellery of that time. It was oversized and bold, intended to stand out in the crowd just like the rest of your outfit. Plastic was being used a lot and the shapes were large, geometric and often rounded. These pieces by House of Harlow available at Urban Outfitters show how an eye catching simple black and white graphic pattern can pack a punch.
The earrings in particular could easily have been worn by the infamous Edie Sedgwick; socialite, style icon and Andy Warhol’s most talked-of muse. Edie, who became known for her ‘shoulder-duster’ earrings, would wear no other jewellery besides them. Erickson Beamon, masters of the chandelier earring, designed the jewellery worn by Sienna Miller when she portrayed Edie in the film ‘Factory Girl’ in 2007. This season they have a collection called Loopy Loop which includes these plastic fantastic beaded black earrings.
The 1960s were definitely synonymous with the statement earring. With your Twiggy style haircut and bold black eyeliner, button earrings could really frame your face and give you the Biba doll look.
Fun, youth and sex appeal are key features of 1960s fashion and these ideas are definitely present in fashion jewellery today with lots of designers mixing types of plastic and Lucite with precious metals and crystal. The use of black and white often gives these materials a more sophisticated edge. Our modern monarch of all things monochrome and chic is definitely Karl Lagerfeld. The fine jewellery for Chanel – and particularly his camellia rings – have the flower power and monochrome magic of the sixties with a lux au courant twist. They are the ultimate way to do your stylish sixties swing thing!