Seen on the red carpet: Actor Aaron Plumert, journalist and presenter Riad Bahri and sportscaster Aster Nziyama. All three wore elegant clothes with pearls around the neck. Pearls are now more popular than ever. Why do even men return to the grandmother’s gem par excellence? Fashion guru David Defenderdt explains the new appeal. “It’s been another 10 years.”
You may have spotted it. Football commentator Aster Nzeyimana with girlfriend Lize Feryn at MIAs, news anchor Riad Bahri at the Flemish New Media Awards, Kastaars, Ostend Film Festival, as well as actor Aaron Blommaert at Kastaars. They all wear a pearl necklace around their neck, which now seems to be totally fashionable again. Because nowadays pearls are not only part of necklaces, but also part of clothes, makeup and nails.
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Coco Chanel once said, “A woman needs yards and yards of pearls.” And it seems that more and more young jewelry designers are following this motto. Lots of examples here in our country. There’s JEAN, from Ghent’s Janne Lauwers, who gives pearls a lead and a rejuvenating treatment with colorful, playful beads. There is Antwerp’s Billion Avenue, which uses giant pearls in rings and earrings. There’s also Fragille, another Antwerp brand, that pays homage to classic pearl necklaces and bracelets.
And if pearls in your jewelry, clothes, and face weren’t enough, now you can also incorporate them into your manicure. And it can be as subtle or as edgy as you want it to be.
Everyone falls in love with the “Elegant Grandma”
“We associate pearls with luxury, a kind of bourgeois,” says our fashion guru David Deffriendt. “We all know the image of Grace Kelly or Audrey Hepburn in Breakfast at Tiffany’s. Pearls have always given grandeur to an outfit, but at the same time they also had an image of novelty. They have completely got rid of this connotation in recent months. Now the younger generations are also fond of pearls.”
David says this evolution from chic but old-fashioned to chic and cool began about ten years ago. Fashion designers had been experimenting with the pearl for a long time. Around 2010, Dior introduced the now iconic Dior Tribales: a pearl earring with a clasp that was also a thick pearl. In this way, the brand gave the pearl a new vibe: more rock and roll. Other major fashion houses, of course, followed suit. Lanvin, in 2013, for example, with ornate gold necklaces and adorned with pearls.
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This year, fashion’s “Gucciification” also plays a role, according to David. Gucci has been making “grandmother chic” really big under Creative Director Alessandro Michele since 2015: pearls are part of the trend, just like the depardieu we see everywhere now. Fashion brand Celine contributed to the hype by bringing “bourgeois chic” with Her Winter 2019 collection, the style of a Parisian lady from the seventies.
That’s how you get the pearl craze now, almost ten years later, David says. Nostalgia also contributes, of course, to something else that characterizes these times. We know the Pearl from the past, we saw it on our glamorous grandmother or our parents. It’s the absolute nostalgic gem. This goes for someone in their forties, but also for someone in their twenties. And it’s infinitely versatile. That’s why a pearl can go with everyone. Playful or rebellious, with leather or rivets, or very embellished. But no matter how you dress It has the jewel in it: it stays that iconic pearly look.”
Antwerp jewelry shines in the new season of the Netflix series Emily in Paris. Gabriel’s ring is one of a kind.
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