Girls just wanna have pearls
With the summer officially coming to a close, we can all breathe a sigh of relief that we made it through another season of blockbuster movies and much-hyped fashion trends. In fact, this year the two went hand in hand with the Sex and the City movie (just think of all the gladiator-sandal cameos).
But wait. The movie’s DVD release is slated for September 23, meaning that in just a few weeks, fashion fans worldwide will be stopping, rewinding, analyzing, and dissecting the leading ladies’ outfits.
And they’ll find that throughout the 148-minute film, Carrie Bradshaw wears pearls. She even wears a $12,000 Mikimoto strand to bed! (Who caught that in their first viewing?) What this inevitably means is that one of fall’s biggest accessories trends isn’t python bags or neon sunglasses, but pearl jewellery.
Still, these aren’t the kind of pieces you’d find in your grandmother’s jewellery box. Some of Vancouver’s finest designers have released their own renditions of the trend, in colours and combinations that have never been seen before.
Danielle Wilmore and Wade Papin, the duo behind Pyrrha (www.pyrrha.com)—a brand best known for its sterling silver, bronze, and 14-karat gold pendant castings of 19th-century wax seals—recently launched their first-ever collection of pearl jewellery. “Pearls are an obvious extension to our line,” Wilmore says. “The texture, the history, the romance—all of the attributes of pearls mirror the seals collection.”
Pyrrha’s nontraditional approach finds freshwater strands, which retail for $300 and up, dyed in amazingly deep tones of chocolate, aubergine, wasabi, and even sapphire. Papin explains: “Colour is always an important part of fashion, even when it’s subtle tones of grey or brown. We went with dark, rich tones”¦because we thought that best reflected the feel of our line.”
Each strand of pearls also incorporates one or more of Pyrrha’s signature pendants, and the necklaces are available in both short and long lengths. When layered, the mix of metal seals and lustrous, coloured beads imparts an edgy, slightly moody Victorian goth look—one that mirrors the fall runways of Givenchy and Lanvin, and is perfect for the colder months ahead. In fact, Wilmore says, “We do feel that pearls are better suited to cool weather.”
Another local designer working with pearls is Mindan Gunther-Moore (www.mindans.com), who has been creating pearl jewellery for about a year and a half. The silversmith says her pearl rings are “one of the collections I’m doing and selling the most of right now”. Rather than looking classic and fussy, her rings recast the pearl in a clean, coolly contemporary setting: oversized, naturally asymmetrical orbs sit in a simple, slim silver band.
Gunther-Moore offers a more subdued version of the trend than Pyrrha’s. She admits, “I was never a fan of pearls in the past—my dad gave me a string of pearls for my 16th birthday, and I thought they were kind of boring.” Now, however, she delights in “finding new ways to do something cool”, which has led to the pearl rings ($55), as well as earrings ($70 to $90) and modern-yet-classic necklaces with alternating sterling-silver beads and pearls ($70 to $95). She’s also starting to work with black pearls, combining them with traditional cream pearls for a mod effect, as well as designing pendants that include two pearls, one removable.
On why pearls are enjoying a resurgence in popularity, Gunther-Moore says she believes they transcend age. “I’ve made rings for six-year-old kids, given pearls to my grandma, who’s 87, and there are tons of teenage girls that are interested in pearls.” She says they are “a little bit fancy”, yet still trendy. “Pearls have a classy appeal that a lot of other textures and materials don’t.”
New pearl jewellery collections are also available from international brands like Tiffany & Co. and Chanel, but local labels such as Blingdom (www.blingdom.com) and Sugarlime (www.sugarlime.com)—whose designer, Karen Buder, combines clusters of Swarovski crystals and freshwater pearls in the Nicola bracelet ($150)—show that not only are pearls cool on the big screen, they’re turning heads in Vancouver too.