TRENDS: Wrapping in jewellery

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Adorn Insight shows you eight ways to stay on trend with wrapping.

Wrapping has been a key trend on the catwalks and has a multitude of applications in jewellery from settings to decoration. Juliet Hutton-Squire and Maia Adams of Adorn Insight talk you through the trend and why it has such potential for jewellers.

If there’s one characteristic that marks out a strong trend it’s versatility, and right now they don’t come more versatile than wrapping, which in its simplest manifestation can be explained as the enveloping of one key element with another to create a focal point.

Always the marker of a directional new trend, the catwalks explored the notion of wrapping in a number of interesting forms. In homage to the film Black Swan British

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designer Erdem’s SS11 collection included shoes with ribbon ties snaked around the models’ legs and at Emilio Pucci
corset-inspired boots ruled. Tying and strapping were recurrent motifs at Roberto Cavalli too, where leather fringing wrapped and flapped around waistlines and wrists. Looking ahead to AW11 – thus pinpointing a trend with mileage – Alexander McQueen gave us leather-strap bodices that contrasted against gossamer light fabrics.

Away from the catwalks, wrapping’s influence is seen in homewares such as Ligne Roset’s abstract Bloom lightshades and Kettal’s lace-like pool furniture. It has also been influential in retail, most notably at French luxury brand Hermès’ recently-opened Paris store that was designed by architects Rena Dumas with a focal point of ceiling-high wooden pods fashioned from woven reclaimed wood.

With even the sporting world getting on on the act – London’s 2012 Olympic Stadium is set to be wrapped in a fabric curtain – it is little wonder the jewellery world has fallen under the spell of a technique that’s strength lies in its ability to remain fresh with each re-imagining.

Across the spectrum – from high street to designer fashion, luxury to fine – the ways to incorporate wrapping into a jewellery collection are as numerous as they are easy on the eye. The result is a host of diverse applications, each one suited to a particular look. Most importantly however, their wide ranging nature will endear them to a broad customer base.
We’ve selected eight top ways to work with wrapping and have illustrated these methods with examples from a variety of jewellers from Annoushka to Dior. Read on to discover the wrap that’s perfect for your customer.

WRAP CAGE
The cage offers up a wide variety of options, all of them striking. The focal point of Fei Liu’s appropriately named Whispering Double Cage necklace is a diamond-studded lace teardrop pendant suspended from delicate vines. The hollow form created by the organic wrapping is both intricate and feminine; however the beauty of this application is that it lends itself to a number of aesthetics, each one capitalising on satisfying texture and visual appeal. Depending on how they are constructed cages can range from spun sugar-like spheres and peek-a-boo orbs to more angular criss-crossed bars designed to encase a geometrically cut stone.  

WRAP AS SETTING
In this instance the wrapping performs a key function in providing the base, or setting, for the focal point, be it a rough-cut gem, sentimental charm or classic pearl. Although the setting is kept low key its function is to enhance the centrepiece and as such, the subtle wrapped and coiled effect provides just the right level of background detail. While it is demonstrated here on classically styled Aspinal of London pearl earrings, the wrap setting can be applied equally well to rings, brooches and pendants. 

WIRE WRAPPED
This evocation of the trend sees the wrapping element literally wound around a base unit so the two parts become a whole. Because the wrapping is not essential to the structure of the final piece, this is an application that allows for a more creative approach perfectly suited to fashion-forward pieces such as this Adena gold cuff by Mezi.

WRAPPED EMBRACE
If proof were needed that the wrap trend has longevity, Cartier’s Trinity ring is it. First designed in 1924, and still going strong today, the success of the design lies in the way its disparate elements intertwine to create a harmonious whole which looks good from any angle. This type of execution – which moves away from the notion of literal wire wrapping – also provides a perfect opportunity to mix colours such as increasingly popular rose gold into a collection. Build on the romance element with this technique: incorporate it into a bridal collection or think about something along these lines for Valentine’s Day.

WRAP INTEGRATION
Here, the entire unit is created through wrapping and winding. There are no extraneous elements, which means that the focus is entirely on the graphic shape of the piece; in this case British designer Jules Smith’s gold-plated Festival cuff. This is a versatile look which needs no further embellishment and which works well dressed up for the evening, or with jeans and a T-shirt for a more casual day look.  

WRAP COIL
Coiling fine wire around a thicker element is a great way to create texture and surface interest. The manual nature of this application means that individuality is a key feature of the look. It also results in a handcrafted feel which taps into the season’s mood for artisanal-inspired jewellery. These Dana Kellin earrings are the perfect example where roughly wound ultra-fine wire thread provides a backdrop to natural Labradorite droplets and gold beads. Note that in simpler versions of this application, wire can also be twisted around itself to fashion a double helix-like structure that forms the basis of simple rings and bangles. Adding a selection of these pieces to a collection is a great way of capitalising on the vogue for stacking. 

WRAP ENTWINE
Essentially this is an open net-like structure in which gems appear to be suspended. US jeweller Alexis Bittar capitalises on the look in these free-form Calder earrings where the absence of a dense setting allows light to pass through the stones and show them off to their best advantage. If you’re after a look that’s airy and youthful, this is how to do it.

WRAP SCROLL
As with the Wrap Entwine method, this look allows for a more whimsical approach to designs that can be as simple, or as complicated, as desired. Beautiful blooms are big news right now and in this case Dior Fine Jewellery’s creative director Victoire de Castellane works metal scrolls, giving rise to an organic application which complements the ring’s floral arrangement. Note that as with Wrap as Setting, the wire is harmoniously integrated as part of the design to hold the juicy coloured pear-shape stones in place. 

 

ABOUT ADORN INSIGHT Recently-launched Adorn Insight is a subscription-based jewellery trends analysis agency with a difference. Dedicated to elucidating the season’s hottest jewellery trends, Adorn Insight’s brief is to present its findings as easily accessible inspirations and commercially viable applications that can be used in all spheres of jewellery.

 

This article was taken from the April 2011 issue of Professional Jeweller magazine. See the whole edition by clicking here.

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