All That Glitters

From Calder to bedazzled tribal cuffs, the jewels at New York Fashion Week are oversized and outrageous.

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If this season's Fashion Week jewelry could talk, it probably wouldn't stop saying "look at me." Statement baubles, cuffs and earrings (that wrap around the ear rather than pierce it) have all played roles in enhancing the moody looks strutting down runways at Bryant Park and beyond.

Monday at Donna Karan, necklaces fashioned from oversized gold baubles and jacks (as in the children's sidewalk game) doubled as collars atop turtlenecks. At Marc Jacobs, neckwear was significantly more colorful, yet similarly tactile—one particular bib necklace crafted from dozens of glimmering, sizeable gems helped contribute to Jacobs' '80s club era aesthetic. At Thakoon, accessories, which were the handiwork of Subversive Jewelry's Justin Giunta, were eye-catching as well; each graphic and oversized, adorned with large diamonds and mirrored slabs, generating a feel of both luxury and whimsy. At Michelle Obama favorite Jason Wu's show, jewelry designer Philip Crangi crafted intricate crowns, prime for topping off Wu's regal, elegant looks.

Saturday, Yigal Azrouel complemented his punk-rock collection with tribal-inspired accessories courtesy of New York-based jewelry designer Pamela Love (included in the mix was a studded, leather cuff that wrapped three-quarters of its wearer's forearm…not exactly subtle). At Alexander Wang, the designer showed off the fruits of his collaboration with Brooklyn-based designer Paris Kain of Abraxas Rex (who worked with Francisco Costa of Calvin Klein). Wang's silver cuffs and earrings that encircle the ear, outfitted with dagger-like appendages, were far from demure. Lastly, at Elise Øverland, the jewelry was sourced from Parisian artist Alexander Calder (whom the Whitney recently honored with a retrospective). Calder is famous for his mobile creations, and his jewelry is similarly fascinating—it bends and twists and looks almost malleable.

The ubiquity of statement jewelry at New York Fashion Week seems to be yet another straightforward sartorial byproduct of the recession. With critics ringing in the death of the designer 'It' bag, it was only a matter of time until the focus on handbags as must-have accessories transferred to statement shoes, and, now, statement jewels. At least for New Yorkers, jewels are a far safer investment (or impulse buy, depending) than designer shoes—not so easily destroyed by the not-so-kind city streets.