Wednesday, 27 May 2009

Trend: Ethnic Luxe

So it appears spring is now upon us: glorious golden sunshine; grey torrential rain; trees in full green leaf and the faint sound of the pastel-coloured ice cream vans, weaving their way through London's back streets.

However, jewellery's already embracing hues evocative of summer; flashes of turquoise green, hot pink and burnt orange have caught my eye. The colours are combined with wonderful and varied textures, creating pieces which hint at handcrafting and individuality. Ethnic luxe is just that: beaded, threaded, woven; a myriad of colour. Each piece is slightly different to the next and - rather than being self-consciously precious - begs to be worn with an air of casual nonchalance.

Fiona Paxton's SS09 colours and patterns quickly caught my eye. Her necklaces rocketed on the fashionista's shopping lists earlier this year when Drew Barrymore was snapped strolling - complete with Judas Priest t-shirt - with one of Fiona's more rock'n'roll designs slung around her neck. The new necklaces are bright and bold, featuring geometric patterns reminiscent of Aztec cloth.

Images courtesy of Nina and Lola

Deeper colours and softer textures appear in the range of beautiful embroidered earrings by Teïka. Taking the metal earring shape as form of frame, Casablanca-based Zeinab El Alami - the mind and hands behind Teïka - carefully hand-stitches each design using a fine needle and brightly coloured silken and metallic threads. Zeinab's designs are described as a 'fresh and modern interpretation of traditional hand embroidery"; an unusual, if not unique mix of Berber jewellery styles and '70s bohemia.

Images courtesy of Kabiri

Wendy Mink is a Tribeca resident who creates jewellery heavily influenced by travels to India and Nepal, featuring rubies, apatite, Peruvian opals; silver and 22ct gold vermeil. Working with Tibetan jewellers, she designs and makes ethnic inspired earrings, necklaces and bracelets. The necklaces below resemble Teïka's designs, but are instead studded with tiny glass beads. Wendy's earrings amalgamate bright semi-precious stones and traditional Indian styling, producing a subtle femininity that is the embodiment of ethnic luxe.

Images courtesy of Wendy Mink

For a quick, affordable ethnic luxe fix, head to Monsoon. Their range of jewellery features oriental fabric-covered bangles, fringed hoop earrings and bright mosaic tile rings. Irresistible!

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