How to make heirloom jewels look modern

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Fashion has fallen in love with heirloom jewels this season, explains FRANCESCA FEARON.  Here’s how to style yours for a look that’s modern rather than mid-century.

Tiaras, jewelled headbands, brooches – the embellishments your grandmother and great grandmother chose for a special dance, right? Well, judging by the Prada, Chanel, Saint Laurent, Miu Miu and Dolce & Gabbana runways, there’s nothing old-fashioned about heirloom jewels. In fact, antique jewellery is exactly where fashion is at this season. So take your cue from the catwalks and consider raiding the family jewels.

On the haute couture catwalk, Chanel showcased brooches not only pinned to creamy tweed jackets, but also to skirt pockets and clasping the shoulder strap of a slip dress. Another way to re-invigorate a brooch is to attach it (or several) to a ribbon. De Beers says customers have been asking for their diamond brooches to be fixed to silk ribbons so they can wear them like chokers – a nod to another important trend from the spring catwalks (Dior and Versace had models wearing chokers, and Christopher Kane tucked unkempt hair into his choker neckpieces). It suggests a new way of wearing granny’s string of pearls; or perhaps try coiling one of Mikimoto’s pretty, new pearl and turquoise Sonnet sautoirs around your neck several times with a bit of loose hair carelessly caught between the strings.

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Chanel SS16

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Chanel SS16

The underlying message is to dress down ornate jewels. Wear with jeans and a white shirt, casually, provocatively and with attitude.
At Saint Laurent, Hedi Slimane showed the route to this thoroughly modern casual opulence by dressing his models in sparkly tiaras, but in a Courtney Love way – low on the brow, with leather jackets, slip dresses and fishnet tights. The look revisited the glory days of grunge.

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Saint Laurent SS16

Heirloom rings are also getting a new life. Old cocktail rings are mixed with kooky modern designs at Gucci for that wonderful play
on granny chic that designer Alessandro Michele makes so compelling. And Edwardian-style pearl drop and chandelier earrings are
also on-trend at Gucci. The key to wearing heirlooms is to make them look modern and effortless. If you inherit something that’s not quite your style, find a way of incorporating it into your wardrobe. It’s time to love your granny’s jewels again.

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Gucci SS16

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Gucci SS16

Main image Dior SS16

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