How can a single piece of jewellery tell an entire story of our time? In a constantly changing world, jewellery trends are not just decorations but profound reflections of our collective spirit. This article, beyond offering insights into upcoming trends, delves into how fashion and jewellery provide us with a glimpse into society's pulsating heart and how underlying currents shape our aesthetic choices.
I'll immerse you in a selection of the style directions and expressions in jewellery that I noticed during the fashion week back in February. My focus will be on the themes expected to dominate the autumn and winter fashion for AW23/24. Simultaneously, I will reflect upon the symbols and values I see embodied in these designs and how they resonate with our current zeitgeist.
The central trends I will cover include:
- Large earrings
- Otherworldly / NatureVerse
- Winter flowers and symbols of peace
- Organic and natural elements
- Chokers, both with and without pendants
- Fabric and leather
- Studs and spikes
As I mentioned in a previous article about trends, today's fashion is characterised as a vast self-service buffet of styles. AW23/24 sees everything from the 70s, 80s, 90s to Y2K represented - a true blend of decades. The Danish journal 'TID & Tendenser' introduces the term ‘newstalgia’, where nostalgia takes a modern twist. This highlights our inclination to lean towards the comfort of the past in uncertain times. The fashion for the upcoming autumn and winter is clearly influenced by the current global unrest. This is evident in the use of defensive elements like spikes and studs but also in more comforting elements that offer joy and solace, such as flowers and romantic expressions.
For the AW23/24 season, there are two primary focal areas:
- Earrings in general, with an emphasis on very large designs.
- Chokers in various forms, both with and without pendants.
Earrings as works of art
Earrings, which I'd rather term as ear adornments, were the focal point of the fashion week. In the AW23/24 season, we observe a distinct shift in how they are perceived and worn. They are no longer just accessories but works of art that can transform a look. This is most evident with the "statement" earrings trend, where large, sculptural, and often asymmetrical use is in focus, often occupying multiple piercings at once.
Solo or stacking of chunky earrings
Designers at the fashion week played immensely with shape and scale. Everything from studs to hoops, cuffs, and drops is in the mix - and they often cover vast portions of the ear. Many of these designs are so prominent that they work best when worn alone as a single earring, or conversely, stacked. Stacking of chunky earrings is a new PopPunk concept, where thick, smooth, almost identical hoops and cuffs are lined up along the ear in the various piercings.
Mirroring and repetition of dangle earrings
A new concept I observed, from the likes of Gucci, is where a larger dangle earring sits in the first piercing, followed by an almost identical but smaller replica in the next. This mirroring and repetition create a fresh perspective on how earrings can be used. It's unusual to utilise a dangle earring for anything other than the primary piercing, but when repeated this way, an extravagant look emerges. And the look isn't limited to identical designs. One can easily wear two different dangle earrings in the same ear.
Otherworldly expression and expansion of placement
Some other notable trends include the "otherworldly" style, where earrings seem like sentient beings. Trussardi has fashioned a sort of "alien" design, where dripping metallic formations emerge from a more stringent shape. Act N.1 presents both utopian and dystopian expressions, with withered flowers wrapping around the face. The idea of something growing and being otherworldly sets forth a new trend: the expansion of jewellery's placement on the body. Hair accessories become earrings, and rings evolve into adornments spanning the entire hand.
Large flower motifs
Last but not least, the large flower designs are something that particularly characterises, not just earrings, this season. I'll return to this later in the article, as it deserves its own section.
Illustration of Unserten’s otherworldly earring resembling half a butterfly.
The adornments showcased by the likes of Act N.1 and Unserten during fashion week strive to be more than just conventional jewellery. They grow and stretch - upwards, outwards, around - almost like living organisms defying gravity. This trend towards the otherworldly and wildly growing, combined with a surreal aesthetic, is what I perceive as one of the most pronounced new trends.
The influence of artificial intelligence and the rise of the MetaVerse will undoubtedly shape the designs of the coming years. The sci-fi series "The Last of Us" and its portrayal of all-encompassing fungal spores also seem to me as a potential source of inspiration for future jewellery designers.
The term "NatureVerse" aptly describes this new trend, combining nature's wonders with the potential of technology. With this fusion, we're encouraged to learn from the world's most advanced and intelligent "technology" – nature itself.
Asymmetry as symbol and charm
When discussing earrings this season, especially asymmetry stands out. Many of them are dominant statement pieces, and when worn in just one ear, a striking asymmetry is created, symbolising, to me, a world out of balance.
This imbalance, however, also carries its unique charm. Just as small unique features and asymmetrical quirks in a face add character, a single prominent earring can also impart a distinct allure to an individual. Think beauty spots – a spot on either side of the lips wouldn't have the same effect. The asymmetry works as a charm, much like when women tuck their hair behind one ear flirtatiously. Many of the earrings showcased on the runway are so unique and dominant that two identical pieces would seem overwhelming. Alexander McQueen’s otherworldly orchid-like flower earring is a good example of this. View it here.
This trend towards asymmetry could also be reflecting a more cautious economic period. In a world that still feels uncertain, investing in one earring instead of a pair might seem a wise decision. This also allows room for personal customisation, as different designs can be combined to create a unique look. I have a strong feeling this trend will continue to influence the fashion world in the future.
After the earring, the choker has become the primary focus. From São Paulo to Paris, this necklace silhouette is the leading trend for AW23/24. We especially see it crafted in materials like fabric and leather, and particularly the variations with pendants catch the eye.
Romantic or torn apart
Many brands present a rosette in a leather cord choker. Especially Sportmax’s naturalistic orchid stands out as a striking piece of jewellery, adding to a romantic expression that, in a way, symbolises the 'Insta-perfect' culture. View it here.
In contrast, Weinsanto shows a choker that hints at a flower in the middle but with a distinct damaged look, where the chain also has frayed elements and loose links. This serves as a reminder of a world in chaos. The typical glossy image we associate with jewellery is torn apart and reassembled, creating a raw look that many might feel the need to express.
Studs & Spikes
Many brands have incorporated studs and spikes into their AW23/24 collections. At New York Fashion Week, Collina Strada showcased chokers with long spikes - a potent symbol of a world marked by insecurity. View it here.
Several brands followed the trend with own interpretations, where notably Moschino's bullet-like spikes on a black leather collar stood out. But also, Chiara Boni La Petite Robe’s wide collar with three rows of studs was thought-provoking - perhaps a symbol that we don't feel free, even though the Corona pandemic has loosened its grip.
A recurring trend for these chokers is the black colour with silver-coloured spikes and studs. Although Christian Dior offers a sophisticated variant where studs are replaced with white pearls, the strict and harsh expression is retained. View their new Punk Choker design here.
During Copenhagen's fashion week, Holzweiler presented an alternative approach, with a choker made of ruffled black fabric and a very organic round silver pendant – with worn edges as if it was a raw silver lump dug out of the ground – a look that collectively gives both a raw, natural, and romantic expression.
Winter flowers: A sign of climate change or peace?
In addition to the choker, Christian Dior also has a floral universe where organic yet imperfect forms with a bit of patina on the edge adorn both a crown and delicate rings. This leads me to the next standout trend, namely flowers. During the AW23 fashion weeks, they were especially seen in the form of rosettes on clothes and as small brooches for both genders. But they are sprouting up in many places, and I see them in various versions as earrings and pendants for necklaces.
Illustration of Christian Dior’s floral crown at AW23/24 fashion week.
The rose as a symbol of peace
From Emporio Armani to Yuhan Wang, Macario Jiménez, and Vaillant, the rose is a central theme for AW23, primarily featured as rosettes and adornments on clothing. Given the current global political turmoil, especially the war in Ukraine, I believe that this pronounced rose trend will continue into next season, since fashion often reflects strong societal situations.
As I see it, the rose, whether worn as a rosette, brooch, or pendant, and regardless of its colour, stands as a strong symbol of a yearning for peace and love in the world. Just like the anti-war protest movement of the 1960s, which grew in response to the Vietnam War with slogans like "Make Love, Not War", the rose, along with hearts and flowers in general, can be viewed as symbols of a renewed peace movement. It's also interesting to note that the rose was particularly prominent in European fashion weeks for AW23/24.
Illustration of a black flower brooch at AW23/24 fashion week.
It will be interesting to see how the roses perhaps move to other body parts in the coming seasons. It's an ideal symbol for jewellery, as it besides peace, also represents love. However, the rose is also a classic and iconic symbol, so perhaps a fresh take on its design will be required to add something intriguing to jewellery. We'll have to wait and see which direction this development takes. Personally, I can't deny being tempted to create a rose piece, even though I may not fully believe in it as a lasting trend.
A Flower with History: Chanel's Camellia
While the rose takes centre stage in many collections, Chanel has chosen a different flower closely tied to the brand's heritage. Their impressive show set a high standard, where massive red and white blossoms surrounded the runway. Although many might assume they are roses, they represent the Camellia flower, Coco Chanel's favourite bloom. Their ready-to-wear AW23/24 collection has just been launched.
The prominent flowers
Aside from the rose, other flowers can also be found in various places in the jewellery trends for AW23/24, and there are generally more of them than in the previous fashion week for SS22. There are also more Google searches for 'Flower earrings' than in the previous year, indicating an upward trend. While they were mainly colourful and made of resin, shells, or glass in SS 2023, they are now more often made of metal or fabric. Previously, they were soft, chunky, and rounded, but now they are either lifelike and sharp or more surrealistic. And in general, they are just BIG.
One of my favourites from AW23/24 fashion week is Andreas Kronthaler artistic flower earring design for Vivienne Westwood. View it here.
The floral theme thus seems to be moving from more classical roses to large, sculptural, and often surrealistic flower designs that challenge the norms of how flowers can be portrayed and presented in fashion.
Two other floral designs that truly captivate me are Completedworks' oversized, organic gold earrings, which you can view here, and their bead flower earrings with its feminine glow. See them here.
Haute Couture: Flowers are always in style
Whether they were jewellery or attached to clothing, flowers, petals, leaves, and buds were the standout motif in Haute Couture for AW23. Even though winter collections are often expected to have the colder months in mind, major fashion houses like Valentino, Armani, and Chanel presented a plethora of floral motifs.
Illustration of Calcaterra's giant leaf brooch.
But I see this not just as a stylistic decision, even though it obviously shows that flowers are always in style and that floral motifs will probably never disappear from fashion. It also becomes a reminder of nature's unpredictability in the light of climate change. The floral trend in the winter season questions traditional seasonal expectations and reminds us that climate changes are turning our world upside down.
The organic and natural
The combination of natural stones in brown colours, irregular shapes, and organic metal complemented Emilie Helmstedt's quirky universe at the fashion week for AW23/24. The jewellery, created in collaboration with Maanesten, merges the extraterrestrial and spiritual, incorporating design elements like alien heads, starfish, and seaweed. Read more about Helmstedt and Maanesten's journey here.
A homemade 70s look
Other brands that also focus on this natural jewellery expression include Ulla Johnson and Ambergleam. Ulla Johnson is one of my favourite jewellery designers and she presented serval leaf-like designs at aw23/24 fashion week. View all her earrings here.
The organic and natural look, especially the homemade look from the 70s with leaves and beads, I believe, has returned to the fashion world as a reaction to our increasingly digital and technology-driven lifestyle. Here, natural materials and handmade designs can symbolise authenticity, simplicity, and a deeper connection to nature.
The 70s, a time marked by social revolution and self-expression, also had a strong urge to break with norms. In many ways, one could argue that we're seeing a similar wave now; a counter to a hectic, superficial everyday life and a desire to find unique, handmade items with a story. Brands like Ulla Johnson and Ambergleam tap into this longing with their design choices.
With the significant societal challenges we face, from climate change to social justice issues, the fashion sector also becomes a mirror that reflects our collective consciousness and desires. And in this consciousness, we see a rediscovery of nature's beauty and power.
I'm excited to see how this trend unfolds further in SS24. So far, there's no doubt it has caught my attention.
Low-key luxury vs. statement designs
This season, gold is toned down in favour of silver, fabric, leather, and resin. This reflects the larger megatrends like resource scarcity and recession, highlighted by the IRIS Group in their latest report.
Although the online trend forecasting magazine WGSN points to a focus on low-key luxury in fashion, statement jewellery continues to dominate as a key trend for AW23/24. This is supported by Tid & Tendenser, which argues that after an extended period of crisis, we're drawn to glitter and imaginative designs as a form of compensation. One could also argue that when fashion is more muted, it allows jewellery to take centre stage - even if the materials aren't the most exclusive.
Fashion and jewellery serve as a reflective mirror in a constantly changing world, illustrating our collective emotions, desires, and values. In these uncertain times, jewellery trends such as organic elements, nostalgic recognitions, and statement designs represent our search for comfort, identity, and beauty. Whether in the form of flowers, studs, or asymmetrical earrings, the trends reflect cultural, social, and environmental values and display our hopes and dreams for the future.
The jewellery trends of AW23/24 testify to a yearning for connection, protection, innocence, and individuality. However, we must remember that these symbols are primarily born out of the world's cultural, political, and emotional state a year earlier - and therefore long before fashion week, where the new designs are presented for the first time.
As a designer, I always try to sense the pulse of the times. Currently, I'm very intrigued by lace and bows, suggesting a new trend for SS24. This could reflect a longing for a more romantic world. Simultaneously, I'm experiencing a strong contrast in design, where the feminine meets the masculine. A balance between softness and strength. This dynamic, which I also see in the current Goth/Punk and more dystopian trends versus the dreamy utopian, I will elaborate on in an upcoming article.
Nothing is more captivating than a contrast, and the beauty of duality is evident in my latest NatureVerse collection, which combines flowers with studs and chains.