Accents for warm-weather dressing
Most new clothes have less yardage. The accessories to wear with them have, conversely, become a lot more sizable. This spring is a time for the whopping wide belt, the chunky bangle bracelet, and the necklace of extra-large beads.
The corselet belt that snugly girds the midsection will probably do more to revive a skirt and blouse or a favorite chemise dress from last year than any other new spring accouterment. Never mind the comfort (some broad waistbands, like those shown in Paris by Karl Lagerfeld with his collection for Chloe, are boned to keep their shape), it is fashion that counts here.
Not everything that marks the waistline is broad and firm. Sashwraps, wide ribbons, and intertwinings of cords were among the ways that such front-running designers as Ralph Lauren, Geoffrey Beene, and Calvin Klein handled beltlines.
Nor for that matter are all waistlines where they are expected to be. Elongating the torso has its appeal to both American and European fashion creators these days. Narrow leather belts slung low across the hips prevailed at the Perry Ellis showing. Like many others (Giorgio Armani, notably), Ellis also bypasses the natural waist by wrapping the hips in folds of fabric. Tying a scarf around that part of the anatomy is an easy way to emulate this effect.
Big pieces of jewelry are the other accessories that can make the difference between an out-of-date and an up-to-the-minute appearance. Space-age metals are the top of the news--titanium, for instance. Used in interplanetary exploration, titanium is extremely light and strong. Often the metal has been given a chemical bath and electronic charge which gives the titanium surface a rainbow-like iridescence. Aluminum has alsocome into vogue and platinum is the up-market trend in fine jewelry.
Chokers and ropes of bold beads are likely to be composed of both strange and familiar elements. Rome designer Hedy Martinelli, for example, likes to combine antique amber, coral, brass, and the ancient artifacts she finds on trips throughout the Mediterranean.
For those who prefer to think small, the tiny diamond is holding its own in fashion: singly, as a stud earring, and in multiples for pave bar pins, rings, and pendants. Small seed pearls and somewhat larger freshwater pearls in multistrand necklaces and bracelets are other change-offs from the omnipresent gold chains.
In the handbag area, color is the most newsworthy trend of the moment. Conservative shoulder-strap styles from reliable makers like Mark Cross and Coach may now be had in a range of brilliant hues.