Fall Colors: Relatable With Clever Tweaks

As we conduct more of our lives online, jewelry that stands out on screen will be essential, with a focus on colors and materials that pop.

Pantone’s fashion color palette for fall-winter 2020-21 features traditional tones and surprising shades that offer room for experimentation.

Ten stand-out colors were popular with designers at the seasonal shows: two reds, an upbeat Samba and a substantial Fired Brick; a hypnotic purple Magenta; a dusky pink Rose Tan; two peachy hues, warm Peach Nougat and earthy Sandstone; a radiant autumnal orange Amberglow; a deep cooling blue-green Ultramarine Green; Color of the Year, Classic Blue; and an acidic Green Sheen.

The color palette also includes four new takes on classic neutrals — deep Blue Depths, Military Olive, a bluish-gray Sleet, and off-white Almond Oil. Leatrice Eiseman, executive director of the Pantone Color Institute, calls the colors “relatable yet displaying clever tweaks for the season,” conveying a level of functionality while also lending themselves to unique statements that stand out. She describes the palette as “stripped of excess,” reflecting the “changing mindset of today’s consumers, who prioritize value and longevity over color choices that are here today and gone tomorrow.”

What is most defining for Eiseman is the wide-ranging acceptance among consumers of such a spectrum of colors in a time of what Women’s Wear Daily (WWD) describes as “genderless, seasonless, you-be-you fashion.”

Color Pops in Digital Realm

Jane Collins and Ana Correa, footwear and accessories senior and associate editors, respectively, for the trends forecasting firm WGSN, shared color and gem trends in a recent Couture-hosted webinar. Discussing design priorities during and post-pandemic, color stones play a crucial role in our “above the keyboard dressing” and digitally dominated lifestyles.

Among the design trends fueling a more significant demand for color is our desire for statement jewelry occasion-wear for everyday use to spice up on-screen socializing. “As we conduct more of our lives online, jewelry that stands out on screen will be essential,” says Correa, “with a focus on colors and materials that pop.”

With the wellness sector uptrending, healing stones and the effects around positive-energy materials will be fundamental for jewelry design, cites Correa, including natural semi-precious gemstones, geodes, and calming crystals. “Invest in stones with transformative qualities, unique cuts, or reflective surfaces that create otherworldly aesthetics.” Think opal, mother of pearl, and abalone pearl.

Jonathan Cohen, president of IBGoodman, Newport, Kentucky, reflects this trend in its latest collection for women; Zé features iridescent blue-green abalone pearl, opalescent pink and white mother-of-pearl, and exotic hardwood inlay in thematic designs like wildlife, flowers, organic shapes, and spiritual icons. The pieces are set in silver or gold, some with diamond accents.

Demand for cultured pearls remains strong, as pearls have become a traditional favorite that takes a modern approach to jewelry design. Dana Cali, marketing and communications for Mastoloni, shares the bestsellers for this New York pearl house, like new variations on hoops, pendant necklaces, and wrap-style rings.

“We’re continuing to focus on the female self-purchaser and versatility,” says Cali. “Most new designs are simplistic with main themes/design profiles including multi-pearl designs; bezel-set diamond accents; cages; hoop drops and huggie-style hoops; open-style, abstract designs; asymmetry; stacked illusion rings.”

Collins cites a focus on energizing and restorative colors (especially shades of blue, green, purple, orange, and red), with fancy color sapphire, topaz, and garnets among the preferred gem complements. She adds that Emerald is another stone to watch, signifying nature, balance, comfort, and growth.

Birthstones Bestsellers

Correa underscores birthstones remain the perfect draw for personalization, with these traditional gems among the most meaningful in jewelry design. Their staying power is in their broad appeal to classic and fashion-forward style sensibilities, relates Theresa Namie, Merchandise Manager Ostbye, Minneapolis, Minnesota. Bezels, 3/4/5-stone bands, and stackable rings are among the favorite styles in gem-set jewelry design. Namie notes that women wear their birthstones and those of the ones they love.

It’s no wonder gems like topaz, amethyst, citrine, and garnet continue to be among the leading products for self-purchase, says Allison Peck for the New York-based Color Merchants. Consumers are most familiar and comfortable with these gems, many of which come in multiple colors like sapphire, garnet, and topaz, and are all imbued with meaning. With Classic Blue the Color of the Year, blue gemstones like sapphire, topaz, and tanzanite remain among the favorites in jewelry design, reports Amanda Gizzi, director of public relations and special events for Jewelers of America. But it’s joined by various warm tones in the orange and red family that are popular this fall. “Orangey Amberglow lends itself to mandarin garnets, fire opals, and orange sapphire. Red-hued Samba, Fired Brick, and purple Magenta can be seen in rubies and garnets. Sandstone, Peach Nougat, and Rose Tan exhibit shades of light pink and neutral tans making way for gems like morganite and rose quartz. And Ultramarine Green brings to mind deep blue-green tourmalines.”

Many expect amethyst to be a popular winter gem due to its intense violet color that can vary from light to dark in shade. A fresh combination for the season is amethyst with peridot set in yellow gold and color stories in berry hues. Peck sees a lot of excitement for color in fancy cuts (particularly elongated baguettes, ovals, marquise, and pear) and non-traditional shapes (i.e., trillion, trapezoid, and half moon), as well as exciting settings, like an east-west ring. Multi-color settings remain popular as consumers embrace jewelry that enhances their mood and pops on screen. Collins cites ombré and colorful tassels with vibrant, translucent stones on-trend.

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