‘Brooch’ the Subject

It’s hard to not notice the renewed interest in pins as of late (talk about ‘pin’terest!). While they are never out of style, they are not always deemed ‘cool’ or hip. But like everything else in this cyclical, fickle world of fashion, they periodically have their ‘moment, and let’s just say, that moment is now thanks in large part to their endorsement by a number of highly revered designers who have done their bit to dust off their un cool, stodgy perception.

Prada Fall 2015 Ready-To-Wear

Miuccia Prada inventively used crystal (and crystal with Plexiglas) flower pins throughout her Fall 2015 Ready-To-Wear collection, placing them on lapels of nubby tweed coats and jackets, on shoulders and bodices of wool slip dresses, and in the models’ hair, where they took the place of ordinary barrettes.  Pieces from the Pop Bouquet Collection are currently being sold on the Prada website and at her boutiques and range in price from about $360 – $850. (Click here for more info)

Miuccia Prada attends the WSJ Magazine 2015 Innovator  Awards

By the way, Miuccia showed up at the WSJ Magazine 2015 Innovator Awards at MOMA, on November 4th, wearing a duo of vintage diamante pins on the lapel of her white coat.

Saint Laurent crystal spider brooch

Hedi Slimane opened his Fall 2015 Ready-To-Wear show for Saint Laurent with a model wearing a crystal spider brooch pinned to a black and white tweed jacket which was thrown over a frothy chiffon full skirted mini dress. (4) The pin is being sold on www.Farfetch.com, $1095, (click here for more info)

Loewe Spring 2016 Ready-To-Wear

Jonathan Anderson used oversized sculptural bird shaped pins (made of mirrored shards), in his Spring 2016 Loewe Ready-To-Wear collection.

Gucci Spring 2016 Ready-To-Wear

Alessandro Michele affixed pins made of bejeweled ladybugs, lion’s heads, and surrealistic eyes to oversized chiffon bows and natty ties during the course of his eclectic Gucci Spring 2016 Ready-To-Wear collection. In some instances, they were trompe l’oeil decorations made to look like pins.

Marni showed brooches in her Pre-Fall 2015 collection, and several are currently being offered online. One of my favorites is the lady shaped brooch made of multicolored plastic, glass, and brass, $360,  (Click here for more info)

Chanel Sous Le Signe Du Lion gold and diamond brooch

A fabulous white gold and diamond lion pin is the star of Chanel’s latest Sous Le Signe Du Lion collection (the 5th sign of the zodiac represents Coco Chanel’s birth sign and is the emblem of Venice).

Like other accessories, pins are instantly transformative, but they are far more versatile than say, bracelets, necklaces, earrings, and rings because they can be worn in so many different ways. You can place them anywhere you want (on a lapel or pocket of a jacket or coat; at the shoulder, waist, or back of a dress) and move them around as you desire. You can use just one or you can use multiples. I like them statement making and unique, and worn counter intuitively (diamante brooches on a jean jacket, or worn on the lapel of a blazer, paired with roll cuff jeans and men’s oxfords, for instance). The more surprising and unexpected, the better.

Because they are highly collectible, they have become somewhat of an obsession. As luck would have it, this past weekend was the Pier Antiques Show at Pier 94 and I was on the lookout for great pins. There was many, needless to say, but these are a few notable examples that I came across at the booths of vintage dealers:

 CD’s enormous bird shaped brooch

A fantastical and over-scaled bird pin, made of semi-precious stones, by CD, $2195 at Ira Scheck, www.hotjools.com; irascheck@aol.com; 719 250 7858. FYI, the design duo are former Iradj Moini protégés, and Mr. Moini’s gems, including his brooches, are highly sought after. See: www.iradjmoini.com.

A 5 inch vintage Eisenberg diamante bow pin, $500, at Signet B+J; Berta Kogan, 201 925 6274

A 7 inch long vintage Larry Vrba bunch of grapes brooch made of clusters of simulated pearls, pink rhinestone crystals, and marbleized green leaf stones, $275, at Laura Lee Fulham’s 4 Love or Money, 646 285 8265; tfulham74@gmail.com; (Click here for more info).

Pauline Ginnane Gasbarro’s vintage Calder steel  brooch

By the way, it was there that I bumped into the knowledgeable veteran vintage dealer Pauline Ginnane Gasbarro. She specializes in couture and vintage costume and has displayed at this show in the past, but now sells at her shop in The Showplace. 40 West 25th Street. I couldn’t help but notice that affixed to her white sweater was an instantly recognizable pin by Alexander Calder. Made of pounded brass, circa 1935, it was in the shape of a hawk, and belonged to Betty Cage (the “The quiet force behind the City Ballet”). Quite wonderful, whimsical, and unique, though needless to say, I would have preferred a pin in the shape of a dove.

Speaking of which, Danielle Gori- Montanelli’s (www.studiogm.com) funky and colorful felt brooches (such as an Iris Apfel likeness, Crayola pencils, asparagus stalks, a carrot stick, licorice all sorts, etc.) put a smile on my face when I first saw them at the Museum of Art & Design Loot 2015 show in September (she is now selling at the Grand Central Terminal Holiday Fair).

– Marilyn Kirschner

Marilyn Kirschner

I am a long time fashion editor with 40+ years of experience. As senior market of Harper's Bazaar for 21 years I met and worked with every major fashion designer in the world and covered all of the collections in Paris, London, Milan and New York. I was responsible for overall content, finding and pulling in the best clothes out there, and for formulating ideas and stories.

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