In the Market Report: “Pearls” of Wisdom

Coco Chanel
(Photo: Horst)

The pearl is the birthstone of June (In addition to Alexandrite and moonstone). Not that you need an excuse to wear pearls; they are always revered, always in style, are the perfect accent year round, day or night, and flattering to every complexion. They can be edgy or classic; casual or formal; streetwise or patrician, and they are available in so many endless incarnations, it’s impossible to begin to innumerate. You can buy the real deal or opt for fabulous and faux. Or better yet, you can mix it up, a la Coco Chanel, whose signature look always included ropes of pearls and exemplified her notion that “women should be two things: classy and fabulous.”

Chanel Spring Summer 2014

There’s not a design house more closely associated with pearls than Chanel of course, and they have traditionally been part of the storied label’s mythology and history. Karl Lagerfeld always finds ways to update the house’s signatures to make them look fresh, new, edgy, of the moment, and modern, and his take on pearls for spring 2014 (which he used lavishly and inventively) certainly fits the bill. He adorned his nubby tweed jackets with pearls and used them as buttons; he added pearls to his fingerless gloves; he put them on sporty terry cloth wristbands (tennis, anyone?); and he enlarged them to giant golf ball size, adding them to multiple strands of pearls, and- his best idea yet- using them to create spare, chic,  metal chokers, where they appeared to be suspended from the neck. Very cool.

Diana Broussard Venus
in Pearls natural pearl on gold wire

Where Karl goes, others will follow, and luckily for most of us (who don’t want to spend the approximately $1500 for the Chanel designs), there have been several far more price friendly interpretations of those minimalistic chokers. Diane Broussard (, 22 Christopher Street, 646 336 6365, has a $290 Venus in Pearl version (the single pearl on a metal wire is approximately 1 ½ inches; the pearl is available in a choice of natural, dark grey, or khaki; the wire is offered in a choice of gold or palladium brass.

Top choker from street vendor &
bottom choker Zara Accessories

Zara ( is selling two styles: a $19.95 version on a gold metal wire (the pearls are approximately 1 ¾ and 2 ½ inches, as well as a chunky silver chain with a single pearl medallion center, $25.90. Coincidentally, a street vendor from the Ivory Coast, who sets up shop directly outside the Zara store at 101 5th avenue at 17th Street, has a double pearl choker on a gold wire with the biggest pearls of all (2” and 2 ½” and the cost is  $20). By the way, he also sells the same exact necklace, but all in gold, which is quite interesting.

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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