Hillary Clinton & The Chain of Command

One normally equates this phrase with the rules of the military but of course, it also applies to government and politics. Hillary Clinton undeniably topped the chain of command at the Democratic Convention which ended yesterday, her historic nomination providing a long overdue “missing link” within our political arena.  By contrast, the only phrase using the word ‘chain’ that most applies in the case of the Republican convention, is “Chain of Fools.”

By the way, there’s no reason Hillary Clinton, who is poised to become the Commander in Chief and the leader of the free world, should not also have a sharp, commanding presence. Unsurprisingly, much has already been written about her fashion choices and we all know that Anna Wintour has been instrumental in getting her fashion look together.  But with all due respect, I think Hillary could look a lot better. For the record, while I liked the pantsuit she wore last night, the color washed her out. Instead of opting for white, the color of purity, I would have gone with red, the color of power.

She is an attractive woman and at 5’7”, she can certainly carry  clothes. (I never knew she was that tall because her long, often shapeless jackets and matronly tunics don’t do her any justice). I would suggest wearing more fitted clothing. Belted coats and trenches, tailored jackets and narrower pants in dark colors like navy or black are  always appropriate, thinning, lengthening and would perfectly offset her pale skin and blonde hair. I would advise that she invest in a wardrobe of crisp white shirts and silk blouses (black and white or navy and white always look good), distinctive black turtlenecks (always flattering), and instead of wearing head to toe turquoise (or that famous shade of blue that many politicians wear), my suggestion would be to add strong hits of color by adding a colorful scarf (and using it instead of a dainty necklace), or wearing strong hued pumps.

But regardless, I’m not talking politics here. What I’m really talking about are chains, commanding chains at that.

Right about now, with temperatures in the 90’s, it’s been impossible to think of wearing anything more complicated than a crisp white shirt, cotton t shirt, sleeveless shift, or other similarly simple pared down, spare pieces and separates. But all of this can admittedly get a bit boring. The easiest and most effective way to add some pizazz is through the addition of accessories, but often times, they can look a bit fussy. To my way of thinking, nothing is a better compliment to minimalistic fashion than chains (whether worn around the neck, at the wrist, around the waist, or added to a bag or shoes). They are at once timeless and classic, inherently modern, edgy and cool (both figuratively and literally, since they add no warmth).

Chains have been perennial favorites among designers and customers through the decades, and there are always great updates; this season is no exception. A number of pieces that have caught my eye have done so because they are bold, standout, and anything but run of the mill as they have all been somehow reimaged through proportion, scale, material, color, or design. They run the gamut from metal (gold, silver, bronze, and palladium), to plastic, resin, and Plexiglas; represent a mix of new and vintage; and can be decorative or functional.

Balenciaga Fall 2016 Ready-To-Wear

Of course, the best case scenario is the combination of form and function, as exemplified by the colorful and statement making plastic chain link eyeglass holders which were first seen on the runway of the Balenciaga fall 2016 Ready-To-Wear show in Paris.  (This is hardly surprising since one of the strengths of this iconic label’s new creative director, Vetements’ founder Demna Gvasalia, is his ability to take streamlined, streetwise, authentic designs and make them as highly distinctive as possible). They are $315 and will be available at Balenciaga stores in August.

FYI, about 20 years ago, I purchased two fabulous eyeglass chain holder necklaces made of large, oval links in black and tortoiseshell plastic, from Henry Miller Opticians on 72nd street and Lexington Avenue; they were $75 and alas, no longer available. I wear them all the time. They are not only great looking, but I never misplace my glasses. And they never fail to draw compliments. I can’t tell you how many times women have offered to buy them from me owing to their great design fused with practicality;  typically, what you find are those tiny, cheap looking dime store versions. This seems like such an easy thing to replicate at a relatively inexpensive price. Perhaps now that Balenciaga has offered a distinctive version, we will see other appealing interpretations

.Diana Broussard has long been known for her bold, over scaled Plexiglas and resin chains. A mainstay on her website and in her eponymous West Village shop (22 Christopher Street, 646 336 6365), is her signature 20 inch Nate chain necklace, $275, which is available in 11 colors. I especially love the vibrant red which would instantly rev up black. Info/Purchase

Pluma Italia (www.pluma-italia.net), a relatively new kid on the block, is the brainchild of Brendan Cannon, its Creative Director. In a relatively short time, they have become known for their bold, statement making yet classic necklaces, chokers, collars, cuffs, bangles, rings, earrings, and clutches which focus on style, high quality and attention to detail. Each piece is handmade by artisans in family run factories in Tuscany, Italy. Their triple large gold plated brass link Oro necklace, $792, would look as good with a plain t shirt or striped pullover, as with a little black dress.Info/Purchase

I love that this chunky Bottega Veneta chain link bracelet is in oxidized silver Info/Purchase

Miuccia Prada has long been a member of the “chain gang” and this season, several of her Miu Miu bags and shoes, like these fringed black suede moccasins, are  adorned with prominent silver chains, $850 Info/Purchase

I tend to gravitate towards vintage because I’m getting something that is all but guaranteed to be one of a kind. I love the unusual, eye catching, graphic color block design of this vintage Hermes multicolored plastic chunky chain necklace, $1115.03.Info/Purchase

This vintage Yves Saint Laurent chunky gold chain necklace can do double duty as a belt, $643

Of course, no label is as associated with chains, as Chanel. This rare and exceptional pair of bronze Chanel chain biker cuffs is laden with poured glass Gripoix cabochons in emerald, ruby and sapphire. Dating from the 80’s, they were designed by Victoire de Castellane, under Karl Lagerfeld, at a time when “all of Chanel’s iconography was pumped up on steroids”, $ 12,500. Info/Purchase

This iconic vintage Chanel fringe chain belt with woven leather buckle, $2800, was worn in a famous editorial featuring Linda Evangelista. How great would this look with a crisp white shirt and black skirt? Info/Purchase

This vintage Chanel 5 row gold chain necklace is a classic, and simply a wow! Price upon request.Info/Purchase

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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