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Fashion Designers Taking Pearls to New Heights

These days it seems you can’t flip through the latest issue of People or Vogue without spotting pearl jewelry – and a lot of it. Fashion designers are transforming traditional pearl accessories into trendy must-haves, and the reason is because, yes, you guessed it: Millennials. No longer are icons such as Jackie Kennedy, Audrey Hepburn, and Coco Chanel the faces of pearl jewelry. They’ve been replaced by Kim Kardashian, Taylor Swift, Rihanna and the likes.

The gemstone’s surging popularity are forcing designers across the globe to create more daring looks for a newer generation. From headbands to biker boots, sunglasses to handbags, necks and wrists to faces and hair.

The Edgy Look

Pearl Biker Boots for Millennials/Daily Mail

For ages, pearls meant classic and reserved. Today, that couldn’t be further from the truth. Designers have made it their mission to give the gemstones a much tougher image. They envision of life where the coolest, hippest women wear pearl jewelry and other accessories adorned with pearls. Their using black pearls and mixing them with leather, denim, and velvet to create edgier looks.

British fashion designer and couturier Alexander McQueen is a prime example. He caters to the trends for millennials by creating tailored, precision-cut dresses that combine masculine-looking fabrics with pearls. He even designed fashion-forward macabre skull clutch bags that feature pearls and other gemstones.

The Royal Look

Kim K. channels Jackie O./US Weekly

That’s not to say pearls have shed their classic elegance entirely. Has anyone been watching The Crown lately? Season two, episode one opens with Elizabeth and Phillip. Liz is sporting her “I am the Queen” diamond-and-pearl brooch as she talks to her hubby about keeping their union intact.

Royalty and pearls go together like peanut butter and jelly. Today’s designers are trying to mimic that royal look with head bands and hair pieces decked out in freshwater pearls (feel free to try it with natural pearls, but that’s going to set you back a pretty penny).

The Footwear Look

British footwear designer Nicholas Kirkwood has jumped on the millennials and pearls trend as well. He’s been decorating his fashionable shoes and booths with the gems ever since 2010. The Annabel is a biker boot with a high heel comes with a hidden large pearl under the boot’s arch to offset the tread sole made of tough rubber. Kirkwood’s boot series includes designs featuring pearls inside the heels.

Gina is a luxury brand that jumped on the idea of toning down the masculinity of its black leather brogues by trimming the footwear with pearls. Designer Stuart Weitzman took that idea even further with his line of black leather loafers. These school-marmish style shoes feature pearls on each toe.

Then, there’s Carvela, who chose to take the millennials and pearls twist a bit higher. As part of the Kurt Geiger brand, this designer’s black Birkenstocks are trimmed with black velvet, as well as very big lustrous pearls.

Shopping for Pearls

Can’t find the look you want? No worries – Millennials are simply creating it themselves. It doesn’t take a lot of fashion know-how to deck out your denim or leather with pearls of your choosing. With a variety of colors, shapes, and sizes to choose from, there are seemingly endless options.

But a word of advice: Do your research first. We want in on this trend just as much as you do, but be careful to buy from a reputable retailer. Once you find a store you’re comfortable buying from, don’t be afraid to experiment. The creative possibilities are as endless as your ideas.