Tuesday, December 13, 2005

Glitter and Agglomeration

These are the key words in fashion this season. Layer many garments in a variety of shapes, textures and patterns, add jewelry, belts, and scarves, sprinkle all with beads, sequins and glittering threads.

Anthropologie does it fairly well, in a funky way. The ensembles in the window of Dickens and Jones on Regent Street in London were breathtaking; very dressy outfits for the opera or a Christmas Ball. Taffetas and satins, crumpled, pleated, draped, embroidered, beaded; overlaid with silken crocheted and tasseled shawls, sheer overskirts, and velvet jackets with glittering buttons.

For the most part, however, to my eyes, the look is sluttish. This excerpt from the middle of chapter six of Howard's End by E. M. Forster says it well:
Presently there was a noise on the staircase. . . . A woman entered, of whom it is simplest to say that she was not respectable. Her appearance was awesome. She seemed all string and bell-pulls --- ribbons, chains, bead necklaces that clinked and caught --- and a boa of azure feathers hung round her neck, with the ends uneven. Her throat was bare, wound with a double row of pearls, her arms were bare to the elbows, and might again be detected at the shoulder, through cheap lace.

Home decor has not excaped the trend. Mercifully, most of the glitter is restricted to holiday decorations and will be taken away in another month. We walked through Z Gallerie in Denver to escape the cold weather, but I was glad to get outside again and draw a breath of clean, fresh air. Round glass balls for the Christmas tree are decorated and patterned. Even more trendy are multi-colored blown glass ornaments that look like flowers, fruit, butterflies, and ballerinas. Bare tree branches are covered with colored glitter. Dark murky red and smoky copper-orange are the colors of this season.

At Liberty's of London, simple glass balls (even decorated) were not enough. Clusters of balls, agglomerated with beads, artificial flowers, leaves, ribbons and plenty of glitter, hung from the trees like mutant bunches of grapes.

I've succumbed in a small way. I bought a box of glass balls in circus colors and plan to decorate them with squeezed-on lines of glass paint. But I still prefer a simpler more natural look like this log star I saw in Z├╝rich.

What's next? Wanna bet the new thing in spring will be minimalism?


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