With Costume Jewels, Faux Is Fab
“It’s not cheap,” Decades proprietor Cameron Silver said at the Crosby Hotel. “That’s the amazing thing about costume jewelry. I rejected it for years at first because I thought, ‘Who wants to spend $2,000 on a glass necklace?’ It requires education. It’s the design, the final product, that is incredibly valuable.” The retailer (and soon-to-be Bravo reality TV star) has since swung to the other side, so much so that Silver was even talking men’s costume pieces. But he was in like-minded company last night: Silver joined fellow panelists Mad Men costume designer Janie Bryant, Candy Pratts Price, and Miriam Haskell president Gabrielle Fialkoff in a CFDA-sponsored discussion on the heritage and business of costume jewelry.
Moderated by Town & Country accessories director Stellene Volandes, the conversation steered from a beginner’s history lesson (Coco Chanel and Miriam Haskell were chummy costume jewelry colleagues) to the modern-day obsession with celebrity (Michelle Obama created an online ordering frenzy for the Miriam Haskell chandelier earrings she wore to the State Dinner this past March). Bryant, for one, was well accustomed to celebrities and the role costume jewelry can play. “For Joan, she has this pen necklace and I think of it as her sword,” the costume designer said of the character the actress Christina Hendricks plays in Mad Men. “It’s funny because Christina never wants to part with it. The actress can become attached to the jewelry, too.”
A tip for the AMC show’s many fashion followers: Bryant found the signature piece in an unlikely “dirty little tin of jewelry at the Rose Bowl in Pasadena.” And despite delays and some nail-biting negotiations, it looks like there were will be plenty of episodes with vintage finds ahead. “I was never worried,” Bryant told Style.com post-discussion, about the show being renewed for Season 5. “I had faith.”