The Luxury Brooch Is Back
The Luxury Brooch Is Back
In its most basic form, a brooch is simply a decorative ornament fastened to an item of clothing with a pin. Originally made of thorns and flint and worn by Vikings, over the centuries its applications have morphed into something quite different.
The Power Of The Brooch
No longer simply used to pin an item of clothing together, the brooch is now a powerful piece of jewellery, commanding glittering attention on a jacket lapel, or even shouldering the rather illustrious task of strengthening diplomatic relations when worn by members of the Royal Family. In fact, in 2009, former US Secretary of State Madeleine Albright published a book about her vast collection of brooches, “Read My Pins: Stories from a Diplomat’s Jewel Box”, explaining how they served as her “diplomatic arsenal” over the years. "While President George H.W. Bush had been known for saying 'read my lips,' I began urging colleagues and reporters to 'read my pins'," Albright added.
Style Over Fashion
Regardless of their practical uses, brooches have always had a timeless style. And though their visibility in vogue has ebbed and flowed throughout the 20th and 21st century, they have always remained a sartorial necessity, and an elegant and tasteful addition to any ensemble, signifying charm and cultural sophistication.
That being said, the last few years have seen a major rise in the popularity of the brooch within high-end jewellery. Beginning with the trending Instagram hashtag #bringbackthebrooch seven or eight years ago, eminent houses such as Chaumet, Cartier, and Tiffany & Co. have since cottoned on to the growing demand, making multiple pieces reminiscent of their most well-known opuses as well as creating entirely new collections of brooches in keeping with more modern styles.
Brooches On The Catwalk
Moving away from the starchy minimalism that has reigned supreme in fashion over the past two decades, the brooch has become a striking but simple way to combine clean lines with the more-is-more maximalist glamour slowly taking over the runway. Spotted amongst collections such as Alexander McQueen, Gucci, Louis Vuitton, Chanel, Versace and Christopher Kane, it seems the brooch has found a comfortable spot within high fashion and doesn’t seem likely to budge for some time.
In 2021, the brooch has made a bold show. After Daniel Roseberry’s 2020 Schiaparelli spring/summer collection in which brooches ran riot - adorning not just clothes but faces, necks, and arms too - he continued the trend in his ready-to-wear autumn collection this year. At President Joe Biden’s inauguration ceremony, Lady Gaga sported a seven-inch repoussé gilded brass Schiaparelli dove from this collection, making clear that the brooch is an absolute necessity this season. As designer Carlton Jones said, “Brooches have begun to be [a] statement. There’s going to be a 360 from the super-casual quarantine dressing that we’ve become so comfortable with.”
The Brooch Is For Everyone
And the brooch is no longer solely a women’s accessory. While hosting 'Saturday Night Live' last month, Regé-Jean Page wore an Alexander McQueen suit complete with three pearl brooches along the lapel. Similarly, Trevor Noah chose one of Tiffany-Schlumberger's gold-spiked, diamond brooches for the Grammys, and Jared Leto wore an oversized flower Gucci brooch at the Golden Globes. Many houses are now marketing brooches specifically to men, and the addition of the brooch to a man's accessory collection gives the possibility of a more androgynous, contemporary self-expression.
Brooches Are Forever
Beautifully and intricately designed, brooches aren’t simply another accessory, but are closer to a wearable miniature sculpture, giving so much scope for craft and detail within high jewellery. They are superior in their versatility too. They could be worn simply on the lapel of a jacket or in the deep plunge of a ballgown; in the meeting of a headscarf or scattered effortlessly across a t-shirt. Whereas a ring must be worn on the finger, and a necklace around the neck, a brooch can be used to embellish and enhance nearly any aspect of an outfit. What’s more, their timelessness means a brooch isn’t something simply worn for a season. It takes on the distinction of an heirloom, to be worn for years to come, by many generations.