Classic items show timeless appeal

PUBLISHED : Monday, 22 November, 2010, 12:00am
UPDATED : Monday, 22 November, 2010, 12:00am

Brooches are no longer a fashion staple for your grandmother. Brooches are back in style, thanks to United States first lady Michelle Obama's penchant for fun and ornate pins. She has encouraged young people to take up brooches to add flourish to their outfits, and they are doing so with great interest.

'Brooches are classic, timeless pieces and have always been in style. But they have gained in popularity lately as women look for jewellery pieces that are subtle, yet exude a timeless quality,' says Charles Leung, managing director of LVMH Chaumet Asia-Pacific.

The most important tip to remember when wearing a brooch is to keep things simple, he says. So, wear a brooch when wearing a black suit, or a pencil skirt and a silk blouse to accentuate your outfit.

Established in Paris in 1780, Chaumet's style of brooches has evolved over the past two centuries, but it has an ingrained Art Deco style, Leung says. With the Attrape-moi si tu m'aimes (catch me... if you love me) collection, he describes the brooches as 'a game of seduction, an interplay of guesswork and manipulation, escape and pursuit'.

Another sparkling brooch collection by Chaumet is Le Grand Frisson. Leung says '[this collection] captures the intimate chatter between two endearing souls and the countless emotions two lovers share - an inspiration of the numerous possibilities love offers'.

Retail director at Van Cleef & Arpels, Asia-Pacific, Janette Li agrees younger women are wearing brooches. She says: 'There are a lot more ways to wear brooches, it's not only for mature, old ladies. You can wear it on the lapel of a coat, or for a gala dinner or red-carpet event; women are wearing them on the waist, back and shoulder. It's because of this creativity and variety a younger generation are making them more fashionable.'

Li says male Canto-pop singers such as Eason Chan Yik-shun have been seen sporting a brooch. While they are pinning flowers onto their outfits, Li says, they can be seen wearing animal brooches, dragonflies and abstract designs.

The Van Cleef & Arpels' Birds of Paradise collection features the fleeting beauty of birds that fly around precious stones such as pink sapphires and diamonds. Li says the brooches capture the movement of birds with delicate workmanship.

Fashion house Chanel presents a sparkling Soleil, or Sun, brooch with rays of diamonds emanating from its centre. The asymmetrical look makes it ideal for an evening out on the town.

If you are wearing a light fabric, Li suggests putting a heavy brooch on the draping of the gown, or gathering the material so the brooch doesn't flip or tilt. With so many ways to wear a brooch, it's time to find your signature piece.

Buying a brooch

If you want to update your look with a high-jewellery brooch, retail director at Van Cleef & Arpels, Asia-Pacific, Janette Li says: 'If you are going to buy precious stones, you need to find information about them and their gemological characteristics. Try to avoid anything too fragile on the brooch since you have to apply pressure when pinning it on clothing.

Charles Leung, managing director of Chaumet, Asia-Pacific, advises buyers to look for a brooch that best represents who they are as a person. 'In terms of craftsmanship, it is also extremely important to pick brooches that have exquisite craftsmanship as poorly made ones can tear a woman's blouse or suit very easily.'