Runway Trend Report: Sparkle Gear


By Margeaux Sippell

The SS18 runways are alight with an intriguing new take on an old favorite. What was once relegated to the cheap mass-production of early 2000s juniors sections of department stores has turned over a new leaf this fall. The glittery accessories we all loved in middle school have shed their once-tacky skins and reemerged in deserved sophistication. The monarchs of the fashion empire have dipped their hands into the treasure chest of past obsessions—the nostalgia of bygone Lisa Frank and Tamagotchi days have been selected for resurrection.

According to British Vogue writer Olivia Singer, the Glitter Gear trend began with a pair of “sparkling knickers” by Tom Ford. His shiny metallic jumpsuits and glitz-encrusted sweater dresses were followed by the sequins trend adopted by Marc Jacobs, Gucci, Halpern and others. Simone Rocha added subtle sequin flowers to Victorian high-neck, full-skirted dresses, as well as beaded hair pieces that appear to drip from barrettes and bows. Fendi went with sheer shimmer and subtle silk.  Some designers decked out models in glitter from head to toe—Christopher Kane constructed a gem-encrusted dress not unlike a suit of armor.

Image by Chloe Krammel

Image by Chloe Krammel

Burberry, on the other hand, approached the trend with subtle glamour—a single, oversized diamond-encrusted earring; a broach resembling costume jewelry, pinned to a plain sweater; a pair of extremely glittery ankle boots. Chanel, too, exhibited bracelets, brooches, necklaces and oversized earrings dripping in jewels. Props to Burberry for making the trends unisex—male models were festooned with equally elaborate sparkly pieces. When it comes to glitter as a statement piece, there is no such thing as going too far. Christopher Kane topped off his glitzy armoured dress with huge hoop earrings and sparkle pseudo-crocs to boot.

Perhaps the most sensual take on Sparkle Gear came on the scene during London Fashion Week. Halpern adorned models in form-fitting, ultra feminine designs covered in multicolored jewel tone sequins that twinkled and winked as they walked. Mini skirts and bell bottom pants paired with sheer, breast-exposing blouses and tastefully draped scarves. And again, big earrings — perhaps the most uniform accessory throughout the Sparkle Gear runway trend. Stella McCartney, Alexander McQueen, Balenciaga, Dries Van Noten, Ashley Williams, Prabal Gurung, Brandon Maxwell, St. Laurent, and Valentino followed suit with the glitzy and glimmering ear weights. Dolce and Gabbana took it so far as to include not only giant earrings but a royal crown and statement necklace to match in ruby and emerald. Even the sunglasses were tricked out in sparkling geometry.

It’s always exciting to see what trend the fashion gods will flock to. As we learn each year, there is rarely anything truly “new” in fashion—the same goes for art in general. In an age in which everything has been done before, everything is simply recycled and reworked until its reincarnation is discovered and set again upon the throne. Sparkle Gear has existed for millennia in its purest form—humanity has always been drawn to jewels. If Cleopatra could have walked the SS18 runway swathed in copper, dripping in the gemstones of her time—malachite, garnet, turquoise, lapis lazuli and amazonite—she would likely fit in seamlessly.