A Grandma Brooch, in 2022? Weirdly, Yes

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Thanks to the grandmillennial craze for old-fashioned styles and new fans like Nick Jonas and Bella Hadid, the brooch is seemingly on the rise. But it is not for everyone.

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As impossible as it sounds, the “big brooch energy” has become increasingly apparent on the red carpet, runways, and on pop culture and social media. Brooches, also known as pins, evolved from their Bronze Age use as fasteners to clothing to be mostly ornamental. Today, some fans buy designer versions from pin-happy fashion brands like Lowe’s and Gucci, while others are collecting vintage brooches. Eye! The “Sex and the City” reboot “And Just Like That…” stars Carrie Bradshaw, recycling her giant blue-flower pins from the original series. Trevor Noah wears a diamond Starburst pin from Tiffany & Co. at the 2021 Grammy Awards. And Bella Hadid with a Dior cactus brooch pinned to her halter top at the 2021 runway show.

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Online design marketplace 1stDibs reports that searches for the word “brooch” increased by 10% from 2020 to 2021, and orders for brooches increased by 20% over the same period. But it’s not just flower cool sprays that are selling out; New collectors are seeking out styles like the dazzling animals by cult jeweler David Webb. “It doesn’t have to be just a proper diamond-studded pin to be worn modestly on your lapel,” said the site’s editorial director Anthony Barzile Freund. “It can be really cutting edge and incredibly impressive.”

Think of the giant Schiaparelli dove brooch Lady Gaga wore to her 2021 presidential inauguration, which hovered somewhere between cartoonish and couture. Some Twitter users and bloggers compared it to Katniss Everdeen’s mockingjay brooch in “The Hunger Games”, noting that doves are traditionally a symbol of peace, yet considered belligerent. Whatever the brooch was meant to convey, the concept of “jewel-box diplomacy” is well established. As documented in her 2009 book, “Read My Pins: Stories from a Diplomat’s Jewel Box,” former Secretary of State Madeleine Albright communicated strategically through her brooch during her tenure.

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A variation on the brooch, the lapel pin, has long been a way for politicians and activists to show their loyalty. From the AIDS awareness red ribbon, first worn by public figures in the early 1990s, to the American flag pinned by generations of presidents, it can be a strong symbol, even with its omissions. In too. During Barack Obama’s 2007 presidential race, critics consistently rebuked him for not wearing his flag pin. reacted that he was less concerned with what is in your circle than what is in your heart). Museum of Modern Art’s “Item: Is Fashion Modern?” In the 2017 exhibition text for Michelle Miller Fisher said, “The lapel pin exercises considerable agency for small amounts of real estate.”

But not all brooches are symbolically charged; Sometimes they just look cool. Actor Josh O’Connor, who played young Prince Charles in the fourth season of “The Crown,” has worn an embellished brooch by Spanish brand Lowe’s to red-carpet events over the years. Pinned to the lapel of his suit, he looks cool and lush in the style of the new romantic types who frequented the more secluded parking lots of the John Hughes movies of the 1980s. The Lowe’s anagram logo, one of the pins worn by Mr. O’Connor, is currently available in several finishes and has become something of a street-style hit.

Perhaps no current designer has done more for brooches than Gucci creative director Alessandro Michele, an old-fashioned jewelry fanatic who has in recent years added brooches to her maximalist runway looks for both men and women. continuously leveled. Gucci brooches typically take something familiar—a striped royal-ish ribbon or a bejeweled beehive, for example—and give it some extra oomph by supersizing or adding more crystals than might be advisable.

Mr. Freund of 1stDibs links the current brooch craze with the “grandmillennial” trend in home decor, which results, as he said, of “young hipsters … looking at Victoriana and their grandparents’ furniture, giving it a nice spin. Giving.” He continued, “You can draw parallel to the jewelry, dig into a dusty jewelry box, draw something and look at it in a new way.” GrandMillennials, tired of Instagram’s minimalist trends, are interested in more timeless pieces.

How you wear a brooch can help people, or even yourself, see them in a new way. One of the unconventional styling techniques suggested by TikTokers is Marco Braun (@bowtieinchicago), who says in a video that he wears the brooch every day and that he’s “basically an old lady trapped in a gay man’s body.” ” In the clip, he piles all his dozens of shimmery brooches together on a sweater.

Dallas jewelry designer Carla Rockmore, 54, recently posted a video on her popular social media channels outlining the many other ways to wear a brooch, from cinching the waist of a loose dress to creating a temporary grosgrain ribbon. Pinning is included. Choker said that when she posted the video, some of her younger viewers were grateful to finally know what to do with the brooch they inherited from their grandmother. Others protested that a brooch would make you ten years old. “There’s a stigma there,” admitted Ms. Rockmore.

“When searching for a good brooch,” she advised, “you should consider what you want to have in the world.” Not all of us are as dogmatic in our everyday statements as, say, Madeleine Albright. Which makes brooches a no-go for some people — like me — who are less inclined to introduce gilded symbolism into the grocery store checkout line.

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