Fashion > Jewelry

Some of us watch the Oscar presentations and other awards shows just to see the jewelry and fashions worn by the celebrities who attend. And of course the celebs never wear the same items twice. Have you ever wondered how they shop for the fashions and jewels they wear to awards ceremonies? They don't have to...

Many celebrities could afford to buy the jewels and fashions they wear, but they don't have to. Jewelry designers and dealers loan the pieces in order to gain visibility for their companies, and so do fashion designers. They allow celebrities to choose what they'd like to wear from the inventory the designer wants like to promote. Many of the designers work with multiple celebrities, so they must be careful not to duplicate an item.

The best score for a company is having their designs on an award winner. Think about it, if Rene Zellweger wins an Oscar she's front and center in a new gown. The hand that holds up Oscar might have a gorgeous ring on it. Close ups would show off a necklace or earrings. Any jewelry she's wearing will get attention.
Photos taken at the ceremonies and at parties afterwards will circulate for years—and not just photos of the winners, but of all of the popular celebrities who attend. Wouldn't you want your designs in that position?

Some companies have occasionally had problems getting their jewelry back, so now most of them require a signature that verifies the borrower knows the item is on loan—not a gift.

One person who loans jewels for awards shows is Michael Katz, a Beverly Hills jewelry designer and dealer. He has the reputation of being able to intuitively match people with jewels.

Harry Winston is a company that's been associated with celebrities since its beginnings, so you'll always see their pieces on those who are Oscar-bound. Another is New Yorker Fred Leighton, whose rings you see on the right hands of the Sex In the City ladies. Other famous and less well known designers are represented, too.

If a celebrity trend looks hot enough, costume jewelry companies will produce look-alike versions of many pieces. Remember the pink Ben and Jen diamond ring—how many spam emails did you get last year promoting one of those?

It's always interesting to see which designs are the most popular at the Oscars—will everyone wear similar pieces or will there be a huge variation in style? I'll definitely tune in to find out.

Every year, the well-publicized Academy Awards ceremony draws nationwide attention. People watch and read about the show not just to keep tabs on their favorites films, but to admire and critique the glamorous celebrity fashions. Clothing, cosmetics, hair styles, and (of course) jewelry worn to star-studded events like the Oscars can influence fashion trends for months or years to come.

It's not surprising that fashion designers are willing to make significant sacrifices to get their designs onto the bodies of celebrities who attend big events like the Oscars, Emmys, and the various music awards shows. In the fashion-marketing business, they call this a method of "product placement."

For years, the big fashion design houses have allowed celebrities to borrow their designs, free of charge, to wear to high-profile events. This allows stars to choose among various designs based on their own tastes (or the recommendations of their stylists). But this practice is becoming more rare with increased competition among designers - and huge design house budgets.

Today, popular celebrities are paid large sums of money by designers to wear certain designs to public events. So your favorite actress might not even like the high-priced necklace and earring set you see her wearing. She could be working a paid advertisement for a design house, even though she appears to be on her own free time.

Consider the luxurious little Chopard diamond earrings worn by Best Actress winner Hilary Swank at the 2005 Oscars. According to TimesOnline (London), Swank originally borrowed jewelry from jewelry Harry Winston for the event, but returned it after accepting an offer from Chopard to pay her an estimated $90,000 to wear its design instead.

(Or did this switch-a-roo happen at the earlier Golden Globes? The L.A. Times reports that both Swank and actress Charlize Theron returned their loaned Harry Winston jewels within 24 hours before they planned to wear them to the Golden Globes, reportedly receiving "6 figure checks" from Chopard to wear its designs to the event.)

Swank wasn't the only celebrity wearing Chopard on Oscar night, although its unclear whether other stars received similar compensation from the company. The list of Chopard wearers reportedly included Mary J. Blige, Natalie Cole, Nicolette Sheridan, Penelope Cruz, Star Jones Reynolds, and even Al Roker.

Lorraine Schwartz is another designer whose jewelry was worn by many celebrities at the 2005 Oscars. Her jewelry became a hot commodity after the 2002 Golden Globes, where it was worn by the popular Halle Berry. Schwartz's company, Lorraine E. Schwartz, Inc., now describes its client list as including "celebrities, fashionistas, and the social elite." (From a 2003 Lorraine E. Schwartz, Inc., press release.)

According to Schwartz, her "big break" came when celebrities chose to wear her designs; she did not pay them to do so. Schwartz now expresses concern that lesser-known designers will not have the opportunity to expose their designs to the stars, because they cannot compete financially with the wealthy design houses.

Writer Beth Moore of the L.A. Times shows similar concern in her beautifully-written summary of the new celebrity pay-to-wear practice. She calls it "the latest artifice of rigged pop culture [that] risks squeezing smaller designers out of the promotional game and could signal the end of seeing any real personal style in Tinsletown."

But smaller designers are not completely uninvolved in the glamour of Oscar night. A select few have their designs placed in some of the hundreds of gift bags (otherwise known as "Oscar baskets" or "hospitality bags") given to stars who attend the event.

These designers hope celebrities will choose to wear their jewelry some time after the awards show - and preferably be photographed wearing it. Even if celebrities give away their gifted jewelry and decide not to wear it, the publicity of having a design included in an Oscar bag provides a lot of publicity in itself.

Of course, there's always a catch. Designers are required to donate large amounts of jewelry for the bags, and typically each jewelry piece must have a substantial minimum value. For example, one company requires a donation of at least 250 pieces of jewelry, and that each piece be valued at a minimum of $500. Not many lesser-known designers can afford that kind of financial commitment and risk. But those who can often believe the opportunity for fame is well-worth the price.

Celebrity jewelry styles are now available at a discount! You've probably seen many celebrities and stars wearing thousands, sometimes millions of dollars worth of diamonds and precious stones to awards shows. Did you know that most of the time they don't even have to pay for those pieces? Designers and jewelers want their pieces to be seen by the public. Often they loan or gift jewelry to celebrities so their items get camera time and their name gets publicity.

What's fashionable in jewelry changes from season to season just like clothing, accessories, makeup and hair styles. Pay attention to celebrity styles on TV, in movies and fashion magazines to find out what's hot. Then look for these celebrity jewelry trends. The latest styles should be available to you at wholesale prices. From chandelier earrings to fabulously colorful brooches, all celebrity fashion jewelry can be beautiful, fun and affordable.




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