Janeos Jewellery

From around the world, Janeo Jewels presents today's hottest celebrities and budding fashion mavens wearing costume jewellery from 925 sterling silver, necklaces, bracelets and earrings with Swarovski crystals. They are setting the standard for fun and affordable fashion jewellery including leather wrist bands, men's stainless steel jewellery and women's charm bracelets. Janeo takes you center-stage to the juiciest news and hottest trends to hit the costume jewellery industry in years.

Saturday, 31 October 2009

Aviator Fashion Craze Gets Boost from Amelia, in Theatres

Most fashionistas have been the proud owner of a good bomber jacket or two, or have at least dreamed about saving up for a buttery calfskin affair with all the right lines for a classic aviator silhouette. The essential aviator look is one which has endured in the Western fashion world for decades; in fact, a great deal of its origins are credited to the 1920's and 30's as the field of aviation began to gain proper momentum. This was also the period of one particularly famous pilot whose life and mysterious death have been the subjects of great intrigue and attraction ever since. Female pilot Amelia Earhart, a record-breaker famous for her inspirational attitude and sense of personal power and ability, is having her life celebrated in a new film starring Hilary Swank in the leading role.
The film comes at a time when aviator-inspired duds seem more popular than ever, with new bomber jackets, jumpsuits, and other classic pieces making their way down catwalks around the world. Along with the clothing staples, the look also incorporates plenty of accessories, making it easy to jazz up or tone down any aviator outfit at will. But while throwing on a pair of aviator sunglasses or donning a structural watch, rustic pearls, or other jewellery item, fans of Earhart may be interested in Amelia's own designs, which served as the focus of an extensive advertising campaign reaching women of the early twentieth century with ample strength. Earhart was responsible for the production of her own in-flight gear, but often worked with designers and manufacturers to create practical pieces capable of retaining femininity while promoting practical exercise and outdoor activities.
Earhart's designs traveled beyond the basic path of creating attractive clothes for flight, and also reached everyday activities including taking a stroll around the block or more weighty events such as a special occasion. Creating dramatic gowns as well as practical flight attire, Earhart was a true fashion pioneer who noted that she hoped her personal breakthroughs and efforts would pass on to inspire new generations of women.
Of course, Earhart's story isn't one with the happiest of endings. Attempting a dangerous trip around the world, Earhart and her flight partner lost contact and fell off of radar, their wreckage never to be found. To this day, Earhart serves as an inspiration for scores of women and people interested in modern flight, and her fashion designs continue to be front and center, with reinventions of her styles popping up every few years from the world's most esteemed designers. Of course, Amelia wasn't an avid costume jewellery hound, but we like to think she'd have a blast picking from today's selection of fashionable accessories. From cool, smooth metal cuffs and subtly sparkling earrings to lucky charm bracelets and layered necklaces, we can think of more than a few jewellery items well-suited for pairing with the sporty appeal of the early pilot. What's your favorite way to wear the aviator look?

Amelia Earhart, fashion designer?

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Congratulations are in Order!

Each week, we select a lucky set of Janeo customers and contest entrants to win one of our luxurious costume jewellery prizes. If you've won, send us an email with a link to the item you'd like to receive from our prize section. We'll wrap it up in our beloved Janeo packaging and ship it to your door promptly, so you can enjoy a free jewellery gift to update your wardrobe –and your spirit.

This week's winners are:

Alan Bayley
Louisa Mann
Karen Parker
Paul Copham
Karen Donaldson
Rachel Ringwood
David Timson

Three cheers and a couple of crossed fingers for those still hoping to win this week.

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Friday, 30 October 2009

Fabrican: Is Spray-On Fashion Feasible?

There have been a number of exciting developments in the world of fashion since the advent of modern technology, and a great deal of focus has been given to making the creation and wearability of fashion more convenient for everyone involved with a given article of clothing or accessory. From no-nonsense seams and stitching to false buttons and well beyond, style is often as much about effortlessness as it is about good looks. That's something costume jewellery knows well and truly takes to heart. The ability to slip on a cocktail ring or a strand of charm necklaces and step out in all the glory of classic jewellery beauty along with modern trends is one that makes accessorizing a dream come true, even on the busiest of schedules. But can convenience culture go too far when it comes to the world of fashion? That's a question recently posed to the makers of Fabrican, which, if you haven't already guessed, manufactures spray-on fabric that comes in a handy can form.
Immediate skeptics of the idea may do well to remember that some of modernity's most popular products have also been delivered in a can; after all, this is the era of Easy Cheese. Just imagine rummaging through your closet, dismayed that nothing seems right or would require too much dressing up, only to remember that you have a Fabrican for a certain outfit ready and waiting up in the stacks of suitcases and other detritus. Pop the cap, apply a few squirts, and you're ready to go -–no buttoning, zipping, or safety-pinning required! Such is the promise of the Fabrican, which has been seen in action lately as applied to Mo Rocca of The Tomorrow Show (a trial which had mixed results; one observer suggested Rocca looked as though he had had an accident). But despite the ease with which clothes might be “applied,” the Fabrican concept seems to have a few flaws that might need to be addressed before shoppers start heading to the canned goods section for their style.
Perhaps chief among the concerns is temperature control. Fabrican garments pay provide a small degree of protection against the elements, but it's hard to imagine wearing a spray-on “sweater” in the midst of a particularly cold December evening. Structure may also be an issue, as so many pieces of clothng serve not simply to cover the body itself, but to create a certain visual form over it with various cuts and shapes. And of course, or most pressing worry is over the possibility that spray-on accessories such as costume jewellery may take a hint from the fad and send us can-crazy with spray-on earrings and other strange fashion delights. At this stage, however, it looks as though Fabrican and its makers might not prevail beyond the realm of the novelty, leaving traditional fashion -–inconvenient as it may be-- to take care of the serious business.

a spray-on Fabrican shirt being applied

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Tuesday, 27 October 2009

Channel Your Inner Funky Ice Princess

Some of the best elements of enjoying fashion and accessories is when a certain pieces is able to create a mood, inspire and emotion, or start a conversation, all through its collection of disparate elements and nuances. Costume jewellery is especially adept at serving this purpose, and has long been hailed as one of the best ways to brighten up an outfit and invigorate personal well-being at the same time. Some of the best pieces for accomplishing these goals are also the funkiest or most adventurous, and our limited edition sapphire Swarovski crystal cocktail ring is a prime example. One of our favorite designs, this ring is bound to dazzle its wearer and onlookers with an icy blast of crystalline beauty in an interesting format that appeals to the inner creative talent in everyone. With the approach of winter and many cold days ahead, facing the temperature and the icy blue skies with a celebration of the tones and treats of the season is a great way to enjoy a dose of seasonal fashion.

ice blue cocktail ring

Our cocktail ring comes in a free size, allowing for easy adjusting to fit any finger while staying secure to avoid any mishaps. The ring measures two centimeters square, creating a solid, structural metal base that's unexpected for a ring but which instantly creates a unique appeal. Studded in several rows along the metal base are blue Swarovski crystals in a variety of shapes, lending an idyllic glow to the piece that's sure to convey the delicate frost on branches on a cold winter morning, complete with glinting points of light that shift and morph with the wearer's movement. The ring's lower half is laced with a generous smattering of round, multi-faceted crystals, while the upper halves are dotted with inventive shapes that waltz and weave their way into the geometric harmony of the piece. Baguettes, ovals, emerald-cuts, and even modern squared princess cuts are beautifully displayed in classic Swarovski clarity and brilliance, yet this cool dream of a ring can be owned without the need to pay branded Swarovski prices.

alternate view of sapphire Swarovski crystal ring

The instant glamour and modern appeal created by this ring is a perfect match for holiday parties and other winter engagements that call for something reminiscent of the season, but will never bore or rely on tired traditional elements to make its message clear. Able to evoke goosebumps and fond memories of warm winter nights around the fire as a child at the same time, this ring is a great way to celebrate the colors of snow and sky, and to bring out the best of your sparkling inner spirit. A fantastic gift for someone special and equally nice for a personal treat, this cocktail ring represents the very best of costume jewellery's talent for telling beautiful stories –whether it's one facet or feature at a time or all worn together in a cluster of affordable, effortless style.

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Saturday, 24 October 2009

Garment District in Danger?

Whether you've realized it or not, any precious fashion items you've purchased that have been made in the states likely passed through New York City's Garment District at one point or another. Marked by a giant statue of a needle and a button, the Garment District has been a vibrant and commercially important part of the city –and of the American fashion landscape-- for quite some time. Notable for its collection of cutters, sewers, pattern makers, findings suppliers, and all other manner of garment industry professionals, the district is a fashion designer's dream come true, and has served to help support the efforts of well-known designers in today's market. Recently, however, the district has realized a degree of danger in the face of a clothing environment that simply isn't as energetic as it used to be. With sales in the fashion industry experiencing a sharp decline, the ability of the Garment District to support itself through the recession has come under question, and many admirers of the area have rushed to the district's rescue.
Serving as the basis for untold scores of accessorising, the fashions that have emerged from the Garment District over the course of its long life span have inspired and awed, and have also gone long way towards keeping America clothed, even with simple fashion fare. Recently, a large group of Garment District supporters rallied around the area's central landmark to show their love for the district and its rich past –not to mention what it still might provide for the future. Among those present at the rally was major designer Nanette Lapore, who noted that without the help of the professional community in the Garment District, her career may well have not gotten its start.
As national budget for luxury goods continue to experience sharp declines, many landlords and businesses in the Garment District are feeling intense pressure to move or to fold altogether, options which are distinctly unattractive for an industry that has long been a staple of the American landscape. Hoping to invigorate the area with greater economic advantages, the City Planning Commission is considering a move that would allow for different zoning within the garment district, threatening to diminish the area's historic importance.
We've been pleased to note that despite the troubles faced by the Garment District, New York's jewellery mecca seems to be doing just fine; in fact some jewellery businesses are even considering expansions, making for an even more dazzling, sparkling shopping experience. But without the clothing basics, even the best accessories don't have much with which to work. Whether the Garment District's survival depends on a quick recovery from the current recession or some other saving grace, we hope the area -–and its people-- get what they need to keep on stitching, sewing, and seaming. After all, without New York's fashion power, America may risk falling off the international fashion radar.

The famous giant button and needle in the NY Garment District

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It's Prize Time for this Week's Winners!

A big congratulations to our winners for the week, who have automatically entered through ordering from us in the past or who have manually entered from the main page of our site. If you've won, simply send us an email with the selection of your choice from our ample prizes section. We can't wait to ship off your free jewellery!

This week's winners are:

Laurie Munslow
Robert Ingram
Melanie Maddison
Jane Roberts
Patrick Diffey
Vivien Brook
Ina Clark

We'll keep our fingers crossed for other entrants in the week ahead.

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Thursday, 22 October 2009

One Dress Three Ways: Accessorising the LBD

The little black dress, or LBD, is a fashion staple that has served its purpose at countless parties and social functions –not to mention simply looking great around the house. Imagined and created in myriad different forms, the LBD has enjoyed a rock star status within the fashion industry for decades, and is well-loved by fashionistas around the world. Able to flatter nearly any figure and add just the right amounts of elegance and refinement to a special occasion without causing any clashing issues or making a big deal out of line and form, the LBD is bound to remain one of the primary elements of any modern woman's wardrobe. Recently, a crop of TV starlets was spotted wearing the same little black dress to various promotions and red-carpet affairs. Luckily for the trio of television sweethearts, the events were well-spaced out between seasons, and no mishaps were had involving the dreaded same dress, same event coincidence.
Instead, the appearances of the dress can be considered for their interpretation of the best accessorising for the LBD, a challenge which has delighted jewellery lovers since the first small dark frock was donned. The dress itself is a strapless Camilla and Marc number much appreciated for its sweeping, generously shaped neckline, visually interesting wide-belt bodice, and an adorable tulle skirt that's just the right length for showing off well-toned, and well-tanned, legs. The dress has made its way into the collections of 90210 star AnnaLynne McCord, Disney princess Ashley Tisdale, and Glee star Lea Michele. All three starlets have been previously noted for their fashion prowess, even if they are relative newcomers into the demanding world of red carpet designs.
AnnaLynne McCord chose to accessorise this classic yet updated LBD with one of the most stunning accessories we've seen with such a dress lately. Fire-engine red pumps complete with peep-toes stole the show and may have taken a bit of the spotlight away from the dress itself, an upstaging act created with the co-conspirator of McCord's neon yellow purse. She chose a delicate, lariat-type necklace and a series of thick, elaborate cuff bracelets –perfect costume jewellery wear for playing off of a fun purse and pair of shoes.
Ashley Tisdale went for a glamorous look in footwear as well, choosing leopard print pumps to pull off an exotic feel. We didn't catch any necklace action going on to play with the beautiful neckline of this dress, but we did note Tisdale's delicate strand bracelet, a piece that looks perfect for the subtle nuances of .925 silver costume jewellery. Lea Michele let her dress do all of the talking in nondescript black shoes and a (gasp!) forgivable lack of jewellery pieces. How would you accessorise this immensely popular LBD, should you find yourself strutting in front of the cameras? The options with costume jewellery are endless –a nice compliment for the limitless versatility of the classic little black dress.

three Hollywood starlets accesorise the same dress

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Tuesday, 20 October 2009

An Elegant Abstraction Ready for Your Own Meaning

Costume jewellery has enjoyed a strong concentration on literal forms for ages; pieces depicting animals, special signs, and other recognizable objects are especially popular and often show off just what the gorgeous materials and structures of costume jewellery can do. But that doesn't mean there aren't plenty of excellent examples of abstract art in costume pieces. The ability to create a sense of beauty and inspire emotion through line and form without directly recalling a certain subject may be a goal of fine jewellery, costing shoppers oodles of cash, but it's also something that costume jewellery can pull off wonderfully without requiring a complete emptying of the pockets. One of the best examples we've ever seen of such talent with abstract form is in this stunning pearl, crystal, and bronze brooch pin, a Janeo favorite that's sure to find itself nestled into sweaters, coats, and other cold weather staples this season.

pearl abstract brooch

The brooch begins with a simple statement in bronze metal, polished to a rich lustre that catches the light without being too showy. This perfect pin backdrop has been fashioned into a sweeping, curved line, reminiscent of the elegant arch of a ballerina's uplifted arm or the subtle curling of steam over a mug of warm cocoa. While the metal is in itself a pleasing and attractive sight, it is but the stage for a symphony of harmonious costume jewellery elements that can be matched with nearly any outfit or jewellery collection. Slightly off-centered in a complimentary angle, a cluster of three black “leaves” rests in a vision of tiny black Swarovski crystals. The leaf shapes may inspire pictures of twirling grapevines or falling aspen foliage, or they may appear more like hearts or other decorative elements. The beauty of this piece is largely in the ambiguity of the crystal shapes, and the ability of the wearer –along with anyone else viewing the brooch-- to conjure up their own idea of what might be suggested by the shapes.

alternate view of Janeo's inventive crystal and pearl brooch

Playing a beautiful staccato around the entire pin, generously sized gunmetal pearls add counterpoint to the piece and draw the eye with their creamy, classic allure. The pearls create a warmth that serves to offset the sleekness of the metal bas and add extra interest to the crystal shapes. Wearing this pin, whether to a special occasion or as part of an everyday jewellery wardrobe, is an experience for the eyes as well as for the mind, and will play with your ideas about jewellery as art, and will make you take on new perspectives as you adorn yourself with costume jewellery. You'll also be able to use the pin as a conversation starter, and are bound to receive plenty of compliments; in fact, having a story to tell about this pin, and what you see in it, will likely become one of the greatest ice-breakers in your repertoire. Affordable and lightweight, this pin is perfect for any recipient –including you.

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Saturday, 17 October 2009

New Armani Phone for Fashionable Calling

Sometimes it can seem like modern phones have gotten a long way away from the basic concept of making and receiving calls. Offering a multitude of perks and special features that do everything from displaying pictures and video to taking the same types of media through cameras, today's cell phones are a far cry from the basic models that were in use a decade ago. While it might not seem like a cell phone is ample ground for playing up design, this has proved to be one of the most successful endeavors of the telecommunications industry at large, and a great deal of time and effort –not to mention expense-- is poured into the creation of phones that look great. When the particular touches of a gifted fashion designer are added, the results can be truly astounding, and that's being hailed as the situation that's unveiled with the launch of a new Samsung phone designed by Italian fashion icon Giorgio Armani.
The phone, which has a sleek, modern, and minimalistic look that strays from being at all boring, is primarily black, with copper accents that coordinate beautifully with Armani's classic line of suits. Expressing his intention of creating a phone that's just right for modern managers, Armani seems to have channeled the appeal of simple cell phone models like Apple's iPhone while adding his own penchant for elegance and form. The phone was recently revealed coinciding with the release of Windows Mobile 6.5, a mobile operating system that runs on the Armani/Samsung model and is capable of video playback, can handle Microsoft Word and Excel documents, and is able to be synchronized online.
Like a lot of things in the world of high-end fashion, the phone isn't cheap. Through the model has a number of smart phone capabilities that are likely to make it a worthy rival of some of the most exciting cell phone products on the market, an Armani phone of your own will run you seven hundred euro; that's just over a thousand dollars at current exchange rates. So what's a wireless-smitten, fashion forward cell phone user supposed to do if there isn't a g sitting around with nothing better to do? Well, first, you could get yourself a phone that meets your usage requirements without breaking the bank, and that has a nice look and feel to it, as well (there are plenty of low- and mid-range models that have a high style quotient but won't strangle your wallet). Then, you can accessorize your phone with any number of Janeo's delicious cell phone charms. We have everything from Hello Kitty to cute bears and beautiful hearts, and you'll be thrilled with the price of pimping your phone with our collection of charms. For the guys who dig Armani but aren't into all that sparkles and dangles, we might suggest pairing a handsome phone with one of our leather bracelets or key rings. Or, of course, a reliably well-cut Armani suit.

Armani poses with his newest collection

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Congrats Winners!

If you've been chosen this week, take a look at our prize selection and send us an email with your costume jewellery pick. Our winners frequently write to us to let us know how their prizes have worked out, and we hope you'll do the same! Congrats this week go to:

Gary Hughes
Claire Holmes
Geraldine Skingle
Samantha Forster
Dawn Addams
Karen Dunstone

Good luck to our hopeful entrants this week!

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Thursday, 15 October 2009

Lindsay Lohan Makes Major Fashion Failure

Amidst all the gossip and gushing about great new designs and exciting collections, there's a fair amount of scandal to be found at a given Paris Fashion Week event, as most devotees of the traditional show are well aware. This year, the award for the most talked about, and perhaps most vehemently criticized (as in, ever, period) aspect of the show undeniably goes to Lindsay Lohan's fashion flop at luxury design house Ungaro. Red flags went up across the industry nearly a month before the event when the news of Lohan's involvement with the traditionally high-fashion firm was released. Critics wondered what the design company must have been thinking, while others suggested that the move was an affront to the professionals who spent their careers involved in serious design work. The offense? Ungaro hired Lohan to consult on the new collection as an assistant to its newly-commissioned head designer, Estrella Archs.

Lindsay Lohan and Estrella Archs at Ungaro

There are a number of theories as to why Ungaro may have made its controversial move, but a number of gossipers have noted that asking a celebrity to endorse a brand is fairly common in the fashion world. Of course, design houses usually restrict the arrangement to the realm of putting on a pretty face; celebrities might feature prominently in advertisement campaigns, or might make a testimonial or branding contribution through a signature or the lending of their name. But ask a celebrity -–especially one as hotly contested as Lindsay Lohan-- to actually do the design work, and mouths are likely to drop open.
That's precisely what happened at the showing of the latest Ungaro collection at Paris Fashion Week, but the astonishment was clearly not leaning towards the positive. Critics had a veritable field day with the bright and “gaudy” designs on parade, describing the collection as lacking invention and breaking the rules of form and color -–but in a decidedly bad way. While some industry rags attempted to maintain a sense of sympathy for Lohan, the mood online and in print since the event has been distinctly vicious, something that has spawned the occasional commentator to suggest that the failed campaign may signal a change in direction for fashion houses that have been taking advantage of celebrity involvement.
It may be the case that Ungaro was simply looking to safeguard its name and assets during an especially turbulent economy, but if this is true, it would appear that the design studio, which has typically catered to high-end fashionistas and those with a deep purse and an even deeper appetite for couture, has effectively caused its own worst nightmare. While glowing reviews about other shows at Paris Fashion Week highlight the insight and talents of Ungaro's friends and competitors, the label itself is likely to hear nothing but incredulity for the time being. Frankly, we're just glad that Lohan kept her designing “prowess” out of the field of costume jewellery -–there aren't any flops or faux pas here.

a design by Lohan for Ungaro

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Tuesday, 13 October 2009

A Ring for Daydreaming of Spring

As the nights begin to turn chilly, and the leaves take on their characteristic fall colors, fashionistas around the globe are welcoming the emergence of new boots and hats, new peacoats and gloves, and new clothing and accessories items in every shape and color. There are doubtless many ways to celebrate the changing of the seasons, but there's always a little sadness present for the ending of seasons past; we've experienced our own pining for the warmer days of spring, when the flowers that are just now dying were first budding up and preparing to come out in full bloom. Luckily, costume jewellery is perfectly capable of capturing the look and feel of every season, and when we miss the fancy-free days of spring as the fall settles itself around us like an old sweater, we simply slip on our pink Swarovski crystal garden ring.

pink Swarovski crystal garden ring

This effortlessly feminine ring has everything a girl could want in a piece of whimsical fashion jewellery. At the very center is a dainty and airy image of a cluster of springtime flowers, dominated by a pair of pretty roses. The stuff of china patterns and old pieces of wall paper, this image is sure to help you recall your favorite springs gone by, and is an excellent base for the spectacular show of sparkle that's to come. The base is elegantly rounded and polished, and is firmly crafted into the etched and antiqued silver setting. Surrounding this circle of spring is a filigree masterpiece in silver, swirling this way and that like a fresh flower proclaiming its beauty to the whistling wind.
The silver filigree is studded with our affordable, unbranded Swarovski crystals in both dark and light pink, creating a fireworks-like display that will light up even the most gray of fall days. The ring measures a generous three by three centimeters across, and comes in a fully adjustable free size, meaning you can wear it on any finger you'd like, or you can select it as a gift for someone special, safe in the knowledge that it will fit perfectly. We've taken this piece out of our special cocktail ring jewellery box during the fairer season itself with a great amount of fashion success and personal satisfaction, but somehow it seems to work its magic best when acting as a representative of the spring that has said goodbye, and as an ambassador of the season yet to come.

back view of Swarovski crystal cocktail ring

Channeling the charm of classic English gardens while adding modern panache through its liberal use of Swarovski sparkle power, this ring is a a continuous favorite that has won us a lot of compliments –and is sure to do the same for you. The ring comes as part of our special limited edition cocktail rings collection, and is a Janeo exclusive. Don't let the passing of the seasons find you without your own piece of this beautiful vision of spring.

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Sunday, 11 October 2009

German Fashion Magazine Goes Model-Less

Flipping through a favorite fashion magazine has long been a beloved pastime of fashion mavens around the world, and cozying up with the latest collections of clothes, celebrities, shopping leads, and fashion-related editorials will likely be a hobby for scores of people for many years to come. But the way in which fashion and beauty are presented in magazines may be in for quite a change. Recently, the lofty world in which such publications reside has been turned on its side somewhat by accusations that an overabundance of images of unhealthily thin, airbrushed, and otherwise altered women is having a negative effect on the mental health and well-being of the population at large, and among young women and girls in particular. The short version? Too many picture-perfect models are making readers feel bad about themselves.
With the advancement and diversification of media, especially in the fashion world, critics wonder whether the adherence to unrealistic looks has gone beyond the artistic and entered into the realm of the insane. As a result, several seemingly shocking suggestions and initiatives have been announced, all in an attempt to take the therapy bill out of an afternoon fashion mag read.
The popular magazine Elle has made a valiant effort in this direction by recently publishing an issue without makeup or digital alterations, a bold move for a mag with a large and diverse readership. While the issue was highly praised among advocates of natural beauty and many readers chimed in on their support, the prompt return to the status-quo of airbrushing and whisper-thin waists makes the issue look like more of a concession than a cause for feeling good.
In what has been characterized as a somewhat more radical move, a piece of French legislation has recently been produced that, if made into a law, would require warning text to be included with altered images to inform readers about the “surreality” of the pictures, akin to the EU's proliferation of warning labels on packages of cigarettes. Taking a bit of extra initiative, a successful German fashion magazine has recently announced plans to stop publishing pictures of models altogether; while purchased advertisements may still feature idealized figures and the forgiving nuances of Photoshop, its covers and features will include friends, family members, and those working as its employees, a decision which has drawn ample amounts of praise and incredulity alike.
Whether the German mag Brigitte manages to change the way that women think about fashion magazines, it is clear that the industry will experience a push towards better representation of the female figure as found in nature. Of course, these initiatives may also simply give rise to a divide between two very different types of fashion magazines; one which is progressive, and the other, stuck in the past. Or would it be a divide between the amateur, pop culture fashion crowd and the “real,” original camp? We're content to stick to highlighting the beauty of our costume jewellery on its own merits, knowing the pieces will complement anyone on which they're worn.

the German fashion mag Brigitte

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A Head's Up to Our Weekly Winners

With the passing of another week, it's time to announce our special prize winners. If you've been selected, you'll receive an email informing you and directing you to our prize selection page on-site, where you can choose the jewellery item of your choice. Let us know via email which piece of costume jewellery you'd like to receive, and we'll ship it off to you right away.

Congrats to:

Julie Jones
Lindsey Fletcher

Good luck to all our entrants this week, and remember to leave your full name for easier identification!

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Thursday, 8 October 2009

Former Secretary of State Madeleine Albright Makes Waves with Accessory Book

Most of the time, costume jewellery in the media is brought up in connection with the most popular celebrities, or with special events of the stage and screen, playing their glamorous part in the rough and tumble of the modern fashion world. But costume jewellery is also able to take on an important role in the world of politics, and it has known perhaps no other home as suitable and lauded as the lapel of former US Secretary of State Madeleine Albright.
The first female secretary of state, Albright had quite an intense spotlight shown upon her during the early years of her office, a spotlight that would prove to keep a keen interest in her person, her policies, and her preferences in costume jewellery, throughout her career. The diplomat displayed a healthy fondness for jewellery; one that was quickly brought center stage after she was referred to by an angry Hussein-era Iraq that she was an “unparalleled serpent.” Upon her next meeting with the relevant officials, Albright wore a serpent pin on her lapel, underneath which were the words “don't tread on me.”
After the case of the serpent, Albright began selecting costume jewellery pins that reflected her moods and thoughts as she met with world leaders and carried out her essential role. Her collection began to grow by leaps and bounds, allowing her to express her sentiments with greater precision; all while perfectly looking the part.
In celebration of women, of fashion, and of the power of costume jewellery, Albright recently published a book entitled Read My Pins: Stories from a Diplomat's Jewel Box. The tome explores her experiences through the lens of her choices in jewellery, a read that's sure to be captivating for anyone who appreciated Albright's reign –or for die-hard costume jewellery lovers, of course.
Doing a bit of travel and interview work in an effort to promote her book, Albright has given talks in fashion stores while models don the latest fall lines adorned with favorites from the former politician's jewellery collection. While the talks have sometimes turned sour in the wake of heated political debates, Albright's dedication to her essential message of the power of accessorizing and the unique abilities of jewellery to convey precise messages has remained intact.
The attention paid to Albright's new book, and to the costume jewellery that helped to define her career, is likely quite comfortable for the pieces themselves, which are so often used to seeing the flash of cameras and hearing the roar of the printing press when starlets put on the ritz for a big night out. But this episode has proved that costume jewellery has a purpose and a passion far beyond the front pages of gossip magazines. Costume jewellery is able to fit snugly into a world that's full of mixed messages and emotions, of complex concepts and revolutionary ideas; the ultimate accessories, simply waiting to be found, worn, and adored, costume jewellery pieces are indisputably part of the modern human landscape.

Madeleine Albright in her costume jewellery

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Tuesday, 6 October 2009

Take a Bite Out of the Accessory Slump

The problems wreaking havoc on the stock market and in purses large and small around the world may be having a noticeable impact on big business, and the issues might even extend to the average fashionita's ability to get just one more pair of shoes for the season (the opportunity to gain some hardcore decision-making skills between suede and calfskin lurks therein, however). Unfortunately, the icy clutches of the financial commotion are also threatening to put a bit of a tarnish on the world of accessories –but not when it comes to costume jewellery. The effortless affordability of costume jewellery pieces in any season, for any occasion, gives it the robust character that can charge through nearly any challenge. While other accessory sectors are feeling the hurt, costume jewellery is doing just fine. And you can add your vote of confidence to the enduring power of looking glam and great by dressing up your accessories wardrobe with costs that won't make your wallet cringe.
Case in point: our beautiful, complex, and chic apple and hearts key ring chain pendant. If that description sounds like a mouthful, it's because there's simply so much going on in this piece, yet it still manages to convey a refined style and sense of cool, preppy freshness that you might have thought was limited to jewellery items in the hundreds if not thousands of dollars. Glancing over this versatile costume jewellery accessory, you'll find the focal point in two silver and gold toned charms of graduated sizes; one stands out with its wide, central open space, allowing a smaller twin to dangle gracefully inside of it. The charms feature a sleek, stylized apple shape that also resembles matching hearts, making it easy to add your own imagination and meaning to the piece.

apple and hearts charm necklace chain keyring

Strewn across the charms are a symphony of diamante clear Swarovski crystal stones in various sizes, adding sparkle and interest to the twists and curves of the metal, and instantly turning this accessory towards the limelight of all that is glamorous. There's no denying that this item looks fantastic, but how it's worn is another issue entirely. You'd be hard-pressed to find a way that doesn't work for this remarkable jewellery piece. It comes dangling upon an ample silver neck chain, making it perfect for wearing as a necklace, or for stringing a few times around a wrist or ankle to add shimmer and sheen to the limbs. The charm also features a large key ring with a convenient lobster clasp, which makes it perfect for adding something extra special to your keys or attaching to a purse or other accessory item for a bit of flash and flair.

our apple and hearts costume jewellery chain worn as a bag charm
Both the chain and the key ring can be removed, making the apple and hearts charm jewellery accessory easy to adapt and change according to your tastes. Imagine all the crisp and sentimental beauty of this well-crafted piece gracing your outfits or tagging along with your daily accessory ensemble. It's a vision you'll love to claim as your own reality –especially when you see the price.

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Saturday, 3 October 2009

Lula Magazine Brings Feminine Fashion Dreams to Paper

Pick up a fashion magazine from your favorite stand these days, and you're likely to find page after page of advertisement, a few features on a given designer or event, and a handful of pages depicting new collections or assorted accessories. While sitting back with a favorite drink and a perusal through a fashion magazine has been a time-honored tradition among women young and old for countless years, many readers have doubtless grown tired of the need to bypass ads and “filler” content to get to the gist of the attraction –the visual and editorial dream of beautiful clothes and great design. Recently, a fashion magazine was created by two professionals who might seem unlikely magazine launchers. A photographer and a stylist, both with ample experience in the fashion industry, have sought to bring a magazine of a different nature to fashion fans, and the international scene has responded with a resounding welcome.
Lula, as the new magazine has been christened, is an adventure in looks and words, keeping advertising minimal in an effort to bring the fantasy of couture clothing closer to the reading experience. Filled with dreamy gowns and outfits, inventive hair and makeup, and settings that highlight the pieces without being boring, the pages are thick and glossy and full of life, a dream come true for those who tend to find themselves dawdling over the photographs of other, more traditional, mags. But it's not just the pictures that have set Lula apart from its competition –if competition can really be considered present for this pioneering publication. It's the context in which the pictures are placed that has drawn an international readership.
The editorial angle, which is frequently uplifted with guest editors such as easy-to-idolize Kirsten Dunst and Keira Knightley, is all about creating contextual stories for the clothing, helping to weave the dream that so many girls and women experience when thinking about fashion. Inviting readers to settle in and truly explore the frontiers of the fashion world, the stories are enhanced by the occasional interview, which is far more personal and full of depth than what might be expected from other pieces of press.
The initial success of Lula has been well-documented, with scores of fans around the world showing through their continuous readership and glowing reviews that they're ready for fashion magazines that aren't completely focused on making sales or pushing brands. The magazine's creators have recently hinted at expanding the publication to Japan, though they note that present economic difficulties may prove a big part of decisions to bring Lula to a wider audience.
Of course, it may still be quite fun to spend a languid Saturday afternoon rummaging through the pages of a classic fashion magazine, eying over the collections of famous designers and sniffing the occasional perfume sample, but for those who have been lusting after something with a bit more soul, Lula may prove to be just the thing.

picture from Lula fashion magazine

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Congrats Weekly Winners!

Our prize section is full of some of the nicest items you'll find in costume jewellery online, and you can get the piece of your choice gift-wrapped and shipped to your door if you're one of our weekly winners:

Natalie Padar
Jayne Venables
Matt Newbury
Raymond Newton
Richard Cummins

To avoid any potential confusion, our winners will receive emails sent to their addresses to verify they've won, but please do enter your full name if you choose to test your luck in the contest.

Congratulations and good luck to our hopeful readers!

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Thursday, 1 October 2009

Lady Gaga and the Exploration of Alternative

Achieving a remarkable degree of fame in a flash with her recent single “Just Dance,” Lady Gaga has fast become a staple of the international clubbing scene, and has recently won the award for Best New Artist from MTV. Yet these awards and accolades have come up against a fair amount of flaming in the face of the twenty-three year old diva's often outlandish fashion choices, which have been the subject of quite a few controversies. From vampire teeth to significantly studded stiletto boots and well beyond to lace-covered masks, outrageous hats, and 60's-era sunglasses, Lady Gaga is usually seen bedecked in creations from her own fashion label, Haus of Gaga. While many critics may not exactly be kind, plenty of the singer and songwriter's fans have shown their support for the daring fashion moves, noting that amongst sour financial times replete with boring or overly-conservative designs, Lady Gaga's explorations in design are quite welcome. We've outlined some of her most famous outfits to give you a taste of the Gaga craze.

Lady Gaga and her round sunglasses

The glasses may be a bit Lennon-esque, but their round, refined throwback to the days of flower power often provides a comfortable counterpoint to Gaga's otherwise ostentatious outfits. Sitting well on her face, they represent a fun and fashionable love of accessories –something the singer has never been shy about showing off. Like a great piece of costume jewellery, Gaga's glasses are both unique and instantly recognizable, making them a great choice, even if they meet with their fair share of criticism.

Lady Gaga's red lace MTV awards ensemble

Lady Gaga made quite a statement in her ensemble at the MTV music awards recently. Not everyone is sure precisely what that statement was, but its clear a lot of work and thought went into the make-up. With a sultry red lace dress, matching mask and Francis Bacon-like crown, and a tumble of platinum blonde curls, Gaga evoked the fashion-forward sex appeal of Madonna in her early years, even if she had to eventually remove the mask in order to be heard. The show of daring and adventure was a big step forward for fashionistas who hope to wear what works for them –while looking fabulous at the same time. Not every such adventure has to take on Lady Gaga's extremes, of course. Trying out a new pin, bracelet, or costume jewellery cell phone charm is a good way to break from the mold. And unlike some celebrities, Gaga has shown that her interesting accessory choices aren't limited to special events; any venue is fair game.

Stepping out in style isn't always an exercise in paying strict attention to the rules of the runway, as Lady Gaga has been insistently showing the world. Though taking chances sometimes means facing a bit of skepticism, the rewards of feeling and looking like yourself, in all your true colors, are often more than enough to set the score right.

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