2016 Red Carpet Trend: The Elegant Reincarnation of the Ear Cuff

Image courtesy of martymagic.com

Image courtesy of martymagic.com

What do Lucille Ball, Prince, and Emma Watson of Harry Potter fame have in common? They all were trendsetters for the humble ear cuff, which has now become serious ‘ear candy’ on fashion runways and red carpets.

Lucille_Ball_earcuff3As star of the popular sitcom “I Love Lucy”—which we are still watching in the 21st century—Lucille Ball, elevated the ear cuff to a fashion statement. The life of the simple ear cuff, in the 80s and 90s provided punk and rock music royalty, Like Prince, with a rebellious and edgy fashion accessory, featuring silver chains, spikes, arrows, and geometric shapes.

Cutting edge fashion designer Alexander McQueen sent the ear cuff down the runway with dramatic effect in his fall/winter 2003 collection, with the ear cuff returning again and again for the past several seasons.  And “Harry Potter’s” Emma Watson, who won our hearts as Hermione, has elevated the ear cuff into a 21st century fashion statement.

Emma Watson image courtesy of harpersbazaar.co.uk

Emma Watson image courtesy of harpersbazaar.co.uk

Sophie Katirai, owner of Sophia’s Closet, an online store for vintage, upscale and costume jewelry, has noted that our fascination with the ear cuff “continues to grow season upon season, as the style elite, celebrity icons and designer catwalk shows continue to embrace and rediscover this key accessory trend.”

Jewelry made of diamonds and pearls, combined with gold and silver, have always been donned by the wealthy and elite. But in the 21st century, the ear cuff has become an earmark of stylish luxury and sophistication.

Forbes has taken notice of emergence of the ear cuff into the luxury jewelry market. Calling it “ear candyand including Colette’s $12,820 Green Corum diamond and Tsavorite ear cuff in its 2015 Perfectly Gifted Guide.

Jennifer Lawrence at the premiere of "The Hunger Games." Images courtesy of pinterest.com

Jennifer Lawrence at the premiere of “The Hunger Games: Catching Fire.” Images courtesy of pinterest.com

Jennifer Lawrence had many women’s mouths watering when her left ear lit up the 2013 Paris premiere of “The Hunger Games: Catching Fire,” wearing an ear cuff by Jewelry Designer Ana Khouri, with a price point approaching $25k. Emma Watson set off an ear cuff trend explosion in 2013, wearing cuffs as a reoccurring fashion accessory when she hit the red carpet. She wore ear cuffs “funky” tripling up the effect with three identical rings at the top of the ear.  While at the premiere of “Noah” in 2014, she dazzled admirers with Khouri’s winding ear cuff chain of yellow gold and diamonds, that had to costs a pretty penny.

At the 2015 SAG Awards, Rashida Jones rocked a pair of Norman Silverman’s 20 Carat ear cuffs ringing up the accessory cash register over $130,000. And People Style Magazine in 2015 also tallied up who wore ear cuffs best on the red carpet.

Images clockwise of Emma Stone, Rashida Jones, Tatiana Maslany and Keira Knightly courtesy of peopleswatchstyle.com

Images clockwise of Emma Stone, Rashida Jones, Tatiana Maslany and Keira Knightly courtesy of peopleswatchstyle.com

The ear is undoubtedly an erogenous zone, which has been nibbled on for centuries. The earliest ear cuffs, Ms. Katirai says, can be traced back 2000 years to the British Isles. What is the allure of the ear cuff that keeps it coming back? Ms. Katirai contends, “ear cuffs did not require piercing and put less weight on the ears, so more elaborate and larger designs are possible to wear.”

Amy Li, the head of products at BERRICLE, a lifestyle jewelry brand creating “attainable” luxury with classic and contemporary designs, agrees. “We’ve seen graphic elements all over S/S 2016 runways such as Christian Dior and Céline. The earring cuff styles this year thusly have transformed with bolder and more abstract designs.”

Some ear cuffs have become collector’s items. “We have come across many beautiful vintage costume ear cuffs,” says Ms. Katirai, which also might have a high price tag.

Julianne Hough image courtesy of dailymail.co.uk, Pat Graham and Tracee Ellis Ross images courtesy of gracielagems.com

Julianne Hough image courtesy of dailymail.co.uk, Pat Graham and Tracee Ellis Ross images courtesy of gracielagems.com

That brings us to the 2016 red carpet season. “Blackish’s” Tracee Ellis Ross really caused heads to turn in a form-fitting black dress with low décolletage paired with black Everest ear cuffs from Graziela Gems at the 47th NAACP Image Awards. ”Vampire Diaries’” Kat Graham’s short upswept hairdo only accentuated her double curve ear cuffs in black and white from Graziela Gems at the 2016 People’s Choice Awards. And last, but certainly not least, Julianne Hough shimmered at the 2016 People’s Choice Awards a black sequined Kaufmanfranco dress accessorized with the Jade Trau for Forevermark 18k white gold and diamond Large Luna Ear Cuff.

—Francesca Simon

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