Necklace layering is not a new art form and, although it was initially at the zeitgeist more than a decade ago, it has now become the modus operandi for jewelry lovers. As we transition into FW23, however, the necklace stack is developing new energy. Now, your #neckmess needs to be more ordered than ever before. “Necklace layering has always had bohemian connotations, but this season it gets a minimalist makeover, especially in terms of the color palette – think clean lines and sleek chains,” explains Libby Page, market director at NET-A-PORTER. “And, for the first time in years, we are also seeing a move towards silver again,” she adds.
This shift doesn’t, however, mean that your stack has to be any less diverse. “I’ll be pairing a black silk slip dress with a long silver pendant chain, a cord necklace and a sculptural choker to match,” says Page. Your go-to inspiration? The ’90s trend for mixing chokers, black beads and solid silver is the perfect look for partnering fall’s darker, deeper-hued ready-to-wear, while choosing myriad materials will add texture and intrigue. “Whether you choose to combine necklaces with clips and clasps, chains or cords, this season, there is an emphasis on mixing up subtle finishes and fine details to create an edit that feels uniquely personal and effortlessly curated,” says Emily Johnston, acting fine-jewelry buyer at NET-A-PORTER.
Coveting a new-season stack? Meet the new hero styles…
A coin necklace
“Medallions are an anchoring piece in any necklace stack,” says Johnston. “Based on the size of the coin and the drop length of the chain, you can then choose delicate pieces to sit over and under, such as an ultra-fine chain or a string of seed pearls.” Marlo Laz’s coin necklaces are a cult choice – look to its personalized initial style or the brand’s ‘Porte Bonheur’ charm, which is available in an array of colored gemstones. Elsewhere, Anita Ko and Foundrae offer similar amulet-inspired designs, featuring potent symbols that include a serpent and a flower among thorns to manifest good fortune and resilience.
Clips and clasps
While clips and clasps used to be purely functional, several designers are now employing them as a design signature. “Eéra’s iconic carabiner-style designs are just as popular as ever,” says Johnston. “The brand’s white gold diamond-set tennis necklace is a wear-forever piece, but the utilitarian clasp ensures it remains contemporary.” New York-based brand Marla Aaron takes locks and layering to another level, offering elaborate clips that are shaped as stars, lightning bolts and hearts, allowing you to switch up your stack in seconds. “Even if the clasp isn’t a design point in itself, so many jewelers are now offering multi-functional designs, so look for extendable chains that will give you more versatility when creating your layered look,” suggests Johnston.
A classic chain
This season, it’s time to add a white-gold or silver chain into your necklace stack, as the trend for all-yellow gold is receding in favor of a mixed-metal mélange. “Longer link styles are really popular, too,” says Johnston, who advises choosing a classic style, such as Gucci’s ‘Link to Love’ design, or Lauren Rubinski’s 14-karat-gold pieces. “We’re also seeing a lot of oversized styles coming to the fore; these are bold investment pieces that mean you don’t need to wear any other jewelry alongside them.” Those seeking an ultra-elevated iteration should look to David Yurman’s diamond-set designs, which will add extra scintillation to your stack.
A subtle way to add color into your layered look is to choose a cord-style necklace, especially if you prefer diamonds to colored gems. “We’re seeing a lot of black, navy and white for fall, which suits all skin tones and feels elegant when paired with dark knitwear or a smart coat,” says Johnston. Marie Lichtenberg is the queen of cord-making – each of her multi-hued silk strings is entirely unique – while Pippa Small’s gold-cord designs feature petite pendants that can be effortlessly slipped into an eclectic stack.
“While summer’s bead trends always lean towards bright colors and riotous combinations, FW23 is signaling a shift towards a more sophisticated, richly hued palette,” says Johnston. Harwell Godfrey, Sophie Buhai and Lié Studio are leading the charge, with bold beads carved from lapis lazuli, carnelian and onyx, while Azlee’s precious ‘Staircase’ designs are crafted from ruby and sapphire beads, plus a striking central stone. “Even darker hues of beads still feel a little playful,” says Johnston. “They bring character to a stack of plain chains and remind us that experimentation is key – it’s all about finding the perfect pieces to express your style, and your style only.”
The models featured in this story are not associated with NET-A-PORTER and do not endorse it or the products shown