The Dramatic Earring

Laura Brown swings with the chandeliers

Portrait of Tammy Strobel

Laura Brown swings with the chandeliers

My Reading Room

I was young, I thought chandelier earrings were the most glamorous thing.

In my imagination, they were worn exclusively by ladies with sexy shoulders and subversive chignons—like in a Helmut Newton photograph. Or, say, a young Brooke Shields in an early Versace campaign, with a blue fringed pair down to her chest. Loulou de la Falaise twirling around Paris, adding a bohemian jacket and a turban. Or Anjelica Huston … anywhere, really.

These women were just avatars of chic. I’m not young anymore, but I still think chandelier earrings are the most glamorous thing.

The great charm of dramatic earrings is that they’re completely superfluous.

No one needs light fittings hanging from their lobes, but what they carry is an almost ancient allure. With chandelier earrings, every woman can be Cleo patra. (But with a happier ending, one would hope.) My first pair came from the Indian stores. In the ’90s. In London. (India still wins at chandelier earrings; the rest of you nations needn’t bother.) Ooh, I felt like just the grandest girl, especially the way my swishy accessories made a little breeze on my exposed shoulders. (This was not a turtleneck situation.) After that, I tried out large hoops for a bit—paired with halter dresses like I was a guest act at Studio 54. God forbid a lady rests on her fashion laurels, though, because one day the long earring was gone— banished! For years, it languished in fashion purgatory while the world embraced minimal ism (sorry, coolly nodded to minimalism— an embrace just isn’t onbrand).

For years, Ear Town was empty. A girl couldn’t even find a tumbleweed for decoration. But, stealth warriors, long earrings returned. Well, one of them did. First, at Saint Laurent’s spring 2014 show. Then, at Céline and Louis Vuitton. They were gorgeous and all, but I was always a bit hmm... about them. I had to control the impulse to ask fashion editors where they’d lost the other one. But now, rejoice!

The swish is back. And in pairs! The spring shows were an earring parade redolent of an ancient queenly glamour.

Peter Copping at Oscar de la Renta had the fast track, last season’s grand beaded numbers followed up this time with what can best be described as sexy key rings.

Céline remained singular, its pairs metallic and mismatched. Alexander Wang’s chain links were street-smart, while Proenza Schouler’s resembled a metal flower, yet to bloom. Of course, Prada’s were more esoteric, like sequinned pom-poms. And over at game-changing Gucci? A whole situation—chains, pearls, flowers, good for a Roman court. My favour ites? Aurélie Bidermann’s triangular gold pieces, maybe because they’re a hybrid version of my two favourite earring memories: India and disco. Cleopatra would have loved them. But guess what? She’s not around. When it comes to regal glamour, I’d rather not have the competition.