Beauty is in the eye of the beholder...and those of us holding the mascara wand.

After two decades of covering the beauty industry, I've come to learn what makes it so alluring. Finding the perfect shade of makeup to match your skin tone, adding a swipe of eyeliner to give your tired eyes a lift, discovering an innovative new product line, or indulging in a totally luxurious spa treatment. My experiences have been documented in magazines, newspapers and websites worldwide. I've tested newly formulated products in the lab, explored hair removal options, shopped for lipstick, added shine to my hair and succumbed to massage marathons--all in the name of beauty. I've written press releases, hosted makeover events and co-authored a Do-It-Yourself Beauty book (Alloy). On this blog, I write about products and services that I come across every day as well as those that have been provided by publicists or the companies that make them. Either way, I write what I think. I hope to share some of my insights--and bring you the latest, greatest beauty news right here. Join me in the quest to find all things pretty.

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

fashion week: fashion/jewelry expert Michael O'Connor gives us an insider view

During New York Fashion Week, we read about models strutting the runways, designers pulling it all together backstage and celebrity fans flitting about throughout the tents. Now jewelry expert and style guru Michael O’Connor tells us what we can look forward to for the upcoming fashion season. Here, his take on the New York Spring 2011 runway shows.

Prettyisprettydoes: Are you excited about FW's move to Lincoln Center? What do you look forward to in the new venue?

Michael O'Connor: "I think it will be a great move for Fashion Week. I’m looking forward to all the new space for mingling in the lobby, as well as some new formats."

PIPD: Which shows are you looking forward to seeing? Which celebs do you want to work with?

MO: "There are so many shows, but some of my favorites are Derek Lam, Dennis Basso and Venexiana. I’ve worked with many celebrities over the years - from many of the cast of Desperate Housewives to The Office to True Blood--as well as various actresses from Brittany Murphy to Jane Kaczmeryck, among others."

PIPD: Which shows will you be working on this season?

MO: "So far, I’ll be working on the Emmy’s (just finished), the Golden Globes, Academy Awards and thinking about a few more since I seem to be getting requests."

PIPD: Give us a hint of jewelry trends for Spring 2011. What are your favorite pieces?

MO: "Some of the jewelry trends that I’m seeing happen are:

1. Bigger and Bolder pieces. We saw large bib necklaces of Heidi Klum and several actresses at the Emmy’s. Big Bracelets too such as Kim Kardashian’s. Larger earrings were worn by almost everyone at the Emmy’s. Overall, pieces are getting larger in size.

2. Color is a huge trend, both on the fashion runways and in the jewelry design houses. Colored gemstones are being used to compliment all the color we’re seeing in fashion. Additionally, the use of colored gemstones is allowing for larger pieces, since much of the color is available in a variety of semi-precious gemstones that don’t cost an arm and a leg.

3. Modern materials and metals are another huge trend. Jewelry designers are letting their imaginations go and incorporating newer metals with great finishes, such as blackened rhodium, to enhance the gemstones. Metals like titanium are being used for larger pieces in order to keep them light. Additionally, leather, wood, rubber, glass and other “non-precious” materials are being used to add interest, color and modernity to designs."

PIPD: Is there one really unique jewelry trend that will come out of these shows? How will it translate to the mainstream?

MO: The three huge trends I mentioned above will translate into different ways that will bring them mainstream. The larger looks will be accomplished in a mainstream manner by the use of larger semi-precious gems and precious gemstone slices that allow for large surfaces. Additionally, the use of non-precious elements and silver will allow designers to create pieces at some very attractive price points. Also there has been a trend toward layering in both clothing and jewelry. For jewelry, that means that people will be able to collect smaller pieces over time (such as bracelets or necklaces) and then simply layer them together to create larger, more important looks."

PIPD: Do you have any advice for fashionistas with tight budgets? What are the five must-haves to buy this season that won't cause a financial meltdown?

MO: "For fashionistas on a budget, I suggest concentrating on five great pieces that will definitely get noticed. For example, a great pair of shoe-booties (peep toe or not), a great pair of sunglasses, an amazing pair of slacks that give you great lines, a tailored (but not over the top) jacket that you’ll be able to mix and match, as well as a great high-end watch. From there you can mix in many lower cost items for color and style while keeping the emphasis on the better pieces."

PIPD: Do you have any advice for first-timer attendees at the shows?

MO: "Choose to see designers that design for your body type. Don’t take every look that you see “literally” - that leads to a “costumey” look. Think about how you would incorporate these looks into your own style."