Ever since Sex and the City’s Carrie necklace blew up at retail, both brands and retailers scrutinize big and little screens to see what’s trending and try to get air time for their merchandise.
Shows might not roll jewelry credits but social media and blogs regularly post about who wore what. Fans can also tweet costume designers directly, as they’re often live tweeting during each broadcast. Sites like Covet.tv and TheTake.com, which let consumers purchase featured (or lookalike) items, are also ways to see which brands get coverage.
So how do you get your merchandise on screen? One way is to work with a product placement agency. Jessica Cohen, founder of The Product Agent, was a TV set director for eight years and worked on Sex and the City, so she knows how to get to prop masters and costume designers. For an annual fee, she will upload a brand’s images and lookbooks to a database/website, from which she sends select images to a production when they’re developing characters.
“If you do reach out directly to a costume designer on Instagram or Twitter, understand how they work,” she advises. “They might need multiple samples of the same piece or need to change out a stone. You need to be quick to respond.”
Jewelry is often kept fairly minimal unless the show is deliberately making a statement with it. Another show that focuses on jewelry is “Scream Queens,” which made pearls cool again, or “Empire,” which regularly puts its lead Cookie in bold, powerful jewelry and dramatic statement-making accessories.
“Cookie is unapologetic and personally I love big, excessive jewelry,” says Empire costume designer Paolo Nieddu. “It’s eye candy and definitely more interesting to see when you are watching a film or television show. We already see smaller delicate pieces in our real lives whether it’s a friend or at work or wherever. I want to tell the story of opulence and that’s why I tend to go bigger with her pieces. I hope that when people see Cookie her working the hell out of a two-pound necklace they are inspired to go get something similar for themselves!”
Empire, which recently returned for Season 3, is highlighting jewelry as always but with a shift to fine. “You will see everything from huge statement earrings, rings and necklaces to classic hoops, studs, layered bracelets, and bangles and simple gold rings,” says Nieddu.
“Cookie is definitely the most accessorized of all my characters and I usually put together a tray of all the pieces I’m feeling and I go in when she dresses on the morning of and we decide. This season the shift is has been about having her in fine jewels and real diamonds as often as I can. For fine jewels like diamonds and such I use Jacob & Co. and Kimberly Mcdonald, Stephen Dweck, Iradj Moini, Jennifer Fisher for my semiprecious. For costume I am huge fans of Kenneth J Lane, Eddie Borgo, Lulu Frost, Alexis Bittar, BaubleBar and I also love vintage, and also mixing in some top shop or Zara pieces here and there.”
A recent Accessories Council panel of top costume designers stressed that it’s key to understand the personality, trends and accessibility of a show’s characters.
“The ensembles must be a true reflection of how a character would appear if it were real life and not television. Understand a show’s costume aesthetic before sending product suggestions to the teams. Always send look books or images with emails, and make sure items are currently available should a team want to do a pull.
“I don’t always have the time to go through look books and reach out, so it’s best when people who reach out can send an assortment that we can hold onto for a few weeks or so,” says Empire’s Nieddu. This way if it’s in the room and already there, it will usually make it onto someone.”
Some relationships with costume designers can turn into full-scale collaborations, such as the one Salvador Perez (costume designer of The Mindy Project and Pitch Perfect 2 did with jewelry retailer BaubleBar.
TRENDING: DIANA TROUT’S STATEMENT NECKLACES
Can Darren Star’s hit TV show Younger bring back the statement power necklace? Twitter seems to think so! We spoke with Jacqueline Demeterio, costume designer/fashion stylist for Younger about her over-the-top jewelry choices for boss Diana Trout.
Social media is buzzing about Diana’s necklaces!
People ask all the time about her jewelry—it’s a big topic of conversation among the fans of the show on social media! It inspires me to keep creating and setting trends.
Diana Trout is a female boss in her mid to late 40s who is working for a publishing company. The idea behind her big accessories and power dressing is that she is surrounded by young millennial employees and we wanted to differentiate between the two and make a bold statement with the way she puts herself together. Diana feels she looks fashionable because she’s wearing designer jewelry and fabulous vintage pieces, but it’s purposely styled way over the top! The looks ridiculous! Although she’s wearing contemporary high-end designer clothing and most likely has personal shoppers at Barneys and Bergdorf, she’s still a bit stuck in the 80’s and 90’s where bigger was better as opposed to the cleaner minimal pieces as of late.
I find a lot of vintage jewelry at NY Vintage that includes vintage Lanvin, Cardin, Cartier and Kenneth Jay Lane. I also buy new Marni, Lanvin and Alexis Bittar. One huge necklace was from Pat’s store [Patricia Field is a consultant on the show] and it is from the British designer Tatty Devine.
Do you think you can “bring back the Power Necklace” with Diana’s jewelry wardrobe?
I love minimal stacking pieces that are trendy now, but I also enjoy seeing a power statement necklace on a simple classic dress or t-shirt that needs to be elevated. There is a modern way of styling that without looking dated.
How can jewelry designers or retailers get their jewelry on your show?
They can contact me through social media or email me. I would love to feature more designers on the show! Twitter: @JoDemeterio