The Avant-Garde Brooch

Is it strange to plan an outfit around a relatively small piece of jewelry?

A couple of weeks ago, I showed you a few beautiful brooches that I’d been eyeing . . . most covetously.
Seugli Kwon 5
Seugli Kwon
Mirjam Heller No. 2
Mirjam Heller
Barbara Stutman Imperfect Beauty
Barbara Stutman
Mirjam Heller No. 1
Also Mirjam Heller

I’m not saying it was a contest, but there was a winner.
Here I am
Directrice with contest-winner

Side view
The Directrice bought one of those things
When I presented myself to The Photographer for picture-taking last weekend, he said, “You bought one of those things?”
But he said it like this:
“You bOugHt one of those things?”

Indeed, I did.
The arrival of the brooch touched off a micro-crisis in my head. I loved the brooch and was totally captivated by its design. It’s fabricated from a single piece of steel and slightly springy to the touch. But I wasn’t sure what I could wear it with.
Red shoes
It’s good to know that I can still surprise The Photographer, but should he have been surprised?

Who am I kidding?
I did telegraph my intentions quite clearly in that earlier post
The brooch is heavy (approximately half the weight of a candy bar that is too large to consume in a single sitting), modern, and a little bit rustic. If it were a movie, it would be a mash-up of Blade Runner and Witness. Take all the time you need to process that.
Clearly, the brooch needs to sit upon a very plain backdrop — ideally, something without embellishment, which, in the most restrictive sense, means no buttons or pockets. But something heavier than a blouse and more resilient than a sweater.

How lucky for me that I had recently purchased this top made of double-knit wool.
This top is not lacking in interest. It’s charcoal grey, but woven in a degrade pattern with flecks of light grey appearing at the midriff and becoming denser at the hem. Importantly, however, the chest and neckline are a solid field that sets off the brooch beautifully.
We're here
Such a lucky creature!

To talk about
Brooch pinned to double-knit that may be degrade . . . but may be ombre
NB: Despite my best efforts (10 minutes of Google searching), I could not find a definitive explanation of the difference between ombre and degrade coloring. Technically, this may be ombre.

visit the brooch.
Despite the sawtooth edges, it will not bite.
My unbelievable brooch
Ready for its close-up

Did you notice that I changed my shoes midway through these pictures?
Perhaps you should go back to the top and start again.
I couldn’t decide between black penny loafers or red ones. When I actually wore this outfit to work, I wore a different pair of shoes entirely: black wedges with a lower vamp.
My work here is done
My work here is done

Did you realize that Harrison Ford is the star of both Blade Runner and Witness?

Brooch: Mirjam Heller from Galerie Noel Guyomarc’h; Top: DSquared2 from YOOX (Warning: DSquared2 runs very small; I am wearing size L); Pants: JCrew Campbell pants; Black loafers: Coach; Red loafers: Marc by Marc Jacobs; Bag: Coach Borough bag; Sunglasses: Illesteva Milan IV in Amber

12 thoughts on “The Avant-Garde Brooch”

  1. I love that you are branching out into more avant garde jewelry! Pieces like that make an outfit and the top is perfect. It matters not if the photographer appreciates the individual piece. What matters is that you DO surprise him. Never let a relationship get old (said after 26 years of marriage). And if it only takes a brooch to keep him on his toes, all the better. 😉

  2. Well, my memory of what I said is slightly different (welcome to marriage!) I remember saying it in intrigued interest rather than aesthetic indignation. It’s fun to heft and hold in the hand. The pointy ends give slightly when pressed inward with a finger, giving them the feel of coiled springs. The conical nature of the points is a tad alarming, and it could legitimately be called the No-Hugging-At-Work Brooch. Like The Directrice — and as a creative person myself — I appreciate buying items like these to support the artists that made them. It’s quite beautiful, and like The Directrice herself, it’s intriguing and surprising.

    • The note I heard in your voice was astonishment. Perhaps that wasn’t conveyed by my font which I have previously used to communicate shock, fear, temporary insanity, eyes spinning in different directions, and the thoughts of robots.

  3. dig the brooch. It is Art. The black shoes are the hands down winner, in my view. I adore the red shoes, but in this outfit, the brooch is the star, and the red shoes compete with the brooch. I’m a big fan of black (or some other form of neutral) clothing plus Statement jewelry (and Statement glasses, for that matter). All you need is a good, plain outfit in one neutral (preferably black or brown or DEEP plum–never, ever purple–) and one or two good pieces of jewelry (and/or glasses) and you are automatically the most stylish person in the room. (Oh, and you need lipstick too.) So sayeth Desh!

  4. Fabulous brooch. I adore brooches and think they are like a gift to the eye of everyone throughout the day who claps eyes on them. Yesterday a beautifully and simply dressed lady on my bus wore a tin car brooch and I noticed and silently thanked her for her generosity to all that day. Your brooch reminds me of a pair of sea creatures nestling. I do like an abstract brooch that noticers can muse on.

  5. I’m sure you noticed the black loafer’s line of gold/yellow along the sole line that matched your brooch. It’s total harmony with those sunglasses! And may I add, your double knit wool top is SO flattering. It’s a keeper!

  6. The yellow brooch is lovely and it’s the one that caught my eye when you first posted. Glad you decided to acquire it! I hope you will entertain an off-brooch-topic question… I notice that you often wear jcrew Campbell pants. Have you had problems with the pants bagging at the knees after just one wear? It appears to be a common complaint according to the product reviews and I’ve been having this problem lately with other brands. This might be a reason to lament the passing of the days of “hard” pants.

    • I have several pairs of the Campbell pants. The wool ones do not bag out at all. I haven’t particularly noticed the cotton ones doing this, but I can imagine they might. Cotton tends to stretch out quickly and easily.


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