NEW YORK -- Steve Morris and Linda Dougan, a couple from Woodstock, N.Y., design a jaunty line of lightweight sterling silver and copper animals, hearts, stars and moons on earrings, bracelets and pendants under the name "Morgan." Their styles go well with biker boots and jeans.
At the other extreme is Roxanne Assoulin, a Manhattan designer, who shows neck, wrist and ear gear featuring materials ranging from silver and gold to hand-blown glass, wood and leather. If someone suggests her designs look Chanel-inspired, she won't disagree.
Welcome to mixed messages and wild diversity at the neon-lit Fashion Accessories Expo.
If there was one universal message in all these conflicting themes, it's this: 1992 will be so full of highly individualized styles in costume jewelry that you'll want to blow your budget and go shopping to add at least a few new things to your wardrobe. Some are available in stores already, and more will come as we get closer to spring.
The jewelry themes hot now include biker chic, uptown casual, feminine vintage, Western, novel wearable art, hearts and colorful clunky anything.
Just as designers paired long and short hemlines when they showed their spring clothing lines last fall, accessories designers have come up with a number of opposites and then stuck in everything else they could think of.
Because the jewelry designers couldn't seem to tell us what was the trend, we did a little shopping of our own. We saw:
Hearts: They can be big, little, poofy, flat or irregularly shaped -- as long as they are romantic. Clothing designers put them on runways as a minitrend along with stars, animal shapes and moons, and accessory designers followed suit. Roxanne Assoulin offers a big, puffed heart necklace in matte silver on a leather strap.
Biker chic: This incorporates lots of studs and rhinestones on black wrist cuffs, neck collars and earrings. It's a look inspired by bikers, but you don't have to be tough to wear it. Martha Sturdy, a jewelry designer from Vancouver, British Columbia, features chains on circle earrings made of leather and brass.
Wearable art: This jewelry has a graphic approach in bold colors, featuring lots of enamels, see-through plastics, freshly styled collaged and manipulated metals. Little people figures are sizzling.
Romantic: This is Victorian jewelry trimmed with crystal, baby pearls and lace. K.J.L. by Kenneth Jay Lane/F.A.R.E. features ...F...FTC new collection of vintage pins. This return to old-fashioned femininity often is done with muted pastels and washed out water-color brights and fine gold trim.
Western: There are several variations -- American, urban and American Indian -- so this can get tricky. Basically, this style emphasizes sterling silver, accented with coral, turquoise and pink beads or stones. Tasseled pendants, swag necklaces and bolos are featured. New by accessories designer Marcy Feld of New York are sterling silver collar tips that women put on blouse collar ends. Ms. Feld also does silver tie-bars for women's ties -- takeoffs of men's ties -- that are showing up as part of this year's trend toward man-styled dressing.
Uptown casual: Because there's a return to denim, uptown casual jewelry features denim earrings, bracelets and necklaces with pearl or rhinestone accents. It recalls, but looks a lot better than, the flimsy denim stuff of the late '70s. Denim button earrings are very hot. Cantrell Accessories in New York does dangly heart-shaped earrings of denim, trimmed in rhinestones. There are also hand-painted leather and denim necklaces and bracelets accented with silver. Some of the designers use Chanel-inspired chains strung with denim. Uptown Casual is basically denim dressed up with pearls and fine stones.