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Sun, Jan 27, 2013
The Straits Times
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Friendship bands for adults
by Rohaizatul Azhar

They were once the mark of adolescent friendships sealed during sleepovers and school camps. Often handmade, these bands of brightly coloured threads weaved in various patterns and styles have been favoured by kids and teens since the 1970s.

These days, friendship bracelets are sophisticated fashion accessories which no longer have to be given to your best friends. They have grown up and are all blinged up.

French-Canadian jewellery designer Sophie Pendleton, for instance, weaves coloured linen and macrame threads with diamonds and precious gemstones. Then there is Vietnamese-American accessories designer Chan Luu, whose interpretations of the mature friendship band come in a mix of leather, rhodium-plated beads and diamonds.

Popularised by celebrities, such as Nicole Richie, Vanessa Hudgens and Sienna Miller, friendship bracelets became part of the boho-luxe trend in 2008.

Says Ms Pendleton, founder of Perlota Fine Jewellery: "Friendship bracelets for adults are simpler in design and look more sophisticated. Most are still made in the same knotcraft way using macrame thread, but they have been updated with the addition of gold tags and precious stones."

The 44-year-old designer is known for delicate pieces inspired by her travels around the world. Last year, she opened her first South-east Asian store in Singapore at 1 Nassim Road.

The embellishments mean these adult versions do not come cheap. A simple macrame band with a 0.78 carat black or champagne-coloured

diamond from Perlota Fine Jewellery will set you back $1,990; while the Chan Luu pieces, available at www.net-a-porter.com, start from £120 (S$240) for a leather band with black and silver onyx stones.

There are affordable alternatives too, such as the colourful lace bracelets from Cruciani, an Italian accessories label, which start from S$20.

One fan of the trend is Ms Shabnam Melwani-Reis. The director of Watches Of Switzerland and the Jay Gee Melwani Group says: "Friendship bracelets have been reinvented with gemstones and the use of precious materials. These pieces then become a sort of style statement that shows off your identity."

Last month, the mother of two launched her line of chic bracelets called SunMoonRain. Sold exclusively at Pact in Orchard Central, prices start from S$99 for simple designs using semi-precious stones, such as rose quartz and turquoise, to about S$1,100 for limited-edition ones which are adorned with diamonds.

But how do you wear these bracelets without looking like you are stuck in your childhood?

Ms Pendleton suggests choosing simpler designs which would look good even on their own.

"You can stack the colourful pieces together to create a statement, but if you want something elegant and sophisticated, go for those which are understated in design but have a touch of bling," she says.

CHECK OUT: JEWEL ROCKS

Founded in 2006 by Indonesian Imelda Widjaja, this Bali-based accessories design house specialises in multi-coloured bracelets made with silver, gold, crystals, semi-precious stones and wood.

The brand keeps operations in-house and employs women from nearby towns and villages to create pieces which display skilled weaving techniques and craftsmanship.

In Singapore, Jewel Rocks is available at multi-label lifestyle store Wood Would at 03-03 The Cathay. Prices range from S$20 for a simple thread bracelet with a silver pendant to about S$150 for a silk knot bracelet with semi-precious stones.

JUST BUDDIES

$20 each, by Cruciani, from Manicurious, 41 Beach Road

 

$30, by Jewel Rocks, from Wood Would, 03-03 The Cathay

 

$19.90, from Topshop, 01-05 Knightsbridge

 

$49 each, by Ettika, from Quintessential, 02-01 Pacific Plaza

 

$49 each, by Ettika, from Quintessential, 02-01 Pacific Plaza



 

CHECK OUT: ETTIKA

This Los Angeles-based label is known for its neon-coloured friendship bracelets made from silk cords and threaded with rhinestones as well as crystals.

Designed by sisters Ettie and Joey Rafaeli, the bracelets have been spotted on the wrists of Hollywood denizens Eva Longoria, Halle Berry, Jessica Alba and Gwen Stefani.

Made mostly for women, with a small selection for men, the label is stocked here at Quintessential, 02-01 Pacific Plaza.

Prices range from $49 for a silk cord bracelet to $99 for a large silk cord with crystals.

   
   
   
   
   


CHECK OUT: MONO & ME

Launched in 2010 by Swedish designer Camilla Brindfors, Mono & Me specialises in macrame bracelets inspired by traditional rosaries.

Popular with celebrities such as Kanye West and Erin Wasson, the bracelets, which showcase sleek Scandinavian design aesthetics and impeccable craftsmanship, are stocked in hip multi-label stores Colette in Paris, Browns Focus in London and Wink in New York.

Here, the brand is available at multi-label lifestyle boutique Maison Ikkoku at 20 Kandahar Street.

Prices range from S$30 for a hand-dyed nylon bracelet to S$200 for a hand-dyed nylon and cotton bracelet with gold beads. CHECK OUT: CRUCIANI BRACELETS

CHECK OUT: CRUCIANI BRACELETS

When they were launched in 2011, Cruciani's original bracelets, which feature four-leaf clover designs for luck, saw people lining up for 60 days outside its boutique in Forte dei Marmi in Tuscany, Italy.

Since then, the brand has expanded its portfolio to include other designs, such as heart and animal shapes. It has sold more than seven million pieces worldwide.

Cruciani is known for coloured bracelets made from macrame lace fabric. Macrame is a type of weaving technique for textiles which uses knotting to create a specific square pattern.

The label is a favourite of burlesque star Dita von Teese, actress Michelle Rodriguez, top model Bar Rafaeli and even YouTube sensation Psy.

The bracelets are available in unisex designs for men, women as well as children at Bruno Gallery, 01-03 Tanglin Place.

Prices range from S$20 for a Four-Leaf bracelet to S$40 for a large Snake lace bracelet.

rohai@sph.com.sg


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