Google rhinestones for clothing and you’re likely to bring up results showing many retailers selling rhinestone-studded garments. Some of these dresses are vintage, often decades old. While past designers loved embellishing with rhinestones. you may be wondering if this fashion is still trendy.
Use of Rhinestones for Clothing - 1900s - 1930
Georg Friedrich Strass, who worked as a jeweler in Paris, created the first manufactured rhinestone in 1760. However, it wasn’t until about the 1900s that designers began to use them on clothing. At this time, designers began creating garments that were more self-expressive. Prior to that, craftsmen primarily used rhinestones for jewelry.
Two French designers, Paul Poiret and Coco Chanel, led the way in creating highly adorned dresses. Their influence reached across the Atlantic to America. Fashionable women in the 1920s wore dresses highly decorated with rhinestones, beads, and/or sequins.
As fashion continued into the 30s and 40s, the lines between art and fashion blurred. Another designer, Elsa Schiaparelli, rose to fame with her visionary style. Over the years, Elsa’s love of flamboyant style often included ornate rhinestone designs.
In addition to embellishing clothing with rhinestones, designers created jewelry to match their collections. One designer, Christian Dior, helped create a new rhinestone color for pieces to accentuate his new vision. He collaborated with the rhinestone manufacturer Swarovski to create the aurora borealis or AB rhinestone.
The Later Decades
In the 1950s, a Russian-born immigrant, Nutya Kotlyrenko, opened a tailor shop in North Hollywood. One of his first clients was singing sensation Lefty Frizzel. Nudie Cohn, as he became known, thought Frizzel would look great in an outfit with rhinestones. Soon other country singers began wearing rhinestone-encrusted designs by Cohn.
While country singers sparkled at the Grand Ole Opry House, other fashion innovators created historic pieces. An unknown Bob Mackie created the sketch for Marylyn Monroe’s iconic “Happy Birthday” dress in 1960. Moreover, later on, Bill Belew created bejeweled jumpsuits that became Elvis’ trademark stage wear.
Rhinestones in Fashion Today
Today’s top fashion designers continue to incorporate rhinestones into their creations. You’ll find famous makers Prada, Ralph Lauren, and Calvin Klein clothing embellished with sparkling crystal. Designers continue to use rhinestones for several reasons.
Manufacturers create rhinestones in a stunning variety of colors. For example, Preciosa creates over 100 hues including standard colors, neon, and AB. Plus, you can choose sizes from tiny 5ss (1.8 mm) to large 48ss (11.11 mm).
2. Eye-Catching Light Reflection
Similar to the real gemstones they seek to imitate, rhinestones reflect and refract light. Some light bounces off the facets while some light enters the rhinestone, bends, and reflects off the foil backing. This play of light is attractive and eye-catching.
4. Adds Glamour
Trendy fashion designers understand the allure of rhinestones. Gowns, dresses, shoes, or accessories embellished with rhinestones add a touch of glamor.
5. Ability to Transform from Ordinary into Magical
Of course, rhinestones can turn any dress into a flash of vibrant color. However, rhinestones can also make ordinary objects stunning. For example, sunglasses adorned with rhinestones transform from plain to magical.
FAQs About Rhinestones For Clothing
While rhinestone clothing is beautiful it can be quite expensive. However, you can DIY many items to create your own style. Below, we answer some of your most commonly asked questions about rhinestones.
What’s The Best Way to Attach Rhinestones to Fabric?
Depending on your project, you can use one of 4 methods to attach rhinestones:
What Type of Rhinestone Should I Buy?
Today, you’ll find many different types of rhinestones including acrylic, glass, and crystal. Moreover, you’ll find varying quality between manufacturers. Typically, the look you’re trying to achieve and your budget will help determine your best option.
Where Can I Buy Rhinestones for Clothing?
Since 2011, Rhinestones Etc. has been selling quality embellishments. We ship quickly, have great customer service, and competitive prices. Plus, we have a huge inventory of Preciosa Maxima Rhinestones, the premier name in crystal embellishments.
When you want to sparkle at your next event, let us help you feel beautiful.
I have been adding bling for over 20 years. Through my projects, I hope you find inspiration.