Editorial

Riding the Revival of the West, with Karina Brez

There is no better time to wear a horseshoe necklace than now. It won’t just be a lucky charm, but a timely fashion statement as luxury fashion and prestigious events across the nation lean fully into the western trend revival in the post-coachella haze. There are more than a few reasons why this trend is ageless and stronger than ever at the moment, making this the best time to wear the look and live the lifestyle.

 

At the culmination of the endless cycle of cores and aesthetics comes a search for the authentic, significant, and beautiful simplicity of an aesthetic that has been there all along. Post-pandemic fever has sent the trend cycles in fashion, music, and culture into tilt, but in recent years people’s desire for the return of authentic connection with country and nature has been spinning into the largest Western revival yet. It is also the perfect starter for a number of cultural conversations and a reflection on how far culture and aesthetics have come since the birth of pop culture in the 60s.

The current Western trend was kicked off by Beyoncé, who as per usual made the internet stop with the release of her album Renaissance in 2022. The idea was a complete upheaval of her character in the first of a three-part album series which would blend genres, incorporating dancehall and disco with traditional country themes and make a statement about black culture and country music. The pop star then made an appearance at Pharrell’s Louis Vuitton Fall-Winter ‘24 show in Paris, in the designer’s second stint after his debut with the brand. It was all-out cowboy, complete with hats, raw denim, bell bottoms and horse-themed accessories in the brand’s well-known luxury style. By the time Beyoncé released the second installment in her trilogy, this year’s Cowboy Carter, the trend was in full swing, taking over the runway, seen all over TikTok, and taking up space in the editorial section of major newspapers as it brought up cultural debates. The New York Times declared that ‘Beyoncé has finally changed fashion’.

She isn’t the only musical artist to embrace the aesthetic, though. Country music has been rising steadily on the charts since 2020, and is poised to be the most popular genre in the country soon. For the next album after his widely acclaimed Un Verano Sin Ti success Puerto Rican artist Bad Bunny started incorporating Western themes, showing up to events in a cowboy hat and weaving it into the artistic narrative about how he explored his life after such widespread fame, and came back into contact with the things that mattered, among them nature. His ex-girlfriend Kendall Jenner has been on the trend for even longer, incorporating it into her daily aesthetic and releasing her own brand of tequila with classic Americana marketing at its core. Other models have embraced it too, such as Bella Hadid, who is one of the biggest horse girls we know. She is often seen at rodeos, and is outspoken about her passion for riding horses and the great outdoors. 

All of this has fueled the rise of the ‘coastal cowgirl’ trend, which made its rounds on TikTok early this year with support from celebrity moments like Taylor Swift’s eras tour, where she constantly referenced her Nashville roots. Cowboy boots are the latest must-have accessory and were seen everywhere at this year’s Coachella festival, which has always been known for its big Western influence. 

This is what jewelry artist Karina Brez’s brand has always been about, which is what makes it the perfect accessory to any look referencing these themes of the moment. She created her brand with the goal of embodying the spirit of the Wild West, and recognized the timelessness of its design language. The horse bit charm, for instance, has become a staple of a myriad luxury brands, notably Gucci, which incorporated it into its iconic loafers in the 60s and became a symbol of Beverly Hills opulence. Karina Brez’s horsebit Bit of LUV necklace from the Cowgirl LUV collection calls to the same iconography, featuring 18k gold and diamonds. Western design has always been about creating embellishments and symbolism out of something originally utilitarian, like the horseshoe, which is thought to bring luck. Karina Brez’s Lucky Horseshoe collection is a multi-colored reference to this, with a number of opulent lucky gems, coming in a variety of 18K gold colors and gemstone combinations. We especially love her unicorn horseshoe necklace, which dazzles with its assortment of colors. This is what the Western revival aims to prove – that country ought to be a celebration of pride and love which takes its visual manifestation through color and iconic symbols. It is a reminder to embrace the beauty of a natural lifestyle. 

One of the staples of her brand is the Jeweled Barn, which brings her pieces on the road in the form of a carbon-neutral “mobile store front,” which was inspired by the equestrian lifestyle, both rustic and refined. The luxury jewelry boutique was carefully designed by Movable Roots, which specializes in tiny home building, with the purpose of reflecting the brand’s values at shows and for customers of different regions to access the collection. The barn is fully solar-powered and is at horse shows in Upperville and Traverse City this year.

For people more interested in horse motifs particularly, just as rodeos are having their big moment, look no further than the Huggable Hooves collection. It’s a subtle and elegant nod to the noble creature, and a sterling example of Karina Brez’s stellar craftsmanship, with details such as horse hooves being skillfully sculpted at a small scale. The statement pieces of the collection are covered in pave diamonds, set in the 18K gold option of your choice. It allows the horse to hug you back. All of her artistic choices are made with intent, based on the topography and culture of the country she so admires. For instance, the pieces from the staple Cowgirl LUV collection, has rings honoring the majestic Sierra Nevada, the towering Denali, and the legendary Mount Whitney, and are crafted in stackable styles that encapsulate the essence of those monumental peaks. The collection aims to reflect the resilience, strength, and untamed beauty of these lands and the people that inhabit them. These are the same themes that have made this trend so popular in the country revival, and what explains why it is not simply a passing fad, but an ageless reference to the roots of Western culture and everything that comes with it. 

About Karina Brez

A first-generation Ukrainian-American, Karina Brez earned the title of Miss Florida USA in 2012, and was inspired to design a jewelry collection after fellow contestants were impressed by the design she created for her own pageant dress. A horse enthusiast with a passion for gemstones, Brez completed the GIA Graduate Gemologist program, is an appraiser, and advocates for non-profits introducing children to the healing power of horses. Her signature fine jewelry collections are Huggable Hooves®™, Horse LUV®™, Bit of LUV®™, Lucky Horseshoe, Horsea®, The Garden Collection, and Cowgirl LUV™. In 2020, Karina Brez was voted one of the top three Equestrian jewelers by Equestrian Living Magazine. She opened a retail flagship in Palm Beach, Florida in 2021, and is available in retailers throughout the USA.

Learn more about the brand at https://karinabrez.com/.

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