It starts with a simple circle; drawn in brilliant cobalt blue, following with inner circles of white, turquoise and black. It’s the evil eye, easily one of the most recognisable pieces of jewellery that can be found in abundance across Greece, Asia and the Middle East.
Once regarded as a charm that protects its wearer from the threat of external evil forces (or, depending on who you ask, is sometimes believed to bring evil upon the receiver), the evil eye is enjoying somewhat of a renaissance once again in fashion, jewellery and lifestyle design.
Perhaps the comeback of the eye owes its success in part to the rising interest millennial spenders have in all things spiritual. After all, the evil eye isn’t the first of its kind to be co-opted by young shoppers looking to imbue their purchases with something novel and unexpected. Other shopping trends that derive its roots from ancient beliefs and superstitions include crystals, horoscope-related iconography and the resurgence of Wiccan-related products.
But out of these aforementioned trends, the evil eye is perhaps the easiest to incorporate into modern designs because its simplicity and strikingly recognisable lines offer a myriad of options to experiment with.
Fashion, for one, has been quick to jump onto this trend. Taking plenty of artistic liberties with the evil eye, present-day interpretations include bucking the usual circular shape in favour of a more obvious eye-shaped icon. There’s also the addition of eyelashes, various colours outside of the original blues and the occasional use of other spiritual icons — such as stars or zodiac signs — combined with the eye.
Take Kenzo, for example. The usage of the eye has always been a recurring design element for the fashion house, and the FW19 season of bags are not spared as the eye is placed front and centre as a buckle. Even Gucci has this trend in their peripheral, with the eye icon appearing on several homeware items that range from candles to trinket trays and flower vases.
Jewellery design has also greatly benefitted from the use of the evil eye, with young contemporary jewellery designs such as Sydney Evan, Delfina Delettrez and Ileana Makri all creating their own version of evil eye jewellery. Just this FW19 season, Atelier Swarovski has also teamed up with Greek designer Themis Z, creating a collection of evil eye-inspired jewellery that references the ancient symbol in a way that appears less literal.
Whether it’s a blink-and-you’ll-miss-it trend or one that is here to stay for the seasons ahead remains undecided, but the certainty that everyone can see is this: the evil eye is having a moment again.