SHOW BUSINESS IS BIG BUSINESS FOR ACCESSORIES! Celebrities, celebrities. Where would the fashion and accessories world be without them? As David Popenoe, researcher and author at Rutgers University, says, “Celebrities have become role models. They are far more influential today than ever.” USA Today points out that when Blake Lively dons a new headband, she can set off a virtual race to the cash register. The newspaper says it shows how retailers can capitalize on trends in popular culture.
EXPERTS AGREE: Latch onto what you see celebrities wearing. Or promoting. London sensation designer Henry Holland is hot on rock star handbags made in blinding patent leather brights like hot pink, brazen blue, and red. Check out bags with plenty of outside pockets, buckles, and shoulder straps, too. Another hot look in the patent field: small and dainty handle bags in yellow, red, and a slice of lime. Very girlie. Oh, my…. And for lots of fun on the circuit, try cartoon-y sunglasses, very big, red and black. Hey, Superman is a celebrity, too, you know.
MORE TRENDS: Not that long ago, trend spotting was done a year or more in advance, leading to a lot of guess work. But today, thanks to new computer systems and hardware, months have been shaved off what university-wear retailer Steve & Barry’s calls “concept to cash.” Quicker turns mean quicker money. Stores can see what is selling best, in what colors and at what price levels, making them much more competitive. “If you want to be more productive, you have to turn merchandise faster,” claims retail analyst Jennifer Black of Jennifer Black and Associates. That’s especially true if you want to attract trend-conscious young shoppers.
THE JEWELRY FACTOR: Jewelry is by far the hottest item in the celebrity-worship field. Gemstones and beads lead the field, as does the look of super-rich, no matter what the price. Right now, beads are a phenomenal field, in all sizes and in styles rarely thought-of in the past. Like fabric covered beads. Or crystal studded beads. Or animal print patterns. Or agate slices on silk. Big beads!
Many of the hottest jewelry pieces are necklaces, long, multi-strand, moving. But bracelets are hot, too. Like gilded pieces with a gold feather design by Mexican-born designer Gabriela Artigas, who says her jewelry is inspired by Jesus and Mary Chain’s music. To get the feel of this arena, think black chain and pearl necklaces, and sweetheart bracelets, all with a touch of Hispanic innocence.
–One big reason all these accessories are selling so well is that young people are far more interested in fashion today than ever before. They are incredibly influenced by what they see on TV and what celebrities are wearing. “Celebrity inspired fashion has definitely been amped up,” says Gossip Girl costume designer Eric Daman. There’s even talk at stores like Barney’s of displaying clothes in a way that helps shoppers get the Serena or Blair look. Daman says the girls have become like labels. “It’s almost kind of crazy to see how great the reaction is to it.”
— HOT STATISTICS: Consider this: Penney will carry more of the color pink because of how important the color is in the new movie Sex and the City. It will also beef up its selection of such hot celebrity items as aviator glasses, and ombre prints. Pink? Ummmm. Think pink handbags, pink watches, pink pearls and pink gemstones. This is not yesterday’s pink, by the way. Sometimes it is hot. Sometimes it is muted. But it is never saccharine, always 21st Century Plus.
ADD-ON: The celebrity impact isn’t just on kids. While young shoppers might want a purse that looks like the one Miley Cirus has, more mature shoppers are looking for items they see older celebrities sporting. It crosses the ages, says Los Angeles retailer Jaye Hersh, whose boutique is a hotspot for Desperate Housewives fans. “If women can buy something a celebrity is wearing,” she says, “they can pretend they have a piece of some shiny life and feel theirs is a little more exciting.”