Hey…wait a minute there! What is going on? We have just gotten out of the big Paris couture shows for Spring into Fall 2009, filled with super-sized jewelry and immense handbags. Then we’re into Premiere Classe, the also-big accessories fashion exposition in the City of Light and guess what? We’re handed a whole new look for fashion, one that is radically different from everything we’ve been living with in recent seasons.
Now, says Premiere Classe, embellishment is out. Glitz is out. Big is out. Ostentation is out. Candy colors with zing and shimmer are out. The new look is quieter, simpler, more refined, less in-your-face loud. It’s like Boston in place of LA. Old South in place of New South. Well, what are we to believe?
A New Look
THE NEW LOOK, according to the latest Premiere Class show, is quieter, more sober, with emphasis more on material than on decoration. In handbags, that translates to smooth, clean lines, dramatically less hardware, rich leathers, some exotic, some tooled, but mostly minus the “I cost a lot of money” additions we’ve gotten used to recently. In the color arena, the peppy “pop” colors like green and blue are being bypassed in favor of more sober shades of black, brown, tan, and grey.
Darren Mason, president of Andrews store in Canada, echoed what many retailers at the show felt, that the desire now is for affordable, sober luxury. Many talked about practicality, and the need for more reasonable price tags. Will it fly?
We don’t question the oracle stature of Premiere Classe in predicting what is uptrending in the accessories field. Nor can we argue that traditionally, the market has moved toward more serious, less flippant and fun fashion when times, like now, have been financially difficult.
The Rebels Hang In There
–But, hey…Lanvin is showing a fantastic super-big necklace with a double layered pendant filled with multi-colored stones and hanging from a green ribbon which, in turn, hangs from a gold-tone link chain. Price tag: $1,358.
Dolce & Gabbana is showing a necklace made up of a heavy, rich, black and white pearl strings wound around a huge cluster of golden chains and links and who knows what…with a big black stone pendant hanging off the choker while it, too, has another pendant, this a large white tear drop surrounded by crystals, hanging from it. Some of the newest designer necklaces, practically all of them costume jewelry, are sporting price tags in 4 and 5 figures. Wow!
Louis Vuitton is blatantly showing huge bags, and super-shiny clutches, with gold foil belts and super-multiple bracelets that are so big they circle and stand out from the wrist by a good six inches around! Bottega Veneta, Dior, Gucci…it is all the same story. Big designs. Big price tags. Bling. Bling. Bling.
It’s hard to see any design economy here! So, what are we to think?
We point to people like Nora Brennan, owner of Nora’s accessories store in Chicago, who said she was avoiding items that looked too conservative, especially in these times. But, maybe she isn’t quite embracing the Lanvin directive, either. We suggest:
1. Glitz and shine will continue to enliven the market, although probably on a slowly diminishing scale. Look for smaller logos, particularly. Expect jewelry to hold onto big sizes, especially as clothing itself scales down embellishment. Enjoy a revival of rich, aristocratic looking styles, more “polo club” looking. Note mixes; i.e., embellished clothing with simpler accessories, or clean, tailored clothing with some shine or glam in statement accessories. And look for costume jewelry in place of fine jewelry in many instances. Well, even at these new prices, $2,000 is better than $20,000!
2. The new look coming in will change the market, but not overnight. Watch for the next Paris couture shows to see the difference. Don’t consider the change only in terms of elimination. The look coming in has a character all its own. It is more “individualistic,” less dependent on fashion dictates “Fashion is moving more and more toward independent styles, we can see it on the street,” a Belgian accessories dealer said. “Individuation” Psychologist Carl Jung would have loved it! .
In the meantime, try adding these to your product mix for a really fresh look this season:
- Frosted satin lavender necklace of gentle faux pearls interspersed with wine-colored spacers. Not too big, not too small, this piece is beautifully updated, while still expressing a Grace Kelly elegance.
- A stunning closeout fashion ring in heavy gold electroplate featuring a gorgeous emerald cut Montana sapphire crystal. Impressive!
- A Southwest-style silver plated cuff bracelet that separates into three bands: Intricate chain work outside borders a two-tone silver/gold plated flat band in the center. A very NOW take on the popular cuff!