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Archive for December, 2010...

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No matter how early your customers may have started shopping many will still have a couple of gifts yet to buy come Christmas Eve.  Others have yet to buy gifts to give on New Year’s, to relatives and friends joining them in dinners and parties to greet 2011.  The easier you can make choosing the right holiday gift this late in time, the more your customers will appreciate it!  We’ve gathered a number of gift possibilities for you to consider.  Pull them together in a special store display that is guaranteed to pull in customers.

TIARAS:  Got a little girl on your yet-to-buy for list?  You don’t have to settle for just anything!  Nothing thrills a little princess more than the sign of royalty that she can wear all year long, from holiday happenings right now through spring dressups and summer garden parties.  Pick a small tiara with rhinestones and you can be sure she will be ecstatic! Don’t forget your teenager, here, either.  Tiaras are a wonderful gift for proms and dances of all sorts, not to mention birthdays!

PEARLS:  The classic gift of the centuries is as popular and trendy right now as ever!  Choose a lovely pearl necklace, or opt for pearl earrings or even a pearl bracelet.  Either way, you can pick a traditional design or go for some of the more modern styles to fit your recipient. Pearls are an excellent choice for women of all ages, from teenagers through to grandmas. This is a gift that doesn’t require work:  You don’t even need to know what size to buy.

HOOP EARRINGS:  You might have guessed this one!  The popularity of hoop earrings just keeps going on and on.  Choose the size you like best, or surround yourself with an entire wardrobe of various hoop styles.  Kim Kardashian looks terrific in great big hoop earrings, and loves to be seen in them. So do many celebrities; in fact, hoops might be called the “celebrity earring of the year”.

YOU CAN ADD CELEBRITY STATUS TO YOUR PRODUCT COLLECTION.  LOOK HERE FOR SOME GREAT EXAMPLES:

 

 

PENDANTS:   This is a beautiful jewelry gift that’ll last and last.  At the same time, it is incredibly trendy.  Pendants can be worn dangling on gold or silver chains or elegantly positioned on cords.  You can choose from vintage styles to modern architectural designs, with or without gemstone enhancements.  Pop star Britney Spears wears a bold turquoise pendant frequently.  It is flattering and fabulous!

SAFARI STYLE BRACELETS: Looking like something right out of Africa, these fascinating bangles pick up on the hot fashion story for spring by bringing a touch of this often mysterious continent into clear focus.  There are myriad styles to choose: primitive wooden or metal bangles, bangles printed with wild animal designs and stripes, creative material mix bangles with a handmade appearance.  This is a great gift for the fashionista on anybody’s list.  The bangles are sophisticated, young, and very IN.   

TIES:  “Oh, no!”  You might exclaim.  Not that old bromide.  But we aren’t talking about everyday ties here.  Choose some adventuresome ties with exciting patterns and themes.  The kind of tie that is anything but commonplace, one that will surely bring a smile to your recipient’s lips.  A tie that tells a story about golf or football or any of a dozen or one other sports  is always a great idea.  Or, how about an Americana tie he can wear on national holidays the rest of the year?  

BOWS AND BUTTERFLIES:  Which is more popular this year?  You can entice your customers with both!  Just pick out some interesting bow or butterfly brooches and then sit back and relax.  You know they are going to sell.  Bows have been all over the fashion runways this year, and one more only adds to the story.  As for butterflies, designers have chosen a bevy of prints, many of them in charming oriental-inspired gossamer fabrics, to enhance their fashion shows this year. But it is in jewelry that  butterflies show off to their greatest three-dimensional advantage.    

PET SURPRISE!  Well, we can’t forget Fido, can we?  And this will remind your customers that they shouldn’t forget him either!  There are all sorts of gifts just right for the dogs and kittens in your life, from outfits to keep them warm in winter to squeak toys and new collars and leashes. The amazing thing is that all you have to do is take a toy out of its box and wow! Your pet will immediately know it is for him.  How do they do that, anyway?

GIFTS AT THE 11TH HOUR CAN STILL BE WONDERFUL.  HERE ARE SOME TO PLEASE AND DELIGHT:

 

Comments (0) Posted by Mary McGarry on Friday, December 31st, 2010

Filed under Christmas Jewelry
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  IT’S CHRISTMASTIME and the retail world is ablaze with holiday windows to lure and thrill customers across the country. This year, themes run from tradition and nostalgia to high tech and international concepts.  One is better than the other, so let’s take a quick tour of some of the more extraordinary of the crop:

 

Remember the great Christmas phrase, “Yes, Virginia, there is a Santa Claus” written in 1897 in a letter from the editor of the New York Sun newspaper to a little girl, Virginia, who wrote to the paper expressing her doubts about Santa’s existence? 

Well, that wonderful real-life Christmas tale is recreated by Macy’s in its Herald Square store windows, complete with theatrical and high tech techniques, synchronized lighting, sound, animated movements and even LCD screens.    

   –Anybody who has ever seen Macy’s Christmas windows (you pick the year…any one) knows they just don’t get better than this, and the 2010 offerings are as good as any.  It’s all wonder and magic and delight after delight for children and grownups alike! 

 

                                     Christmas, Japanese Style

JUMPING ACROSS THE GLOBE to Tokyo, we find the Japanese department store Mitsukoshi interpreting “The Nutcracker” in its exquisite, Asian-inspired holiday windows.  Japan is primarily Shinto, with a little Buddhism added, but the country has long had a love affair with Christianity’s season of light, celebrating Christmas with lights and retail windows of the most remarkable kind.

    The retail chain’s Nihonbashi district store features scenes from the classic Nutcracker tale, while the Ginza store blends traditional and modern techniques into a fabulous presentation with lights shaped like bubbles. 

    –Shadow puppets appear in the shape of rabbits, reindeer, wolves, doves, and other animals, while the Nutcracker’s main character, Clara, is seen in various vignettes, including dreaming about a prince, and sitting on top of a merry-go-round horse surrounded by the world’s most fantastical toys.

 

GIFTS FOR CHILDREN ARE AMONG THE WONDERFUL THINGS CHRISTMAS BRING US.  HERE ARE SOME LOVELY CHOICES MADE FOR THE SEASON:

 

  • Angel children’s jewelry.

 

                                             Fields of Snow

 

NEW YORK’S BLOOMINGDALE’S has turned its windows into an electronic wonderland to express a “Happy, Merry, Peace, and Love” theme.  Close to 100 digital screens brilliantly arranged in a mosaic give visions of winter wonderland landscapes filled with falling snow.  

   –Here is the icy North, with its huge pine and fir trees all outfitted in white for the holidays and transforming the city’s fast-paced Lexington Avenue into a splendorous white Christmas mirage.  It’s techno-spectacular!

 

Not far from Bloomies, over on Fifth Avenue, is the elite Bergdorf Goodman, in love with travel of the galaxy-kind this year.  A trip to the moon window was inspired by a 1902 film by the famed Georges Melies, director of the first science fiction movie.

   –World travelers, vintage luggage, and elegantly dressed mannequins on top of Pegasus are just the beginning of the extravaganza.  There are cherubs, hot air balloons, model boats, antique diving masks and nautical stripes.

    –Set to a “Wish You Were Here” tempo, these windows are so brilliantly expressive of Christmas, with all its lavish embellishments and extravaganza, they just have to be seen!

 

                                         Ah, the French!

 

NOT TO BE OUTDONE by the rest of the world, Paris clocks in early, where The Good Life is the main theme of opulent window displays inspired by the grandeur of France’s chateaux.  Puppets designed by fashion designer Alber Elbaz wear miniature versions of his haute couture tuxedos and gowns…making these windows gloriously appropriate for the fashion capital of the world.

All over the globe, Christmas is in full swing. Store windows are showing off the creativity, whimsy and wonder of the retailing world.  Salvation Army carolers still stand on street corners, collecting for the needy, and reminding everyone of the blessedness of giving. Chestnuts continue to roast on city avenues.  And shoppers scurry here and there, looking, smiling, choosing, buying, and – even in the usually impersonal New York and Paris – wishing one and all a Merry Christmas.

Yes, Virginia, it’s that glorious time of year!

GIFTS, GIFTS, GIFTS!  HERE ARE SOME TO MAKE ANYONE SMILE:

 

Comments (0) Posted by Mary McGarry on Wednesday, December 29th, 2010

Filed under Rhinestone Jewelry
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The sparkle of rhinestone jewelry seems so traditional as accessories for a line up of events that starts with New Year’s Eve and continues until Mother’s Day.  The glamorous jewelry we think of with the mention of rhinestone has chain-like strands of flexible settings and each setting has a prong set crystal.  Everything from simple one-line chokers to lavish bib and cascading sets appear to add shimmer to formal events that dot the calendar from now to May. 

Everyone feels this traditional look in rhinestone jewelry has been with us forever.  The surprise is anyone that glances through a vintage jewelry book will not see designs made from rhinestone chain before the 1940s.  Why?  Because the machine that made rhinestone chain was invented in Providence, Rhode Island in the mid 40s and with metals rationed during World War II, the lavish designs first made their debut after the War.  

Everything called rhinestone jewelry that pre-dates the War is designs with hand set crystals.  And these were also extravagant—produced by the top names in costume jewelry.  In fact, these exquisite works of art ushered in The Golden Age of Costume Jewelry with rich designs that would take your breath at a time least expected, The Great Depression. 

 

Now back to today and thrill of rhinestone jewelry that will accessorize everything from New Year’s Eve to Mardi Gras balls, dance competition, proms, pageant, and bridal.  What imagination artists need to come up with fresh designs year after year using rhinestone chain.  This is the chain that comes out of the machine with stones already set and goes on spools.  Manufacturers buy the spools of rhinestone chain to create jewelry.    

Each season sees new works of art that capture attention in both lavish sets for balls and New Years Eve as well as classic simplicity for proms and bridal.  This season is no exception with bibs and cascades dominating lavish looks in rhinestone jewelry.  Rows of cascades shimmer with motion and this year soldering adds a curving dimension to cascades with flowing free movement below.  Clear rhinestones in silver tone settings deliver maximum brilliance, making this combination the perennial favorite.

  

In a season with bracelets making such a splash, rhinestone bracelets are important.  Each event benefits from the sparkle on the wrist and this jewelry also makes great bridesmaid gifts.  Dramatic jewelry is definitely in so don’t be shy about size.  

A gown’s design does not always accommodate a necklace.  This opens the door for a sparkling statement with rhinestone earrings.  Trends provide a variety of choices and variety is what you need in your showcase to flatter different hair dos and face shapes.  Both rhinestone and crystal earrings can add rich additions to your selection.  Pictured is a fabulous look with post earrings on the ear that have design you would expect in a coffee table book of royal jewels.  (This design is found under crystal earrings because the stones are individually set as opposed to the cascading earrings below that are made with rhinestone chain and are under rhinestone earrings.)  The crystal post earrings are perfect for up-dos and long or triangular face shapes.  

Helping customers pick the right rhinestone earrings that will flatter them is a nice added service that will keep them coming back.   A good resource for matching earrings to face shapes can be found at Your Face Shape and Earrings.  Locate more helpful information under Choosing the Right Earrings for your Hair Style

The events over the next four months make rhinestone jewelry an important part of your fashion jewelry selection.  Couple a nice selection with helpful information on the right design for elegance that will flatter your customer and you will build a long-term client that can count on you for accessorizing every formal occasion.

Comments (0) Posted by admin on Tuesday, December 28th, 2010

Filed under Fashion Trends
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  IF YOU FORGET ABOUT ALMOST EVERYTHING ELSE IN THE TREND department and just concentrate on color, you’ll still be leading the fashion world as it moves into Spring 2011.  Color this spring is everything.  But…it is not just ordinary color, or plain color, or boring color (if there is such a thing). The colors emerging for 2011 are fabulous, bright, bold, intense, even fire-y, skipping across the globe,  mixing cultures and reflecting the sun’s light plays in the most enticing and entrancing ways possible.

Think about a red palette.  Real red, and not-exactly reds. Red with orange, red with hot pink, red with purple.  Oh!  These new color combinations are electric! The first country that comes to mind is Tibet, with its vivid oranges, pinks, purples, golds and greens set in one against the other, a Buddhist monk’s expression of spiritual joy and well being!

Lots of this story takes its essence from the 70s when the move toward Eastern spirituality was raging. Very global!  Go Tibetan for Spring and you’ll be amazed at your own color delight and sophistication.

YOU CAN ADD COLOR EXCITEMENT TO YOUR PRODUCT OFFERINGS FOR SPRING.  HERE ARE SOME TERRIFIC IDEAS:

 

 

                                     Color Intensity

OF COURSE, RED ISN’T   the only color story playing out on the fashion field.   Blue is a front runner here, too, in bold, bright, intense saturation.  Dior presents a fabulous blouse in just the right shade of blue, reminiscent to some extent of the vibrant fashion blue of the early fifties.  An almost perfect match for the Dior blouse is a really neat clutch bag in afternoon blue from Reed Krakoff. 

Green is another hot color for Spring.  Think about a wonderful green croc bag with gold hardware and shoulder chain from Etro.  Showing off its hot trendy status, it sells for a hefty $1,617.  

You can think of green as a total color story unto itself.  The hue we’re talking about is very much a late summer green, very lush, very deep, but still bright and assertive.  Gucci works wonders with the color in a tight pair of satin-y pants, paired with a purple top, gold metallic belt and orange over blouse.  Wild?  More like fantastic!  High in the frigid, snow-laden Himalayan Mountains of Tibet, these colors are all warming, even thrilling visions of spring blossoms.
 
 
 
 
 

 

Many of the jewelry choices for Spring’s colorful look are gold, real or plated.   With the precious metal’s price going ever higher and higher, this is not an easy product to sell.  Still, design houses like Gucci have some great choices on the market, especially a wide gold cuff and twisted gold bangle bracelets. 

Look for the same idea in gold plate; some designers are working the plate over brass, which promises a much longer lifespan for the jewelry.  If a small area of gold wears off, you still have the brass color underneath, hiding the reality that this isn’t all real.  Late Spring also puts emphasis on yellow jewelry. Alexis Bittar offers some playful yellow bangles, just right for the season.        

                                                 Color Blocking

 

THE COMBINATION OF COLORS marks the look for Spring 2011. Color-blocked sportswear is especially important in casual dresses and pants pitted against tops and jackets, all expressing separate color identity. Check out Jill Sander’s designs for a perfect example of what we’re talking about! Prada also works the idea in an interesting way, with a T-shirt of color blocked stripes, green and blue on the upper half, blue and white below.  This is then worn with a red and blue striped skirt for eye-popping effect. 

Paired with all of this are some accessories that match, others that contrast, and still others that mix colors themselves, for a totally individualistic style.  Matthew Williamson for Bulgari has a charming little sexagonal-shaped bag in a splendid mix of red colors and patterns. 

Prada has a beautiful clutch evening bag in red satin; the designer uses it to rev up sportswear!  Proenza Schouler offers a medium-sized gold leather bag with wide orange shoulder strap.  And Coach is marketing a stunning shiny blue leather bag, medium sized, equally at home with British society or in South Beach revelry.

Color blocking, stripes, patterns, and all kinds of imaginative mixes:  That is the color direction for the warmer months.  Expect color to be important in the spring, more important in summer, and … bigger than ever for fall!  This is the trend of trends right now.

ADD MORE COLOR TO YOUR STORE WITH PLAYFUL PRODUCTS LIKE THESE:

 

Comments (0) Posted by Mary McGarry on Monday, December 27th, 2010

Filed under Fashion Accessory News
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CHRISTMAS IS ALMOST HERE AND THINGS are looking up for retailers and computer geeks alike.  On-line Christmas sales are up 12%, according to CNBC, and department store sales are up 14% over 2009 for the month of December.  To make things even better, 21 percent of Christmas retail sales reported represented jewelry according to the U.S. Census.  Is that great?  Let’s hope the direction continues!

   KARL LAGERFELD DAZZLES PARIS WITH BYZANTINE FASHION STORY

CELEBRATING CHRISTMAS AND New Year’s is easy when you concentrate on Karl Lagerfeld this year. The super-designer presented a glorious collection of outfits for Chanel’s pre-fall Métiers d’Art Collection, sending stunning models down the runway in clothes exquisitely rich in ornamentation. 

This was a spectacular Byzantine design story, in golden colors and dazzling crystal, sequins and beading.  What could be better for holiday dressing?  Beat the calendar and try bringing elements of the Lagerfeld elaboration into your present day look!

Lagerfeld’s colors for this collection were mostly gentle, quiet, even muted, all very pink, peach, gold and pale grey offset by black and some tans and browns.  Embroideries were rich and luxurious; materials were lavish, soft, and often transparent.  One exquisite evening dress featured Lurex lace at its very best and most flamboyant, set off by piles of long Chanel-like necklaces and rows and rows of bracelets, both cuffs and bangles. 

LOOK HERE FOR LAGERFELD-LIKE NECKLACE CHOICES AND CREATE A TOUCH OF YOUR OWN BYZANTINE MAJESTY:

 

 

                                                Medieval Splendor

‘IT’S ALL ABOUT MOSAICS!”   the designer said of the outfits.  Mosaics, indeed.  These dresses could have materialized out of a Vatican Museum tapestry collection, what with their artful symbols and regal medieval conceits. 

One long coat in highly embroidered transparent material featured gold braid down the front, balanced by gold scroll work on a black net background.  Fabulous!  Shown with it were black and gold slacks and a black top with muted skinny belt.  This was surely reminiscent of yesteryear’s French monarchy!  Lagerfeld added little beyond Louboutin-like slipper heels and a little black clutch bag. 

However, with almost all of the outfits lighting up the runway, necklaces played a key role.  To call them heavy would be an understatement.  Beaded necklaces, one on top of the other, dropping from medium length to the waist characterized most of the dress and slacks outfits. 

Many of the multi-strand necklaces were golden, beaded, and ebullient. Others were sparkling with gemstones and crystals.  Still others were white, pearl laden, very Chanel-esque.  When we say many, however, we aren’t kidding!  One outfit must have sported 20 strands of beads, maybe more and that was in no way the exception! 

                                    Jewelry Fantastic

 

ALSO BIG WITH LAGERFELD were bracelets.  They were invariably worn in multiples, on both wrists, sometimes stretching up toward the elbow.  And then there were headbands! Gracing high-piled hairdos, the headbands were metallic, golden, light-reflecting, and royal. 

Seen alone, all of this jewelry might seem excessive.  But in a strange and almost contradictory way, the heavy jewelry balanced out the rich and elaborate materials and designs of this collection, making for a remarkably lush yet sometimes actually serene total impression.  On one hand, the collection is remarkably luxurious, at the same time it takes its source mainly from 5th and 6th century church art work.

Lagerfeld admitted that he originally thought about showing the collection in Istanbul, since it is there that Byzantine art originally flourished along the banks of the Bosphorus, but instead the designer settled on an elegant Parisian setting that he magically transformed into a Turkish tearoom.  It was all fittingly Lagerfeld-dramatic!

 

 

YOU CAN FIND LAVISH JEWELRY TO FIT THE BYZANTINE MODE THIS NEW YEAR’S.  JUST LOOK HERE FOR HIGH DESIGN AT EXCELLENT PRICES:

 

Comments (0) Posted by Mary McGarry on Wednesday, December 22nd, 2010

Filed under Fashion Accessories
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No matter how early your customers may have started shopping many will still have a couple of gifts yet to buy come Christmas Eve.  Others have yet to buy gifts to give on New Year’s, to relatives and friends joining them in dinners and parties to greet 2011.  The easier you can make choosing the right holiday gift this late in time, the more your customers will appreciate it!  We’ve gathered a number of gift possibilities for you to consider.  Pull them together in a special store display that is guaranteed to pull in customers.

TIARAS:  Got a little girl on your yet-to-buy for list?  You don’t have to settle for just anything!  Nothing thrills a little princess more than the sign of royalty that she can wear all year long, from holiday happenings right now through spring dressups and summer garden parties.  Pick a small tiara with rhinestones and you can be sure she will be ecstatic! Don’t forget your teenager, here, either.  Tiaras are a wonderful gift for proms and dances of all sorts, not to mention birthdays!

PEARLS:  The classic gift of the centuries is as popular and trendy right now as ever!  Choose a lovely pearl necklace, or opt for pearl earrings or even a pearl bracelet.  Either way, you can pick a traditional design or go for some of the more modern styles to fit your recipient. Pearls are an excellent choice for women of all ages, from teenagers through to grandmas. This is a gift that doesn’t require work:  You don’t even need to know what size to buy.

HOOP EARRINGS:  You might have guessed this one!  The popularity of hoop earrings just keeps going on and on.  Choose the size you like best, or surround yourself with an entire wardrobe of various hoop styles.  Kim Kardashian looks terrific in great big hoop earrings, and loves to be seen in them. So do many celebrities; in fact, hoops might be called the “celebrity earring of the year”.

YOU CAN ADD CELEBRITY STATUS TO YOUR PRODUCT COLLECTION.  LOOK HERE FOR SOME GREAT EXAMPLES:

 

 

 

PENDANTS:   This is a beautiful jewelry gift that’ll last and last.  At the same time, it is incredibly trendy.  Pendants can be worn dangling on gold or silver chains or elegantly positioned on cords.  You can choose from vintage styles to modern architectural designs, with or without gemstone enhancements.  Pop star Britney Spears wears a bold turquoise pendant frequently.  It is flattering and fabulous!

SAFARI STYLE BRACELETS: Looking like something right out of Africa, these fascinating bangles pick up on the hot fashion story for spring by bringing a touch of this often mysterious continent into clear focus.  There are myriad styles to choose: primitive wooden or metal bangles, bangles printed with wild animal designs and stripes, creative material mix bangles with a handmade appearance.  This is a great gift for the fashionista on anybody’s list.  The bangles are sophisticated, young, and very IN.   

TIES:  “Oh, no!”  You might exclaim.  Not that old bromide.  But we aren’t talking about everyday ties here.  Choose some adventuresome ties with exciting patterns and themes.  The kind of tie that is anything but commonplace, one that will surely bring a smile to your recipient’s lips.  A tie that tells a story about golf or football or any of a dozen or one other sports is always a great idea.  Or, how about an Americana tie he can wear on national holidays the rest of the year?  

BOWS AND BUTTERFLIES:  Which is more popular this year?  You can entice your customers with both!  Just pick out some interesting bow or butterfly brooches and then sit back and relax.  You know they are going to sell.  Bows have been all over the fashion runways this year, and one more only adds to the story.  As for butterflies, designers have chosen a bevy of prints, many of them in charming oriental-inspired gossamer fabrics, to enhance their fashion shows this year. But it is in jewelry that butterflies show off to their greatest three-dimensional advantage.    

PET SURPRISE!  Well, we can’t forget Fido, can we?  And this will remind your customers that they shouldn’t forget him either!  There are all sorts of gifts just right for the dogs and kittens in your life, from outfits to keep them warm in winter to squeak toys and new collars and leashes. The amazing thing is that all you have to do is take a toy out of its box and wow! Your pet will immediately know it is for him.  How do they do that, anyway?

GIFTS AT THE 11TH HOUR CAN STILL BE WONDERFUL.  HERE ARE SOME TO PLEASE AND DELIGHT:

 

 

Comments (0) Posted by Mary McGarry on Tuesday, December 21st, 2010

Filed under Fashion Accessory News
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 “IT’S STILL GOING TO BE A DAY-BY-DAY challenge,” declared Arnold Aronson, managing director of retail strategies at Kurt Salmon Associates.  But so far, things are looking very good for Christmas retail sales. November turned out to be one of the best retail sales months in five years. 

And now Aronson says he expects department stores to ring up very good increases, with luxury chains posting the best gains.  Specialty retailers, he says, will be a mixed bag, and mass merchandisers will probably come in about even.

“The U.S. consumer has a lot of optimism,” declared Keith Jelinek, director in AlixPartners’ global retail practice.  Still nobody is about to replace their wardrobe, he contends.  Instead they are updating clothes with key items, like jewelry, and other fashion accessories. Jelinek says “18-to-25 years olds are the most willing to open their wallets.”

                                          Enticing Promos

An important boost to holiday sales came in the form of eye-catching promotions held on Black Friday and Cyber Monday, according to one major industry publication.  The promos enticed customers and drove sales up, giving retailers stronger-than-expected comparable store sales for the month.  It also hyped up retailers’ outlook for the holidays.

Cyber Monday, it turns out, was the biggest online spending day in history, with $1 billion dollars in sales, according to ComScore.

Sales at the retail level weren’t the only positives on the industry picture.  Fashion Industry stocks also rose, with retail stocks rising higher than anything seen since 2007.

RUNNING WITH OPTIMISM ISN’T THE WORST THING FOR RETAILERS.  THINK UP, AND STOCK UP ACCORDINGLY:  HERE ARE SOME GOOD BUYS FOR THE SEASON:

 

 

                                                       Hot Deals

Citi broadlines analyst Deb Weinswig pointed out that favorable weather and compelling deals drove better sales for November. But some analysts worry that the early spurt in business will be followed by a drop-off in sales with lots of buying at the last minute. 

Sherif Mityas, partner in A.T. Kearney’s retail consulting business, agreed that there will be a lull.  “Retailers are still going to need to drive some pretty strong deals to get consumers in the stores,” the executive said. 

Mityas said to expect strong online promotions and continued free shipping.  There will be more and more aggressive promotions as we get closer to Christmas,” Mityas said.  The partner is predicting a 2 to 3 percent rise in sales for the holiday.

                                               The Lull

Last week, as had been feared, sales were down somewhat from the end of November and more buyers were seen browsing rather than purchasing.  Still, retailers reported sales volumes up from a year ago, and sufficient to sustain their positive outlook for the rest of the year. “The cold weather helped a lot,” declared Lis Rodbell, Lord & Taylor executive vice president.  “Accessories, handbags and watches were standouts.”

“A phenomenal week!” is how Crawford Brock, owner of Stanely Korshak luxury store in Dallas described his business last week.  “And, if you look at the trend of the last 90 days,” he said, “I’d expect a 15 percent gain this month. Jewelry is doing great, and it was terrible a year ago.”

Fred Levine, owner of the M. Fredric retail chain, said, “I am seeing a turnaround.  There is no question.  I am seeing a spark of life in the consumer.  It’s been a couple of years of tough times and this is the first time I am seeing positive energy.”

STILL, IT IS NOT ALL ROSY.  CONSUMERS ARE VERY PRICE CONSCIOUS.  AND THE VALUE-TO-PRICE RATIO CONTINUES TO QUALIFY SALES.  HERE ARE SOME PRODUCTS THAT RING UP GREAT NUMBERS WHERE THAT’S CONCERNED:

 

Comments (0) Posted by Mary McGarry on Thursday, December 16th, 2010

Filed under Fashion Accessory Trends
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  TREND CHECK:  DESTINATION CHARM BRACELETS:  Tiffany started it all with their wonderful New York/ Paris – themed charm bracelets.  Now Chanel has gotten in on the act with a delightful Resort Charm-St. Tropez which shares space on the gold bracelet for a fun collection of French Riviera-inspired symbols with little Chanel logos.  Its retail priced at $625. 

    –But wait!  This is such a great idea for souvenirs (much less everyday status wear) you can be sure it will be copied like crazy at very favorable prices!

 

THE MAN ACT: Swarovski is back in the news again, this time with a great new collection of accessories for men. The collection takes a more minimalist approach to design than the firm’s often-glitzy offerings for women.  What is most important here is that the collection “celebrates the timeless elegance and beauty of black tones,” according to Nathalie Colin, company creative director. 

   The grouping takes inspiration from architectural and modern lines and seeks to satisfy the tastes of both the more conservative man with cleaner styles to the younger generation with colored shield motifs.  

   The new Swarovski collection for men includes jewelry, cuff links, key chains and wallets.  There is a distinct industrial feel to the entire line, in keeping with the industrial-look movement that is spreading over even the women’s jewelry and accessories market segment. Material use is also interesting and includes stainless steel, ceramic, and black crystal.  Retail prices run from $70 to $210.

TREND CHECK:  PEACOCKS.  Yes, these gorgeous creatures are showing off their magnificent tails encrusted with gemstones in a dozen different ways.  Find them, first of all, on great looking brooches.  Look for them in pendants.  They’re even prancing across scarf prints and handbag styles.  Peacocks are wonderful to look at, but don’t get too close. 

   In real life they can be downright dangerous, and will run after you with a vengeance if they think you have something good to eat. Happened to me on Oahu where they stood sentinel over a quiet, serene Buddhist temple. Then they saw my candy bar. Wow!  Run for your life!
 
 

 

ANIMALS ON ACCESSORIES DON’T HAVE TO BE DANGEROUS.  CHECK THESE OUT:

 

 

 

 

GRAPHIC EXPLOSIONS:  Expect to see a cornucopia of graphic designs this fall, as designers focus their creative energies on lines and forms in a decidedly mathematical equation. Some of the great looking graphic styles already hitting the market are quite imaginative.  Jason Wu, for example, has a great looking man-tailored outfit in browns, blues, and peach:  Barney’s class pants, and a blouse that features fascinating intersection panels of color all obviously balanced and set into a look of quiet perfection.

    A decidedly 1930s inspiration, the look might be called a present day take on yesteryear’s Katherine Hepburn outfits.  But all these new graphics aren’t all expressing a masculine mystique.  Wu also has designed a charming short sleeved dress with rows of different graphic designs from the hip to the mini-skirted hemline. 

   Slightly more imaginative is Pringle of Scotland’s tan dress with flyaway color looking like something the flying nun might wear. The dress also has a straight lined solid color panel – very graphic — running from the waist to the hemline,

   These are outfits that seem to beg for those wonderful little cloche hats of the thirties, as well as Coco Chanel’s fabulous long pearl necklaces. If earrings are frequently bypassed in respect for the masculine overall effect; no problem, big dark sunglasses take over here nicely.  Uggs boots, short socks, medium sized graphic handbags also make the grade along with skinny belts and here and there, a fedora. 

 

TREND CHECK:  TRAVEL CHIC:  Everybody might be grumbling about the pat-downs at airports this year, but you can ease the discomfort by showing off your luggage with handsome look-at-me identification tags. Ignore the pat, pay attention to the status tag whimsy. Leading the trendy move here are trunk tags from John Robshaw Gamati Luggage.  Priced at $25 each, one particularly fun design features a red and white elephant on a gold cord. 

COOL COLOR, HOT STORY:  You’ve heard of the Little Black Dress, of course.   Well, now make way for the Little White Dress, a brand new phenomenon hitting the fashion runways for fall 2011.  These little darlings are short and flirty, not too sexy, but with plenty of fashion energy. 

   One great looking example comes from Rubin Singer.  It is an overall white sequined nylon mesh mini-skirted long sleeved dress with a shiny, satin-like see-through lining that adds to the glitz and fun. Add some white accessories to up the cool temperatures somewhat.  How about some little white gloves, a little white clutch and a white

brooch?  Now you’re really with it!

 

ANIMAL MAGNETISM:  Looking for a great Christmas gift?  Nothing is better this year than a cozy scarf to help ward off the cool-cold-freezing temperatures expected to rage across the nation for the next few months.  Make it as trendy as possible by picking one with a wild African theme.  Leopard skin print?  Ohh that is the hottest!

 

YOU CAN GET WITH THE HOT MOVEMENT BY ADDING SOME AFRICANA INSPIRED ACCESSORIES TO YOUR PRODUCT COLLECTION.  LOOK HERE:

 

Comments (0) Posted by Mary McGarry on Tuesday, December 14th, 2010

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 CHRISTMAS IS COMING and your customers are actively scouting the market searching for good-looking, value-packed gifts to put under the tree for their friends, families, and loved ones.   Here are a number of ideas to help you assure them that your store is where they’ll find the best there is:

LITTLE EVENING-STYLE CLUTCH HANDBAGS.  Get one in grey for a really trendy gift!  But…be sure your gift recipient understands that these little beauties can be worn almost everywhere, at any time!  Think in terms of splashy all-over sequins for a real up-to-the-minute effect.  Also, don’t miss the sweet look of clutches with a single big material flower blossom on the front.  Charming!

SAPPHIRES, REAL OR FAUX!  Oh, yes! Sapphires were launched into a major popularity rush the moment Prince William placed his mother’s engagement ring on Kate Middleton’s finger.  Not only is the design a super-hot engagement ring style right now, but sapphires are also getting a real shot in the arm where sales are concerned.  Choose a ring, a necklace, or a bracelet.  If it has sapphires on it, you’re talking trendy. Very trendy.   You’re also talking love.

BIG BRACELETS:   Could anything be hotter? Look at Kim Kardashian, wearing two big bracelets at a time…very chic! Maybe you’d rather four or even ten bracelets at once.  The more you wear, the chic-er you are.  Try a very wide silver or gold plated smooth cuff for modern architectural drama.  Or, a terribly IN charm bracelet with almost anything hanging off it, just so long as it is hanging.  Bangles may be plain, but oh, they are important, too!  What a great gift to give or receive.

 

YOU JUST HAVE TO GIVE ONE OF THESE DYNAMITE BRACELETS FOR CHRISTMAS THIS YEAR.  HAVE THEY EVER BEEN MORE POPULAR?

 

 

 

                                               Great Gifts

 

LITTLE FOXY FUR STOLE:  Sexy?  Sweet?  This can be everything all rolled up into one.  Imagine a very 1920s look on a delightful young lady with short hair, red lips, and plenty of disarming come-hither charm. You don’t have to stay with fox fur, either. How about that wonderful marabou bolero by Adrienne Landau?  Fabulous!

 

SIGNATURE NECKLACES: These are big, impressive, show stopper necklaces that absolutely demand attention.  Look at some of the chunkier varieties: necklaces with heavy clusters of gemstones or other embellishments. Choose one filled with colorful resin beads for a timely expression. Think of drop offs: Circular pendants exaggerate a really dynamic look.
   Don’t miss Swarovski’s fabulous cross-shaped crystal pendant dangling from a double gold ball chain.  Actress Kristen Bell, who says she absolutely adores dynamic accessories, wears a big three-dimensional choker necklace that is signature-happy all the way:  by Dolce & Gabbana, the necklace is a mish-mash of multiple style gold tone chains with all kinds of gemstones and resin artifacts hanging off, from flowers to globes.  Wow!

DROP EARRINGS:  Almost any kind of drop earring is hot right now.  You can choose from a variety of chandelier earrings, or maybe pick long, thin slivers of waterfall-like earrings made of   gemstones or pearls. Very sophisticated. Of course, this Christmas, you can’t go wrong choosing a simpler style a la the charming but somewhat conservative future wife of Prince William, Miss Middleton.  Look for somewhat quieter drop earrings, not too long, not too embellished, with perhaps a single pearl dangling off a thin gold chain, quiet enough to fit the new British taste maven.   

SUNBURST BROOCH:  Big sunburst or floral styles.  Think about Carey Mulligan (just tapped for the role of Daisy Buchanan Mulligan in Baz Luhrmann’s “The Great Gatsby”) at the CFDA/Vogue Fashion Fund dinner recently. Mulligan, who was there to introduce Karl Lagerfeld, wore a dress with a center bejeweled sunburst that was big, beautiful, with a large center stone.  The only question is:   Was it attached to the dress or was it an attached brooch? Either way, it was fabulous! 

   If your taste runs toward floras’, think about the Empress Pin featured in the latest Smithsonian catalog.  The original was crafted by Italian artisans and given as a gift to Jackie Kennedy from the Shah and Empress of Iran when they visited Washington D.C. in1962.  Dated?  Not on your life!  These styles stay forever! The reproduction we’re talking about has 224 Swarovski crystals over 24K gold and rhodium plated floral base. Don’t even think about what the original cost.

FLOPPY HATS:  It’s a modern look and classic at the same time.  Floppy big brimmed hats give a casual flair to almost any outfit and look good on just about anybody.  Who would love one?  Hey, who wouldn’t!  Choose the right one, and you’ll get fashion as well as warmth for the cooler months.

GREAT HATS.  BEAUTIFUL BROOCHES.  COULD CHRISTMAS GET ANY BETTER?

 

Comments (0) Posted by Mary McGarry on Wednesday, December 8th, 2010

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NOBODY IS GOING TO ARGUE that the king of moderate to inexpensive watches is
Timex, the lion-hearted watch firm that has broken all sales and style records for several decades now and is still going strong.  Timex offers a huge line of watches consisting of many different collections, one for just about every taste you can image.

From the clean round-faced Easy Reader watches to the multi-functional Timex Ironman series, Timex has a watch for everybody.   The firm is important in traditional watches, but it is also a leader in innovation and technology.  And the rush to be first continues…

Right now, Timex is putting forth an exciting new Timex Originals Collection featuring embellished formal crystal timepieces such as the Dress Crystal and the Ladies Bracelet watch with Swarovski Crystals.  The crystal surround bezels are on round-faced watches and come in various styles, including the popular mixed metals.   

On the functional plane, Timex is an Olympian player.  The firm has watches that do almost everything but brush your teeth! Some big functions: GPS features and heart monitors.

But…you may feel a little too status conscious to wear a Timex, in which case, we recommend that you simply review the phenomenal functional benefits the watches offer. Or, even better, think again, because these are anything but cheap timepieces. Presidents have worn them, so have CEOs of major corporations.  President Clinton is one outstanding example of just how impressive the Timex consumer list can be!

CHOOSING PRODUCTS THAT HAVE NO OBVIOUS PRICE ATTACHMENT IS ONE WAY TO FIGHT THE FANTASY OF STATUS. HERE ARE SOME EXAMPLES:

 

            

                                                    Luxury Sector

OF COURSE, LUXURY WATCHES as a group still continue to lead the industry in trend setting. And while 2010 was a blazing year for the recession, luxury watches generally escaped the worst of the purge. Sales of Dior watches, which go for $1,000-500,000, picked up considerably in the first 9 months of 2010, and the company says it is now devoting even more space to watches in Dior boutiques internationally.

“Demand for watches across Asia, and particularly in China, is very strong,” Sidney Tolendano, Dior president said.

LVMH’s watch and jewelry group has been enjoying the same kind of enthusiastic consumer in recent months with sales up 29 percent against 2009.  The spurt has emboldened the firm to increase its marketing considerably in the USA, especially, with brands like Tag Heuer, Hublot, and Zenith.

The high-end Swiss brand Omega is equally bullish on the upcoming year.  “We believe in the U.S.,” president Stephen Urquhard said.  “The time is right to get a foothold here.” 

    –And as European luxury brands expand their presence and power in the United States, look for them to have even greater design influence on all lower priced watches selling here.

                                                     Black Watches

GQ MAGAZINE, THE ARBITER of edgy styles, says black and other dark colored watches will reign supreme in 2011. That means black face, black case, black strap – yes, exactly what Batman would choose.    “It’s time to get in touch with your very dark side,” the magazine suggests. 

GQ also points out that from leather strapped styles to  military designs, the newest watches tend to be classy, traditional, and versatile, but in no way are they boring or “I’ve seen it before.”.

Many of the new watches are strongly jewelry inspired.  Embellished watches with a mix of precious and semi precious gemstones are hot, especially with couture brands.  And across the luxury sector, the trendy move is toward rose gold. It replaces yellow gold as the important look for the upcoming year, for those who can afford gold, that is. 

At the opposite end of the scale, chunky oversized watches with a distinctly masculine look are uptrending, especially with women who buy watches for themselves.  These watches often sport super tech features, such as solar power and multi-chrono functions. 

Marshall Cohen, chief industry analyst for the research group, The NPD Group, says that one of the biggest challenges facing the watch industry is the problem of dealing with other time-telling products that are continually coming into the marketplace. The cell phone, he says really put a damper on the watch industry. In today’s world, if you want to grow a business, you have to have innovation and technology as part of the equation. “Basics maintain sales, but innovation drives growth.”

                                           Hot Competition

TIMEX PRESIDENT Adam Gurian takes a positive view on the new competition, saying it poses an opportunity. “Technology is coming to the wrist,” he says. “Gurian points to the firm’s phenomenally successful Ironman line, which includes GPS technology, as an example of how a company can overcome competition with innovation. And this is just the beginning, he contends.  “As the world of connectivity develops, we’ll be able to have your watch talk directly to your computer using Bluetooth technology.”

   –Wow!  This is Dick Tracy for real!

But technology innovation isn’t all consumers want. They are also looking for cutting edge style. Color is a big point here, especially when the watches can then shine as fashion accessories.    Gurian says that in all price points and categories, pieces that have been most successful are those that can be used to make an accessories statement. 

Next year, he says, expect more fashion, and a lot of color. The firm is already promoting colored bezels on its watches; look for orange or blue, the leading trendy colors now.

Fendi is another firm recognizing the power of fashion. The company recently introduced a remarkably creative timepiece called Crazy Carats Watch.  It has a rolling mechanism that allows the wearer to change the colors of the semiprecious stones on the watch’s face. Feeling like yellow? Roll it on!  Right now, the watches retail for a high $2,400 to $1,500, but just wait!  You’re sure to see variations on this color theme popping up in much less expensive watches soon!   

ANOTHER TRENDY MOVE IN THE WATCH INDUSTRY IS WEARING A TIMEPIECE WITH MATCHING JEWELRY.  HERE ARE SOME PIECES THAT DO THAT WELL:

 

Comments (0) Posted by Mary McGarry on Tuesday, December 7th, 2010