EXOTIC SKINS ARE STILL exciting major handbag sales, despite the recessionary mode of the economy. Reptiles are number one for popularity, especially rich, iridescent, luminescent snake skins of all sorts. Ring up alligator and crocodile skins for top honors, as well. Jungle cat themes are also hot. Think Africana, Asian, even some Australian-exotica. If it looks different, and once was alive, it’s got a buyer out there, recession or not.
— Still, this is a contradictory market, where some prices have been dropped to help excite better sales, at the same time that some pricey bags continue to move relatively well. And, with all the positives in line, the bad news is that the market has still been hit by the general hard times. Overall sales are down, and you can see the effect of the slow-down in the design and marketing of many exclusive lines, much less in moderate to inexpensive bag collections.
WHAT ARE WE TALKING ABOUT? Handbags with less embellishment. Less glitz. Less over-the-top look-at-me designs. Sizes have come down. The huge bag of just yesterday has shrunken down to a more manageable, more useable size. These new bags aren’t small by any means, but they aren’t wild and out-of-balance, either.
NEW, LESS EXPENSIVE TECHNIQUES for finishing handbags and making them stand out in a crowd include ruffles, embossing, outside pockets, small but handsome hardware, and many different antique finishes. Ruffles, especially those worked into bows and flowers, add a girlie dimension to many lines, especially to evening bags.
Neutrals are hot. So are browns and yellows. Several manufacturers reported berry as the outstanding color for fall.
LEATHER IS THE HOT MATERIAL coming off the summer months. Some of the popular styles include convertibles, messenger bags, and multi-straps. Cross body shoulder strap bags and mini messenger bags are also big. Smooth, British-equestrian-looking leathers give an aristocratic finish to many handbags.
HERE ARE SOME DELIGHTFUL HANDBAGS STAMPED WITH THE TRENDY
DESIGN FEATURES OF THE IMMEDIATE MOMENT!
- Evening bag with snakeskin print in bright fashion colors!
- Sequined shoulder purse with double straps in choice of colors.
Smooth and Polished
Handbags with a cleaned-up, polished look are among the newest and best looking of the season’s picks. Moderately priced bags from firms like Dooney & Bourke and Michael Kors (totes at $198 and hobos at $235) are uptrending in the Better Bags market. Earthy tones are top movers in this style-leading grouping as well.
Elongated bags, such as a grey-white leather bag from Salvatore Ferragamo, boasts a short handle and a longer shoulder strap. Fringe plays an important part in a dark brown suede handle bag from Samantha Thavasa. A big black satiny bow covers the entire front of a shoulder bag from Moschino.
Hobos, Totes Coming on Strong
HOBOS ARE especially popular this season. Diane von Furstenberg offers a lovely crocheted hobo in multiple shades of blue and green. Burberry has a travel-bag hobo in brown suede cloth. Totes are another fast-moving category. Look for fun prints and colorful designs in many different sizes.
Size innovation is strong. Marc Jacobs swings a little orange square envelope bag from a chain and leather shoulder strap. And Jessica Simpson gives evening bags a very sophisticated look in her long red ruffled rectangular bag of very moderate size.
Customers are looking for fashion at a great price, practically all manufacturers and retailers agree. Customers want bags that can do double duty, going from day into evening, for example. They want quality detailing. They also want handbags that are distinctive, and individualized.
MOVING UP FAST in the field is faux leather. One retailer noted that the reason this category is so hot is not just because of price economy, but because manufacture is so advanced, the looks that can be produced are “just amazing.”
—Take a faux leather handbag stenciled in alligator print and — WOW – you’ve got the look of a $1,000 bag for under $50. And that’s real quality for the dollar!
The clutch is a non-stop winner in the shape category. It has been a sales leader for several seasons now, and it is still holds the blue ribbon. Katherine Kwei’s water snake clutch is about as trendy as you can get, while Serpui Marie’s elaborately appliquéd taupe creation with 3-dimensional material blossoms covering the entire bag surface certainly takes high honors as a delightfully feminine evening bag or afternoon tea clutch.
YOU CAN ENJOY THE HIGH FASHION STATUS OF DESIGNER-Y CLUTCH BAGS, ECONOMICALLY PRICED TO APPEAL TO EVERYONE. HERE ARE SOME TO LOOK AT:
- Faux croc evening clutch in choice of beautiful fashion colors.
- Wholesale evening bag with ruched design in rich leatherette. Wear it any time of day or evening!