August Market: Highlights & Lowlights

August market has come to a close, the shows are over and manufacturers are now tallying those retail orders. While smaller stores still picked up last-minute holiday orders, particularly in jewelry, larger stores booked Resort and Spring 15. Below, a list of what sold best—and what didn’t—and what to look for going forward.

Notable Launches

While too many to list, here is a sampling of some new lines and launches announced at Market:

  • Botkier launched a line of fashion jewelry, with lots of zipper motifs (inspired by the brand’s signature handbag). The company also introduced Botkier Exclusive, a higher-priced handbag tier with more luxe materials.
  • Jewelry company NES Costume launched into the hair accessories category.
  • Theodora & Callum launched T+C Theodora & Callum, a lower-priced line of scarves as well as hats, jewelry and cover-ups, licensed to Collection 18.

    T + C Theodora and Callum fashion accessories

    T + C Theodora and Callum fashion accessories

  • Karen Kane announced a Spring 15 line of jewelry (licensed to Glamhouse) and hats (licensed to Bollman).
  • Deepa Gurnani launched a bridal collection of jewelry and hair accessories.
  • Roman and Sunstone announced two Kenneth Jay Lane jewelry licenses. Kenneth Jay Lane Bridal, presented to bridal boutiques and online retailers; and Kenneth Jay Lane Fine, which will debut at November Market and target department and fine jewelry stores.
  • Echo Design Group launched its capsule scarf collection designed by artist Hunt Slonem.
  • E. Gluck Corp signed a license for Quiksilver, Roxy and DC watches.
  • Pandora signed a deal with The Walt Disney Co. for sterling silver and gold charms.
  • Steve Madden signed a deal to purchase Dolce Vita Holdings for $60.3 million. Dolce Vita Holdings features footwear brands Dolce Vita, DV by Dolce Vita, DV8 and J.D. Fisk.
  • Sofia Vergara launched a jewelry line with Kay Jewelers.
  • Juicy Couture eyewear, manufactured by Safilo, released frames with acetate temples that change color from clear to bright pink when exposed to UV rays.

Highlights (& Lowlights) by Classification

JEWELRY

Necklace Highlights: The statement necklace is still going strong, surpassing all expectations. However, it is morphing in new ways as manufacturers aggressively push the boundaries to set themselves apart and move away from that “oversaturated J.Crew look of heavy crystal on metal.” Wildly dimensional necklaces feature piled on flowers in everything from metal to enamel to resin to rubber—and often all of the above. Crystals pop as accents, not a central focus. Pastels are key for Spring 15, notably mint, coral and turquoise, as well as shades of pink. Pops of yellow are important and the color is expected to grow in importance.

Layered floral enamel, resin and metal statement necklace by Cara.

Layered floral enamel, resin and metal statement necklace by Cara.

For boho beaded styles, the Southwest look is morphing into a Moroccan magical carpet ride, with deep reds and pinks highlighting burnished brass metals and disks. This look is expected to really pick up steam toward Summer, and Istanbul and Marrakech have emerged as trendy hot spots (don’t say we didn’t call it first!). High-low layered looks are key in long strandage, and Punch Fashions, which recently returned from a trendspotting trip to St. Tropez, is aggressively going after colored tassel jewelry, mixing it with layer-friendly ropes of beads. Metal fringe necklaces and metal mesh were hot for Holiday and will continue in new ways for Spring.

Burnished boho bib from Punch Fashions

Burnished boho bib from Punch Fashions

Necklace Lowlights: Heavy, clunky metal statement necklaces with giant crystals are being deemed too “hot” for warm weather. Buyers are seeking lighter, more layered styles that are a bit more airy and fluid.

Earring Highlights: Having already played with the ear cuff and ear crawler trend, retailers are now exploring front/back earrings and ear jackets, which can stick out right behind the lobe or fan out below. Pearl styles are driving this, often backed with a another pearl, stud or colored accent. Hoops—round and elongated—have emerged as the easiest sell to wear with the ever-popular statement necklaces.

Cara front/back earrings

Cara front/back earrings

Creative cards, particularly for smaller items like stud earrings or hair pins, are all the rage, challenging designers to be more and more clever.

Creative birthstone earring cards from Berry Jewelry

Creative birthstone earring cards from Berry Jewelry

Earring Lowlights: While the single statement earring was hot on runways like Louis Vuitton, don’t expect big things outside of hard-cord fashion circles. Stores don’t want to look like their earring card is missing a piece, nor do consumers want to have their friends to ask them if they lost an earring. Asymmetrical studs (i.e. a sun and a moon) fared better, but some retailers still worried that could seem like a carding mistake. While some manufacturers reported the comeback of statement chandelier earrings, notably for holiday, others said most jewelry buys went to statement necks.

Louis Vuitton showed a single earring, but retailers aren't necessarily biting.

Louis Vuitton showed a single earring, but retailers aren’t necessarily biting.

Ring Highlights: Smaller midi rings and stackable rings (either stacked individually or look-of-stacked) remain front runners, worn both below the knuckle and above. Below, nail tips from Vita Fede as well as stacking rings draw attention to intricate nail art.

Vita Fede metal nail tips and stacking rings

Vita Fede metal nail tips and stacking rings

Ring Lowlights: Despite talk about a move toward large cocktail rings, retailer response was sporadic. Giant hinged rings that went over the knuckle as well as double knuckle-busters have seen their day, although new styles with pearls did look fresh.

WATCHES

Highlights: Watches had a big push in boxed sets for holiday, mixing in bangles together with watches. Black metals and black crystals were key for the season. For Spring 15, things lighten up, with larger, colored dials and rose or yellow gold mixed with white. Below, AK Anne Klein’s black-on-black styles for Holiday.

AK Anne Klein boxed sets for Holiday will continue for Spring in lightened up colors

AK Anne Klein boxed sets for Holiday will continue for Spring in lightened up colors

Kenneth Cole launched its Kenneth Cole Connect/Technology Platform watch. Retailing for $135 to $165, this designer “fashion tech” watch connects with tech devises, offering alerts for email, events, alarm, missed call and more. Users can even control their music housed on their phone.

Kenneth Cole Smart Watch

Kenneth Cole Smart Watch

Fossil celebrated its 30th anniversary with a retro collection. The company also launched a new collaboration with Eley Kishimoto, featuring retro, mid-century modern styling. Rose gold continued in watches, from holiday into spring, both in metal bracelets and strap styles.
Lowlights: The ever-popular chunky Michael Kors “boyfriend” bracelet watch has saturated the market, both literally and in other brands aiming to emulate the look. Rose gold looked newest here, but overall the style looked dated.

HANDBAGS

Highlights: In resonse to a tougher business over the last year, handbag manufacturers have been generally playing it safe, with nothing too crazy different or novel. Backpacks, drawstrings and sling bags, however, “where everywhere,” especially when shown with a convertible element that allows the consumer to switch back and forth to various styles. Many had handles in addition to straps, and outside zippers added functionality.

Drawstring bag from The Sak in navy, mint and coral.

Drawstring bag from The Sak in navy, mint and coral.

Cross-body silhouettes that sat close to the body were key, and natural, “barely there” leathers will be strong for Spring 15. Fringe was also key, as were leather tassels in same or contrast leathers.

Natural leather cross-body from Hammitt

Natural leather cross-body from Hammitt

Black-and-white combos also sold at Market, especially in optical prints as well as tribal graphic patterns (with an optical twist). Pops of color, seen in tassels or trim, moved them away from monochrome.

Optical print with a tribal flair and contrast fringe by Imoshion

Optical print with a tribal flair and contrast fringe by Imoshion

Maureen Shea, DMM of Accessories at eBags.com and Handbags.com, noted that handbag prices have been coming down due to price compression from Michael Kors. [Pretty much all manufacturers gripe about Michael Kors' hefty handbag market share.] Shea notes she bought more heavily into perforated handbags, which, while not a new trend, have gained traction among her customers.

Another key item is the rise of the minibag, and many are opting for these in place of clutches. As a result, retailers are boosting their buys of this item. Snake remained a very popular material, available in both soft and slouchy materials or hard and structured.

Faux leather bag in navy snake

Faux leather bag in navy snake by Urban Expressions.

Lowlights: Totes are still in demand, but retailers are placing more emphasis on cross-bodies. The return to snake drew attention away from croco.

WALLETS/SLGs

Highlights: Bold, graphic and fun were key words in SLGs, as retailers bought into fun, experimental pieces for their customers. The Graphic trend was powerful, often seen in bold black-and-white with pops of color. With cross-body and clutch silhouettes so hot in handbags, retailers are seeking more compact, flatter wallets.

The wristlet has emerged as a key item, often shown with a decorative strap that looks like a bracelet when worn.

Woven wristlet by Urban Expressions

Woven wristlet by Urban Expressions

HATS

Highlights: Hat business is up again and stores are writing larger orders. The must-have hat for holiday is what vendors are calling the American Canyon look. This cut-edge Safari Hat with a pinch crown is also sometimes called a gaucho hat—similar to what was seen on the Yves St Laurent runways. This captures the whole Americana vibe– featuring conchos, suedes, fringe and distressed leather trims.

Americana looks from San Diego Hat Co.

Americana looks from San Diego Hat Co.

Regarding price, John Callanan, Designer, Dorfman Pacific, reports a price shift with better retailers. “Rather than buying deep into less expensive styles they are going for more upscale, luxury hats. Instead of stocking a slew of styles at under $40, they are stocking the accessory department with a few really special hats at retail price of $125 to $150. People are looking for quality and luxury in a hat, rather than a one-season throw-away piece.” For Resort and Spring 15, it’s interesting to note that lightweight felt will move ahead into warmer months. Why? You just can’t get the same “safari hat” shape with straw and that trend is set to last.

Baseball hats were also a hot item, with everything from edgy studs to sporty perforations to feminine lace or floral prints.

Lace baseball hat by August Accessories

Lace baseball hat by August Accessories

Lowlights: Musician Pharrell Williams didn’t exactly set off a run on high-crowned, Smokey the Bear hats, although he did get lots of people talking about hats in general. Believe it or not, black is down as a color and it’s all about navy and indigo, according to vendors. Retailers have moved on from plain menswear fedoras, but those with printed stripes, as opposed to fabric brims, look newest.

HAIR ACCESSORIES

Highlights: More and more jewelry companies are getting into the fashion hair accessories business, seeing opportunities in merchandise and synergies in styling. Soft, silky turban-knot headbands were key, especially with bright floral/tropical prints. Dimensional flower crowns were updated with butterflies in some cases, while the daisy is the new flower of choice (edging out the rose). Other soft styles included vintage-styled lace headbands that looked right out of a trim store.

NES Costume's new hair division

NES Costume’s new hair division

Lace headbands by Cara

Lace headbands by Cara

Lowlights: Hard hair accessories; Soft was the biggest hit. While some manufacturers showed long hair strand wraps that can be twisted or braided into hair, some claimed that retailers were skittish as the item required too much explanation at retail.

TEMPORARY TATTOOS

Highlights: Metallic gold “flash” tattoos were hot, and some jewelry companies are getting into the act, mixing tattoos and real bracelets together on cards. Black Lace Skin Jewelry showed black lace fabric tattoos.

Black Lace temporary tattoos.

Black Lace temporary tattoos.

BELTS

Highlights: Notably for holiday but also moving into Spring 15, chain belts are having a major resurgence. The look is reflecting what’s happening in jewelry, creating jewelry at the waist and lower. Interesting metal jewelry hardware also picked up on leather and pvc belts. Capturing the multiple carded trend in jewelry, duo belts–2 skinny belts on a card–are performing very well.

Stretch belts continue to be strong, but with panels and other interest. Beaded belts, even at higher prices, are capturing retailer’s interest, as are crochet belts with stretch and leather. With dresses on the rise for Spring 15, waist belts will continue to grow in importance. In color, black and white combinations are hot, and other tones like orange and fuschia are key as well.

Kensie stretch bead belt by Fantas-Eyes

Kensie beaded stretch belt by Fantas-Eyes

Lowlights: Contour belts. With jeans sitting higher at the waist, attention is at the waist rather than low-slung options. Retailers have also moved on from plain stretch belts, opting for more interesting styles with pieced-in leathers, beads or other materials. 2-inch stretch performed better than 3-inch stretch.

COLDWEATHER & SCARVES

Highlights: Soft, cozy and comfortable were the three keywords for Holiday, manifested in fur and furry textures. The faux fur neck warmer a hot item. This showed up in a short pull-through version and other styles as well. Expect a lot of Beanie Babes as well! The beanie was a hit at Market, offering a cool-girl look and easy versatility. Faux fur in bold colors and even colorblocks was fresh and new. For holiday, scarves and giftable knitwear is doing very well, especially specialty knits with Lurex details.

Echo Design Group cited its fur collared ruana, boucle hat with fur pom, faux fur neck warmer and rabbit fur mittens as key. In addition, “casual wraps, ruanas and capes have been very strong. Oversized squares and wraps have been important. Layering is a key trend-sweaters, capes, wraps, ruanas and ponchos,” says Lynn Roberts, Echo’s VP Communications.

In fashion scarves, mixed media was great for Spring 15, with lace and crochet mixed in. Prints like florals, butterlies and even elephants are key.

Lowlights: While not a “lowlight” per se, smart gloves with conductive yarns have become a staple and are no longer a novelty item. In fashion scarves, “jewelry scarves” didn’t perform as well, probably due to the longevity of statement necklaces in jewelry. And while the runways are touting small neckerchiefs, stores still want larger fashion scarves.

BEACH

For resort, casual cover-ups and/ or ponchos in textural finishes and treatments were key, according to Echo Design Group, which has scored significantly with its Beach category. “The ‘comfort’ trend  moves into “Hazy Days” where lines are blurred, colors are softened with white, and prints and solids are ombred,” according to Lynn Roberts, Vice President of Communications.

 

Echo Design Group Hazy Day coverup

Echo Design Group Hazy Day coverup

 

SUNWEAR

Hightlights: Sunglasses are having a good run, with lots of prints, mirrored lenses, modified cat eyes and translucent frames to keep buyers happy. Pastels have come on strong, particularly in pastels, while “oil slick” plastics offer that iridescence so popular in leathers. Vintage looks remain key, with lots of round frames (small and medium).

"Oil slick" mirrored lenses: Guess Eyewear by Marcolin

“Oil slick” mirrored lenses: Guess Eyewear by Marcolin

Lowlights: The oversized, Jackie O look has had its moment. The bold browbar is sometimes considered too masculine and therefore less saleable.

LEGWEAR

Highlights: For Holiday, patterned tights and fishnets are very hot, with buyers looking for holiday party looks and accessories. Black of course, is a predominant color but the industry has gotten more experimental as well.

FOOTWEAR

Highlights: 70’s Vibe; Espadrilles (both high and low), Caged/Lace Up styles; Sport/Casual; Embellished Flats and Classics with pop of color. Slip-on and lace-up sneakers were launched by virtually everyone, designer labels included.
Lowlights: Overly dressy styles took a backseat to more comfort, edgy looks.

 

 

 

Like this? Share it!

Lauren Parker

Lauren Parker, Editor-in-Chief, Accessories Magazine

As Editor-in-Chief of Accessories Magazine for the past 12 years, Lauren Parker has covered accessories both from a retail business perspective and a fashion point of view. In previous full-time magazine jobs and freelance gigs, she’s written about practically every angle of fashion lifestyle living, including accessories, fine jewelry, Caribbean travel, private jets, Hampton’s real estate, the New York art scene, the bridal industry, men’s lifestyle and being a mom. She loves meeting designers and seeing how their latest offerings capture the current zeitgeist and fit into the entire cultural and social picture.