With 185 stores in the US, plus licensed stores in 26 countries, Bebe has definitely made a name for itself. Now, Jennifer Wesch, who recently joined the company, is making a name for herself. Accessories caught up with Wesch to discuss accessories and runway inspirations for Fall/Holiday ’14.
What is your role at Bebe? I’m the DMM – Non-Apparel, coming up on one year with Bebe. I oversee and manage the accessory buyers, and direct the overall trend and business strategy for the non-apparel umbrella – including shoes, handbags, jewelry, accessories and lingerie.
Have you increased your commitment to accessories? Currently, accessories in general are very strong. Since joining Bebe, my team is more focused on designed product and presenting a more cohesive presentation. We’ve seen real excitement and acceptance in our new direction, and yes are increasing our commitments to the total Non-Apparel world. Our customer is sexy, empowered, motivated, fashionable and modern. She likes to make a statement whether it’s day or night.
After viewing the runways from the Fall/Winter 2014/15 New York, London, Milan and Paris Fashion Weeks, what are you most excited about? I really love all the layering options in accessories—interesting furs (faux for us), wool hats and layered textured knits. Fringe for fall feels fresh—in bags, jewelry and accessories. I also love the direction I’m seeing in boots, especially over-the-knee styles and great bootie ankle details. Statement collar necklace styles are making a comeback and animal prints, especially leopard, feel great for fall.
Which designers in particular are you watching for direction? Lanvin: Loved the deep palette, with touches of light airy colors. Furs, fringe, luxurious materials, pleated leathers – gorgeous! Balmain: Loved the feminine utilitarian looks, the woven leathers, rope and/or gold chain details and waist cinching belts were incredible. Gucci: Loved the dusty pastels, especially the blush pinks for cold weather. Tall boots, beautiful leather structured bags and novelty furs in color. The leopard was a great pop in the collection. Saint Laurent deserves honorable mention – sort of rock and roll inspired 60’s looks with the floppy hat, tall boots and furs. Alexander McQueen Fall 2014 – the feathers and furs were unbelievable.
Anything you’ll be adding this fall? Faux fur! We’re expanding the category this year. I’m so excited about all the color, interesting patterns and product categories. I’m feeling for the faux fur capelet/wraps, faux fur trims on boots, and faux fur trims on knit beanies and scarves. I think faux fur can bring such a feminine, fun and sexy touch to an outfit. I love how glamorous faux fur can make us feel, and depending on the item can be worn daytime just as easily as nighttime. It’s all about offering the right items, and really showing the outfit possibilities.
And there were so many fur handbags on the runways! How will you interpret this at Bebe? Fur in general will be important, we don’t touch real fur, so only faux for us. I love hair calf, especially in either novelty colors/prints or embossed textures. I think leopard will be important this fall.
Any new brands? We signed an exclusive licensing agreement with ZigiNY for shoes, which is launching this fall. The styling, quality and overall aesthetics were a great match for bebe; allowing us the ability to be more design driven and help tie back the shoes to our apparel more cohesively.
What about color direction? The fall pastels were gorgeous, and I am especially loving the blush pinks and dusty blues. And the deeper rich palette of burgundy, deep navy and green are key.
Do you get your trends just from the runways, or do you see more trends coming up from the street? I tend to get inspiration from everything around me. In general I’m an observer; I look at everything from home décor, to outfits on the street, window displays in shops, vintage stores, magazines, concerts, brunch—literally everything. I do think the younger generation is more experimental these days, I think the internet has opened up a whole new world to people in general.
Bebe has a large jewelry department; what are you planning for next season? There is definitely a feeling for feathers in jewelry again—not in a huge way, but touches of novelty feather items. Layers of pearls in more modern ways are important, and there’s also a feeling for fringe done in various ways, from metal to leather to silk.