PARIS — Even eyewear, a stalwart of the accessories category, appears to be feeling the pinch, with some retailers who attended the Silmo eyewear fair here slashing budgets by nearly 30 percent.
A sobering up of styles underscored the mood at the show, which ended its four-day run on Nov. 2 at the Porte de Versailles. This was evident in a prevalence of retro forms, brushed instead of shiny metal finishes and classic colors and patterns, particularly tortoiseshell and browns. Bling, retailers agreed, is out, replaced by more discreet “stealth wealth” options such as subtle tone-on-tone logos often positioned on temple tips or “aerial” logos along the tops of the arms. Touches of color came in unexpected places, such as on sidepieces or edging a rim.
Exceptions included Karl Lagerfeld’s attention-grabbing “shield” sunglasses, featuring the designer’s moniker splattered in bold type along their arms, among bestsellers at Marchon, along with Pucci’s festive retro eyewear designs.
“People are responding to color and people are responding to price,” said Robert Schienberg, vice president of global communication for Marchon, adding that bridge eyewear collections such as Michael Michael Kors, CK by Calvin Klein Inc. and Coach are benefiting from the financial crunch.
“It’s difficult right now. Retailers are still after designer brands, but we will see a decrease in price points,” said Cheryl Canning, worldwide brand manager for Cachet, a division of L’Amy America.
Styles that flatter, notably rounded, “glamour shapes,” were booking best, she said.
“Every day is a crisis in Lebanon,” said Carine Rad, who was shopping for her family’s eyewear business there called Shoufahsan.
Steering away from the classics, Rad said she was after more artsy, vibrant and colorful designs that are popular in Lebanon.
Several retailers cited a palpable slowing of business.
“The last two weeks have been a little weird. Things are rough, but it’ll come back,” said Oleg Rabinovich, co-owner of Artsee Eyewear, a 1,000-square-foot art gallery and eyewear boutique in New York’s Meatpacking District.
Co-owner Julio Santiago said he plans to open a second store in Miami in November 2010.
Having cut her budget by 30 percent, Min Yang, owner of Vuen, a boutique in South Korea, was among several retailers who sensed fewer exhibitors at the event.
Eduard Balayan, owner of Russian optical wholesaler Luis-Optica, was disappointed by the weak exhibitor turnout this year, particularly from Italian brands. With Russia starting to feel the effects of the economic downturn, he said he expects a 10 percent decrease in sales this year.
Vinay Seksaria, director of Lenseye, which operates nine eyewear stores in Bombay, said Indian retailers were scarce.
“We’re feeling cautious. India has been hit very badly by the crisis and it’s becoming more complicated and expensive to import,” Seksaria said. “There are usually around 200 to 300 Indians at this event, this time I believe there are half-a-dozen of us.”
Alexandre Soulas, an eyewear parts purchaser for Cartier, bemoaned the dearth of suppliers.
“Acetate is everywhere, with certain brands introducing carbon frames,” he said.
Launches at the fair included Delfina Delettrez’s collaboration with Alain Mikli; Alyson Magee; Bless, and Italia Independent’s new eyewear patent, comprising an interchangeable aluminum optical eyewear and sunglasses line featuring sailboat cable details.
Marchon also previewed Jil Sander’s new shades at the fair. Retailing at 200 to 300 euros, or $260 to $390 at current exchange, the collection plays on contrasts, juxtaposing shiny and matte surfaces, or block colors with transparency, featuring beveled origami details inspired by the house’s ready-to-wear line. Marchon said the collection would officially launch at Mido in Italy in March. The firm also said it has renewed its eyewear license with Fendi for the next five years.
“It’s a marketplace that will go for natural selection — the weakest links will fall,” said Alessandro Lanaro, chief executive officer of New York-based manufacturer Modo.
The firm introduced its Phillip Lim optical range at the fair, featuring granny-chic tortoiseshell specs and neo-geek “Eighties’ Bill Gates” specs, as well as the techno NetJets sunglasses line featuring techno aviator-style titanium frames with flexible arms, thanks to incisions in their temples.
Having just signed a deal with luxury Israeli chain Optica that will distribute the firm’s lines in 40 stores, Lanaro, which also opened a concept eyewear shop in New York’s NoLIta district in July, was among vendors trumpeting “fantastic forecasts.”
Several vendors remained upbeat, banking on the view that eyewear, one of the more visible, yet accessibly priced accessories, and a necessity to many, has the upper hand over pricy bags and shoes during financial squeezes.
“It’s the one accessory many women wear every day,” said Philip Roth, buyer for Through the Hayes, a San-Francisco-based eyewear boutique that stocks brands such as All Green, ic Berlin and Bevel. “In California, we usually get a ripple effect — you would think it’s tanking, but we’re doing great.”
@fearofgod and @maxfieldla have teamed up on a pop-up installation. The store, located in the gallery space across from Maxfield’s Melrose Ave location, is the site of the brand’s House of God pop-up in which Fear of God founder @jerrylorenzo has created a church-inspired installation. A dozen vintage church pews sit in front of an LED screen playing 90s gospel singers in an effort to re-create an environment akin to a Southern Baptist Church, Lorenzo explained. Read more about the pop-up on WWD.com #wwdfashion (📷: Jennifer Johnson)
Known for his sleek, sophisticated American glamour, Norman Norell is the subject of an upcoming exhibition at @fitnyc. “Norell: Dean of American Fashion,” which runs from February 9 through April 14, will feature approximately 100 ensembles and accessories. His best work is exemplified by the designer’s glittering “mermaid” gowns frosted with thousands of hand-sewn sequins – like the one pictured. (📷: William Helburn) #wwdfashion
For pre-fall 2018, @balmain didn’t let go of the glitz. A crystal embroidered baseball jacket priced at around $40,000 hangs in the “couture” section of the brand’s first men’s pre-collection. Sporting the words “Balmain Army” across the back, the item took around two months to make. “When it was completed, it was like Christmas, it was like, ‘It’s done, it’s exactly what I wanted,’” said Balmain’s creative director @olivier_rousteing during a tour of the collection in a Paris showroom on Monday. #wwdfashion
Eighty degree temperatures and outdoor installations at the annual Art Basel Miami Beach called for bright, elevated beachwear. See more street style pictures on WWD.com. #theyarewearing #ABMB (📷: @lifeinreverie)
Following September’s emotional tribute to her brother Gianni, Donatella Versace wanted to bring the spring show’s deep sense of intimacy to her @versace_official pre-fall collection. Donatella found inspiration in Versace Palazzo in Milan and from Gianni’s opulent apartment. Archival patterns and new motifs were splashed on silk shirtdresses and fitted jersey frocks. See the rest of the photos on WWD.com. #wwdfashion
Demna Gvasalia continues to shake up the Paris fashion calendar — and experiment with new runway timetables for his @vetements_official brand. WWD has learned that Vetements plans to stage its next coed show for the fall 2018 season on January 19 during Men’s Fashion Week in the French capital. Details about the timing and venue have not been confirmed — stay tuned on WWD.com to catch the latest. #wwdnews (📷: @giovanni_giannoni_photo)
@zacposen's go-to holiday gift? Cookies! "I'll usually bake cookies and send them as a gift," said the designer, who recently released his cookbook "Cooking With Zac: Recipes from Rustic to Refined." Get the recipe for his Brown Butter-Chocolate Chip Cookies via link in bio 🍪🍪🍪 #wwdeye #cookingwithzac
For @monsemaison’s pre-fall 2018 collection, Fernando Garcia and Laura Kim honed in on the brand’s many signatures — men’s wear, which was tweaked and feminized through deconstruction, proportion play and lots of bare shoulders. See the rest of the photos on WWD.com #wwdfashion (📷: George Chinese)
On Friday night, @yohjiyamamotoofficial received the Design for Asia Lifetime Achievement Award in Hong Kong. The 75-year-old designer has been celebrated for many years and is best known for his dark and avant-garde tailoring. “In my long career, in design, architecture, [I’ve been to] so many parties, this is the very first time that I have such a warm feeling, I really appreciate this,” Yamamoto said. #wwdfashion (📷: @dominiquemaitre)