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NEW YORK — Nike’s classic Dunk sneaker has spawned one of the leading accessory trends at retail this spring.
This story first appeared in the April 9, 2012 issue of WWD. Subscribe Today.
While Proenza Schouler’s P.S. 1 and Celine bags in any shape — including the Phantom and varying sizes of the Luggage Tote — have carried over from fall as hot sellers, it’s the high-top, concealed wedge sneaker that’s replacing the smoking slipper as the season’s “It” accessory.
The Dunk was popularized by Nike in the mid-Eighties, and French designer Isabel Marant reinterpreted it for the first time in her fall 2010 collection — Velcro bands and all — which has since ignited a cult following.
Daniella Vitale, Barneys New York chief merchant and executive vice president, said shoes by Marant — especially the $680 to $760 sneakers and the low, chunky-heeled $580 Dicker bootie — are among the best-selling in the contemporary price range, followed by the in-house Co-op label, Rag & Bone and Alexander Wang.
Marant’s wedges have already sold out at the Web site Forward by Elyse Walker, which was renamed earlier this year after the retailer partnered with Revolve Clothing. Creative director Walker, who bought the shoes again for fall, said that while shoes such as Christian Louboutin’s Daffodil pumps in teal and black suede or Jimmy Choo’s orange buckle Letitia platforms are also selling well, she was surprised to see Marant’s sneaker “fly” out of the store. Compared to this time last year, in-store accessories sales are up 23.5 percent and online accessory sales have seen triple-digit growth.
At Net-a-Porter, Marant’s $680 Bobby sneaker — a high-top silhouette minus the oversize tongue and Velcro straps — has sold out.
“There is huge demand [for these]. We will absolutely continue to support the sporty wedge shoe trend that clearly the customer is hungry for,” said Net-a-Porter fashion director Holli Rogers.
At Shopbop, Ash’s wedge sneakers hold the top spot for best-selling contemporary footwear. At less than half the price of similar styles by Marant — they range from $225 to $250 — the retailer offers three styles with slight variations that are fast becoming a viable option for consumers who want to embrace the trend without shelling out nearly $700. There are the two-toned Bea and Cool, which have details such as perforated panels, contrasted pebbled leather trim, Velcro bands and a chunky rubber sidewall and sole, and the Bowie, a more streamlined version of the above. The Bea has sold out, and there are just a few pairs left of the Cool and Bowie.
At Saks Fifth Avenue, pastel handbags and footwear from brands like Marc Jacobs, Prada, Dolce & Gabbana, Marni and Chloé are must-haves for shoppers.
“We reacted quickly to the icy pastels from the spring runways [with colors such as] pale blue, pink, mint. These colors have been editorialized and the customer is asking for them from specific runway-based collections,” said Elizabeth Kanfer, Saks’ fashion and co-branding director of handbags, jewelry and accessories, adding that colorblocking and luxe materials such as python, raffia and straw have also been doing well.
With respect to fine jewelry, Kanfer said the store is seeing demand for gold at all price points — and Vhernier, H.Stern, Pomellato and David Yurman have continued to resonate well with consumers. She highlighted bold gold pieces such as Pomellato’s Nudo rings that range from $2,100 to $2,990, Vhernier’s $11,100 jade earrings and the Copernicus collection from H.Stern.
While pastels are selling well, though, overall best-selling handbags at Saks are Celine, Alexander McQueen, Yves Saint Laurent and Stella McCartney, according to Kanfer, who cited the Celine Mini Luggage tote in neon pink and burnt orange and McQueen’s DeManta clutch as popular with consumers. Manolo Blahnik, Yves Saint Laurent and Tod’s are driving the retailer’s footwear business, but Kanfer has found that customers are “discovering” more recent additions like Nicholas Kirkwood and Jerome Rousseau. She also described Phillip Lim’s handbags as an “exciting launch for the store.”
Vitale has also found that new lines Barneys New York has picked up are garnering a good response from consumers, including Maiyet, a women’s apparel, handbag and jewelry brand that enlists artisans from impoverished nations to create its product (it just showed its second collection in Paris last month). Although not new, the relaunch of Mark Cross late last year stands out because of its “clean design and classic shapes,” and the Grace box bag and Scottie satchel have been “flying off the shelves.”
Other items doing well at Barneys, according to Vitale, are Oliver Goldsmith’s sunglasses, large cuffs from Jennifer Fisher and Pamela Love, 3.1 Phillip Lim’s 31 Hour bag, Irene Neuwirth gemstone earrings, Nak Armstrong’s mosaic pieces and Celine’s platform sandals, specifically the neon pony Phantom style that has already sold out.