This fall the City of Light is sparkling with accessories. Paris is abuzz with dramatic baubles, new boutiques and even some sneakers and slippers to wear around town.

MOON DANCE

Escada is hopping on the accessories express. The German fashion house has integrated production of its leather goods in-house and bolstered the rest of its accessories categories with a raft of licenses.

Marc Lelandais, Escada general manager for luxury goods and accessories, said the company is gunning to build accessories into a $384 million, or 300 million euro, business within the next four years from about $205 million, or 160 million euros, today. (Dollar figures have been converted at current exchange rates.)

Emblematic of its ambition is the launch this month of a new signature bag — Eluna. It is a sleek, half-moon shoulder purse that will ship 15,000 units in its first three months. “Eluna’s an important step for Escada,” said Lelandais. “It gives a clean style statement. We want leather goods to reach the 100 million euro mark within the next few years.”

Eluna will be promoted heavily. Its one million euro, or $1.3 million, launch campaign includes billboards in New York and Paris and on taxis in London. Steven Meisel shot the ads.

Eluna will be extended to luggage, scarves and belts for duty-free distribution in 2005. At the same time, Escada is plowing into duty-free for the first time with deals for locations at 12 airports.

Meanwhile, Escada launched last month at Paris’ Silmo trade event its new eyewear line in license with Italy’s De Rigo. Lelandais said Escada is aiming for 60 million euros, or $76.8 million, in eyewear sales within the next four years.

Escada has renewed for four years its silk license with Italy’s Ratti and has signed a jewelry license with Pluczenick Group of Antwerp, Belgium, which Lelandais said should grow into a 40 million euro, or $51.2 million, business within the next four years.
— Robert Murphy

TWO-STEP

There are two designer collaborations afoot, each with a sporty edge.Jean Paul Gaultier has teamed up with French sportswear label Bensimon to create a line of tennis shoes to match his upcoming summer denim collection. Styles range from Asian-inspired high-tops and erotic Kama Sutra print designs to classic marine-striped shoes. Meanwhile, Rei Kawakubo has laced up with French ballet shoe manufacturer Repetto to make dance-inspired gold slippers for her Comme des Garçons line.
— Emilie Marsh

OPERA ROCKS

Pop diva Jennifer Lopez may be from the block, but her bling hardly compares to the jewels going on the block that belonged to opera diva Maria Callas. Eleven pieces from the late soprano’s collection will be auctioned at Sotheby’s annual Magnificent Jewels sale on Nov. 17 in Geneva. One of the highlights will be an 11.7-carat marquise diamond ring; Sotheby’s expects it to fetch $180,000. Also on sale will be a gold Van Cleef & Arpels clutch and a stunning 37.56-carat claw-set emerald and diamond ring. Most of the pieces were gifts to Callas from her husband, Giovanni Battista Meneghini, in the Fifties. The diva bequeathed her collection to an anonymous friend after her death in 1977. The jewels will be displayed in various European cities this month.
— Phoebe Elder

FASHION ANTICS

The French ready-to-wear and accessories label Antik Batik has opened a 538-square-foot store on Paris’ chic Rue Cambon, its second location in Paris. The walls are covered with fabric with Japanese-inspired prints, the century-old furniture comes from an Italian drugstore and a chandelier from the Fifties all echo the label’s quirky, ethnic style. An Antik Batik store in London is in the works for next summer.
— E.M.

VIVA VIVIER

A year after reviving Roger Vivier and opening a palatial boutique in Paris, the Tod’s-owned shoe brand is going wholesale. Vivier will be sold at Bergdorf Goodman and Saks Fifth Avenue in New York and Neiman Marcus in Los Angeles starting this spring. Ines de la Fressange, Vivier’s director and communications coordinator, said the pieces would range from practical day looks to exuberant evening ones. “We wanted to start with the United States,” she said. “It’s a good showcase for our elegance and extravagance.” Day shoes will retail from $400 to $700, while special evening shoes will cost as much as $4,000. She added Vivier had wholesale projects in the works for fall 2005 in Japan and Hong Kong.
— R.M.

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