WHICH FASHION DESIGNERS MAKE ACCESSORIES COUNT ON THE RUNWAY?
Byline: AMANDA MEADUS
NEW YORK — Lagerfeld. Gaultier. Armani. Saint Laurent. Lacroix. Miyake. Mizrahi. The names read like a who’s who of fashion innovators. They are also, not surprisingly, the names some leading accessories designers came up with when asked who’s had the most influence lately on accessories on the runway.
While some makers complained about the minimalist trend that left accessories out in the cold last year and earlier this year, most were able to name at least one major designer they saw as promoting accessories, even during the most stripped-down of times. Here, their choices.
Carey Adina, handbag and belt designer: “I always feel incredibly excited about the work of Kathryn Dianos. We have so much the same mind-set; she expresses hers in clothing, and I show mine in accessories. For resort, for instance, I found this incredible denim patent for my bags, and when I brought it up to show her, she used it to whip up a little wrap skirt. Our markets are very similar in that we speak to women who want to be on the elegant side of fashion trends, to look hip and yet tailored. I also really like the work of Laurence Scott, a new sportswear designer, and the feeling of his clothes also takes extremely well to accessories.”
Carolina Amato, glove designer: “Karl Lagerfeld puts so much whimsy into the Chanel accessories and makes them fun. They always stand out and create a lot of excitement, a lot of exposure. One of the things I like best about the European designers is that a lot of them use gloves in their presentations, both with evening clothes and for fall collections. Yves Saint Laurent is someone who always does this.”
Roxanne Assoulin, jewelry designer: “Right now, I think Marc Jacobs does accessories incredibly well. I also see some influences from Halston and Yves Saint Laurent working their way into the way some designers are using accessories right now.”
David Cohen, hat designer: “Overall, what has been done at Chanel has been very influential, and Karl Lagerfeld has at times really put accessories on the map, though at other times he’s taken them away, and it’s really hurt the accessories business. I think Prada has also been a major pacesetter and is going to become extremely influential, a powerhouse in accessories and ready-to-wear.” Barry Kieselstein Cord, belt, handbag and jewelry designer: “I don’t see anyone doing much for or with accessories right now. The minimalist trend is still lingering, and it’s not something I like to see.”
Dayne DuVall, jewelry designer: “I look to people like Donna Karan, who really knows her customer very well. I think, though, that her accessories have started to take something of a back seat. She was really the leader among U.S. designers in terms of setting accessories trends, but that has changed recently. I also really like Todd Oldham, and I think he does accessories incredibly well because he understands them, although it’s not always so clear as to who his customer is. And of course, we all have Karl Lagerfeld to thank for using accessories the way he has and bringing them to the forefront.”
Carlos Falchi, handbag designer: “Christian Lacroix is one designer who has always paid attention to accessories. He seems to just love them and love using them. And Issey Miyake is someone whose purity and clarity of design and experimentation with materials is very inspirational to me. I find myself trying out all kinds of new leathers the way he experiments with different fabrics.”
Colette Malouf, hair accessories designer: “Of course, Karl Lagerfeld’s work for Chanel influences accessories in a big way. But there are others, such as Calvin Klein, who have made some major statements with hair accessories. Sonia Rykiel, Todd Oldham and Jean Paul Gaultier have all drawn a lot of attention to hair ornaments with the use of combs, braids, bobby pins and other things.”
Robert Lee Morris, jewelry, handbag and belt designer: “I think Karl Lagerfeld is still the leading supporter of accessories with his work at Chanel. He has launched so many new ideas in terms of what he’s shown on the runway that remind people of the power of accessories. John Galliano, Vivienne Westwood and Jean Paul Gaultier also have a ball with accessories in their fantasy-like runway presentations. But this is something that I think is unique to Europe, and I don’t see designers in the U.S. doing much.”
Christian Roth, eyewear designer: “Karl Lagerfeld has its own unique way of showing accessories. Jean Paul Gaultier has also done a lot, especially with the ethnic look and body piercing. And Isaac Mizrahi shows a very good sense of humor in using accessories. These three, I think, have really done the most. Gianni Versace has also made some real statements.”
Marcia Sherrill, handbag designer: “I like Karl Lagerfeld, actually more in what he’s done in his own line than with Chanel. There is also a whole new crop of young designers — like Marc Jacobs, Laurence Scott and Victor Alfaro — who are really innovative and fresh and using accessories well. These are the types I want to design bags for.”
Jay Strongwater, jewelry designer: “Giorgio Armani has been doing so much with jewelry lately, and I’m just intrigued by the way he’s been using beads. He has shown some wonderful artisan looks. He expresses so well the way someone who wears his clothes would wear jewelry — very personal necklaces and so on.”