By  on May 14, 2007

NEW YORK — Metallic handbags and silver jewelry shined last week at AccessoriesTheShow, the Accessorie Circuit and various showrooms, highlighting the top trends for fall.

Fine jeweler Alexis Bittar showed his popular Lucite bangles, as well as a new collection called Elements, a mix of rough-cut diamonds and sterling silver. "It's very Ali MacGraw," said Bittar. "It's Seventies Bohemian, but at the same time, fine jewelry."

To complete the neutral look on fall runways, jewelry brand Lee Angel also showed a palette of silver mixed with blues and black, in hematite and onyx oversize beads, and in chunky onyx and silver bracelets.

"The gray thing is a big push for us in terms of jewelry," said Lee Angel designer Roxanne Assoulin.

Liz Claiborne Inc. clearly agrees — all the company's jewelry brands are having a silver moment.

"Silver is the key. It's what we're banking on," said Dina Battipaglia, president of Liz Claiborne accessories.

Claiborne's Kenneth Cole Reaction collection and its Laundry by Shelli Segal line feature silver mixed with anthracite and pops of color.

"Silver is the result of the gray thing," said Battipaglia. "It's the metal you want to wear with gray."

But tried-and-true gold is still a sure bet. Jewelry designer Alex Woo said she can't keep her gold cuffs in stock. Rita Villa, a buyer for Wendy Foster Sportswear in Montecito, Calif., also is opting for more natural and organic-looking jewelry for her customers.

"I'm going to be buying a lot more gold, especially rose gold," she said.

Los Angeles jewelry designer Zoe Chicco is sticking to the metal, as well. "We are all about gold for everything," she said. Her personalized pendants and stackable rings are available in 14-karat and rose gold.

In handbags, metallic patent leather and exotic skins are still the trends this fall and even into the holiday season. Handbag line Lodis showed them in an array of sizes.

"We cannot keep metallics in stock," said sales representative Chuck Lemiski.

Sondra Roberts also presented printed patent leather, patent vinyl and embossed exotics in an array of hues. "Metallics are very strong," said Robyn Albaum, the brand's New York sales manager. "Pewter, bronze and gunmetal shades give the bags more pizzazz."Albaum noted fall bags were smaller and a step to more practical, lighter day bags, complete with functional compartments and zippers.

"Oversize bags seem silly," said Albaum. "Our fall bags are lighter, not as embellished. We have no real hardware or studs this season. Our customers want a great shape first."

Lodis' Lemiski agreed. "Bags have got to be lightweight. Every buyer is testing how heavy a bag is."

Accessories brand Rafe New York is also enjoying its run with metallics. For fall, the line is featuring patent leather handbags in gold and silver, as well as in floral patterns.

"People are looking for things that are new," said Rafe sales director Tesa Totengco. "Patent is still strong, but we're doing a new treatment in patent and doing a huge clutch business."

Oversize clutches were all over fall runways. Neiman Marcus picked up the shape by brands such as Goldenbleu and Prada. The specialty retailer also supported the season's muted trend, presenting a Tod's handbag in gray ostrich paired with patent leather bags in teals and plums.

In legwear, over-the-knee socks paired with tights — as seen on the Prada and Diesel runways — surely will be making strides this fall. Edward Miccinati, design director for Stockingirl Legwear, sees the footed stocking as a key player in charcoal, black and truffle knits. Sparkle tights also will shine through into the holiday season.

Stacey Pecor, president of retailer Olive & Bette's, worked the shows in hopes of finding some fun accessories.

"I saw a ton of metallics and I love metallics, but I like mixing it up," said Pecor. "I want to see something colorful for fall. Accessories this season are much more fun than the clothing."

But for some retailers, trends are not always worth buying into. "I just want great handbags and great-looking jewelry," said Barbara Princenthal, owner of Gizay Michaels boutique in New York. "And I like gold."

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