NEW YORK — Accessories makers claim they have all the reasons for a good outlook on business.

Customers are embracing the splash of color in main floor handbag departments; long linear and chandelier earrings don’t seem to be coming off earlobes any time soon, and even hats are experiencing a revival of sorts with newsboy caps and fedoras favored by the likes of Jennifer Lopez and Alicia Keys. Retail inventories, meanwhile, seem to finally be in check, minimizing markdown and chargeback issues.

That said, there is a new challenge accessories makers and retailers need to address: how can they keep up and even accelerate the current momentum?

For fall, vendors continue to rely on many looks that worked in past seasons. Dominating trends include:

  • Fabric mixes such as tweeds and bouclé with leather for top handle duffel handbags and wristlets.
  • Men’s wear weaves like chevrons and herringbone.
  • Pebbled or pearl-tone leather.
  • Real or imitation fur.
  • Crocodile, python and pony skin handbags.
  • Long necklaces and pearls mixed with beads, painted or with a silk chiffon ribbon.
  • Colors ranging from magenta and violet to olive.


“The retailers are trying to get one more season out of proven silhouettes from last year,” said Craig Chorney, vice president of product development and trends at Accessory Network. “The jellies continue to be a phenomenon we haven’t seen in years. The handbag silhouette is the satchel. For fall, hats are important, particularly fedoras and newsboy caps.”

Ed Bucciarelli, group president of Liz Claiborne Accessories, said: “Color is driving the market. In handbags, it’s exotic skins and shapes like [long] satchels, and in jewelry, chandelier earrings, long linear earrings and longer treatments in necklaces. The trend is towards femininity.”

On the business front, Maxx New York has restructured its business, increasing the quality and price point for its core Maxx collection with plans to limit the distribution to better stores. Where once Maxx was priced from $98 to $200, it now retails from $150 to $300.

“Women are spending more money if they see more value,” said Robert Rokoff, Maxx’s creative director.Aimed at main-floor department store selling, the company softly launched Maxximum, which retails from $60 to $120. Rokoff declined to give sales projections for the new line.

The Sak, meanwhile, launched Alayna, a group of sports-inspired handbags in quilted nylon that seem inspired by high tech sneakers, from $40 to $74 at retail. Mark Talucci, The Sak’s chief executive officer and co-founder, said the euro continues to be a concern particularly in leathers, and the company is cutting margins to keep prices in check. It is also moving some of its sourcing to reduce its dependence on Italy for leather.

Designer Helen Welsh said, “The euro concern continues, but at least it’s stabilized, which means you can calculate prices better and cover margins.”

During market, handbag firm Mondani celebrated the opening of a 10,000-square-foot showroom. For the first time, the company unified its namesake collection with the licensed Hype and Adrienne Vittadini lines. The showroom also features Mondani’s Emilie M. collection, which launched this market and features 50 handbag styles in materials such as tweed and leather, and details such as grommets and studs.

“We felt there was a void in better vinyls and leathers at a [retail] price point between $50 to $100,” said Mondani owner Steven Hedaya of Emilie M.

The line targets department store main floors, and sales projections are between $5 million and $10 million, he added.

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