By and  on November 2, 2006

The top nine designer accessories female consumers around the globe are purchasing.

In the business of fashion, accessories are simply the icing on the clothing that comes down the runway. This year's spring collections showcased plenty of different accessories. While Gwen Stefani debuted her new handbag collection over at L.A.M.B., Marc Jacobs and Oscar de la Renta sent out items such as hats and sunglasses, respectively. For its Global Luxury Accessories Survey, ACNielsen asked more than 23,000 online consumers around the world which designer accessories (not including jewelry) they are currently purchasing. Below, a ranking of female respondents' answers and a look at the designers who are taking these categories to new levels.

1. SHOES
Percentage of female respondents who are currently buying the designer accessory: 46

Women just can't live without their Jimmy Choos and their Manolos these days. Thanks in part to films such as "In Her Shoes" and shows like

"Sex and the City," designer shoes are the favored accessory for almost half the survey's respondents. Celebrities can also increase a designer's status just by being photographed in his or her shoes — Kate Moss, Jessica Simpson and Nicole Kidman are just a few celebs who have helped raise awareness of Christian Louboutin's collection by showing up at red-carpet events donning a pair.

2. HANDBAGS
Percentage: 38

From Marc Jacobs to Fendi, Coach to Michael Kors, designers are rushing to come up with the key bags for the season. Ralph Lauren made a push into the category earlier this year with its line of Ricky bags. Said WWD in September, "Ralph Lauren premiered the luxe Ricky and Voyager bags on the runway in 2005, paving the way for the Polo Ralph Lauren's push into accessories throughout its brands." YSL's Muse bag (left) is also a hit: For the second quarter ending June 30, Jean-François Palus, chief financial officer of parent PPR, said the brand's leather goods sales improved 43 percent on the strong performance of the Muse bag.

3. SUNGLASSES
Percentage: 30

Hermès is a fashion house known for its accessories. And Jean Paul Gaultier made sure to doll up his models with plenty of items on his spring runway, namely sunglasses. WWD reported in July that Marc by Marc Jacobs will soon have its line of sunglasses beginning this month in the U.S., priced from $80 to $120. Former Gucci creative director Tom Ford introduced his own line of sunglasses last spring, produced under a license with Marcolin Eyewear. "Even if it's only an accessory, it's a very potent accessory," Ford told WWD. "It's like a car. It makes a statement about what design is at any given time. It's sculptural in that way."

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