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: 46Women 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: 38From 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: 30Hermès 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."4. WALLETSPercentage: 24Priced from $75 to $195, Nike-owned Cole Haan is definitely in the business of wallets. Its leather French Purse, for example, is detailed with shiny gold hardware and contains a hand-pieced flap with a magnetic snap closure and logo tassels. And its Village Travel Zip wallet in red (left) has a zip closure, multiple credit card pockets and nylon lining. This is how the Paris-based Goyard's elegant wallets are described on its Web site: "With its iconic chevrons, the wallet stylishly safeguards identities, especially those of organized travelers."5. BELTSPercentage: 14The shapeless volume seen in fall and spring runway collections has been feminized and updated with cinched belts as an added accessory. Karl Lagerfeld's spring 2007 runway had models cinching their Eighties-style dresses with wide belts (left). Miuccia Prada sent out belted blouses paired with briefs on the runway. Dolce & Gabbana's belts often carry the "DG" brand: Its Leopard-Print Belt has a gold-tone logo plate buckle. And Chloé's black leather Padlock Pouch belt shows off tonal metal hardware.6. STATIONERY (PALM PILOT HOLDERS, ETC.) Percentage: 10Fashionable paper? Absolutely. Designers Kate Spade (left) and Vera Wang have both gotten in on the act with their own stationery lines, while such venerable companies as Smythson are out to expand their brand beyond writing paper. In Vera Wang's boxed stationery, she includes stylish custom-designed envelopes that contain lining inspired by her ready-to-wear collection. Other accessories in the category include holders for items such as Palm Pilots, CDs and iPods. IPod holders are being made by high-end companies like Louis Vuitton and Coach. Coach's Signature case features the Signature jacquard fabric with leather trim, and a 12-inch strap with dog-leash clip is included as well. 7. BRIEFCASESPercentage: 8For those professional women who want to look fashionable — yet still be taken seriously — their briefcase options are rapidly growing. Tumi's Elements collection (left) is a sleek choice, while Cross, a $110 million firm, is now accessorizing professional women with modernized tote bags, laptop holders and other products. Dior Homme carries a modern alternative to the briefcase: the Toile Logo Canvas Carryall. The bag is accented with calfskin leather handles and palladium-finished hardware.8. LUGGAGE Percentage: 6ACNielsen's survey noted that nothing conveys the jet-set image like a matching suite of leather designer luggage. "The Louis Vuitton luggage set is iconic — both in the world of fashion as well as in travel," said Frank Martell of ACNielsen Europe. "It symbolizes the ultimate in designer travel." And luggage brand Samsonite has opened a number of Black Label boutiques worldwide, which feature different upscale collections, including its premium Black Label products, its Samsonite Vintage line, X'Lite, which is made from a lightweight material, and Scope by Marc Newsom — a collaboration with the industrial designer.9. KEY CHAINSPercentage: 6If you can't afford a bag, how about settling for a designer key chain? Gucci has quite the selection of them, all of which carry some version of the company's logo and are made with leather, brass and steel. Prada has its own barrage of key fobs, including ones for children. Burberry's leather-trimmed canvas key chain contains silver-tone hardware and retails at Saks for just $85. Other names dabbling in key chains: Louis Vuitton, Coach (left), Cartier and Bottega Veneta.

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