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What’s Selling for Holiday

Apparently, some shoppers still have the urge to splurge for thousand-dollar or higher items.

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Apparently, some holiday shoppers still have the urge to splurge for thousand-dollar or higher items.

This story first appeared in the December 7, 2010 issue of WWD.  Subscribe Today.

Consumers haven’t lost their taste for pricy fashion, especially outerwear, according to a spot check of bestselling holiday items in 16 stores. But given the economy, a large swath of consumers also remain stringent about holiday spending. Regardless of their preferred camp — luxe or conservative — women are favoring versatile styles wherever they can be found.

Bloomingdale’s is doing well with Moncler jackets, which range from $795 to $1,900 and which are available in long or short styles, including some with hoods and fur trim. Business is “sensational” for a $900 short black style, said senior vice president of public relations Anne Keating. “In the first place, it is very warm. And it is very fashion and very sleek,” she said.

Shoppers at Bogner’s U.S. stores are also snapping up outerwear — the $1,299 Freda-D feather-light down jacket in particular. With a Loden look, fine embroideries, and a thick strap on the back for an imaginative interpretation of the Janker look, the jacket has an alpine-inspired design and high-tech materials to shield off stormy weather, a Bogner spokeswoman said. The company has 60 stores worldwide.

Shoppers at J.Mendel’s four stores are snapping up the brand’s $3,895 sleeveless sequined, chocolate-colored wool dress with an organza back, grosgrain waistband and Finn raccoon trim. Several are adding a $2,995 chocolate-dyed silver fox muff and $1,395 black-dyed split skin muskrat leg warmers.

Dennis Basso, another designer with a Madison Avenue presence, has seen his customers gravitate toward an $18,500 reversible suede mink coat with a drawstring waistband and mink appliqué on the suede side. The style is the strongest performer in his three boutiques, including one that just made its debut in Moscow with a Naomi Campbell-hosted opening night party.

“This particular style has no age barrier,” said Basso of his bestseller.

Saks Fifth Avenue shoppers have singled out a $1,695 black Donna Karan cocktail dress that was designed exclusively for the store. New York shoppers may have seen the item displayed prominently in the flagship’s Fifth Avenue windows. Colleen Sherin, fashion director for the 47-unit chain, said, “It is an update to the Little Black Dress — sleek and modern with a superflattering fit.”

Bergdorf Goodman is ringing up sales for Lorraine Schwartz’s 2B Happy bracelets that start at $4,500 and Paul Morelli’s Meditation Bell collection that starts at $1,050.

At Vera Wang’s stores in New York and Los Angeles, women have been focusing on a $595 dusty rose-colored cardigan with tulle underlay and a ruched back and a $895 crystal tube necklace. Wang said, “The ‘shroud’ tulle and bustle back cardigan is artsy and easy.” As for the necklace, “It combines rock and roll with full-on bling in a modern, sophisticated way. Also, love the movement!”

Freezing temperatures have finally arrived on the East Coast, but Carolina Herrera boutique shoppers are buying styles for warmer climates. A $1,290 belted ivory cotton gabardine ruffle front dress and a $2,390 one-shoulder black and white polka dot chiffon ruffle dress are tops this season. At CH Carolina Herrera stores, this season’s winner is a $705 cap sleeve cocktail dress in a blue print.

Shoppers at Nanette Lepore’s 11 stores also seem to be envisioning more easy breezy locales. A $395 printed Sea Garden silk V-neck dress with a banded waistband and petal sleeves is tops for the holidays. Its color and print are pluses, and women also like that the dress can be easily worn now as well as in the months ahead, a company spokeswoman said.

Fans of agnès b. are also envisioning springlike occasion. A $245 slightly fitted cotton shirt in a bright pink floral print is all the rage at the company’s 246 stores. The designer is gearing up to open a new Howard Street store in SoHo this spring.

In Chicago, Ikram customers’ must-have item is a $3,500 Azzedine Alaïa lace-up, laser cut construction boot with a six-inch heel. “They are the most coveted thing on the planet,” said owner Ikram Goldman.

Another holiday hit is Wendi Reed tops, which retail from $450 to $900. “Everyone is mad for them. They are patchwork, intricate, embellished and come in a slew of colors,” Goldman said.

At Nicole Miller’s 12 stores, this season’s standout is a $385 jersey boyfriend blazer with matte black sequins. The designer said, “Everyone is loving the easy silhouette and pairing it with basic tanks and denim/leggings. The matte sequins make it unique and it can be worn both casually and to holiday soirees.”

Shoppers at Cynthia Rowley boutiques are buying the $350 Bold Shoulder dress, which fits the bill as a day-into-evening dress.

Lord & Taylor is seeing great demand for three Michael Kors chronograph watches that were recently featured in print ads. The top seller is a $225 white and gold one with crystal accents. The store’s executive vice president of merchandising, Liz Rodbell, said, “Watches are the sought-after accessory of the season.”

Scoop NYC’s top item is a private label $168 long-sleeve featherweight cashmere T-shirt. Director of marketing Beth Sturm said, “The lightweight style makes it ideal for layering. And it is high-quality cashmere at a reasonable price that is exclusive for Scoop.”

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