Out of rows and rows of booths touting the latest in bags, jewelry, scarves and all other accessory-focused goods at ENK’s Accessorie Circuit and Accessories The Show, both held at the Jacob K. Javits Center in New York City this week, one message stood out: affordable luxury is all the rage.
“We have a cowhide that we’ve embossed to look like reptile, so it adds that exotic look but is still affordable,” said handbag designer Lauren Cecchi. “It’s chic but still everyday luxury — all of the bags are under $1,000.” Cecchi, who produces her bags in New York , drew in a steady stream of buyers with her streamlined silhouettes and range of styles. “There is a lot of saturation of hardware in the handbag market,” she said. “[Customers] want something clean. We’re known for a silhouette versus a logo, and people are really gravitating towards that.” It was a theme that largely dominated both shows’ handbag booths, with crowds drawing for the simple leather tote bags at Alice.D, an Italian company with a mother-daughter design team, and Los Angeles-based brand Remi & Reid.
“It’s all the core collection,” said Monica Botkier, designer and founder of Botkier New York, speaking of what bags were selling.
It was the jewelry category, however, that dominated the convention center’s floor space, with the most attention not on the largely represented costume offerings, but rather the fine jewelry. “Everything we do is affordable fine jewelry,” said L.A.-based designer Adina Reyter. “It’s diamonds under $500. There is costume jewelry you can get for $200, but spend a little more and you can get something real. People see the value in that.” Reyter described her delicate, 14-karat gold pieces as ones “you’ll never take off.” The minimalist look was a popular one, seen at fellow fine jewelers, Poppy Finch and Kelly Bello. “Everything is meant to be layered,” Bello said of her designs. “I put an extra loop on my chains, and that way you can make them different lengths. The price is good for the quality. Even the pieces with a small diamond, you feel special because you know you are wearing a diamond.” Bello’s prices start at $85 for her signature 14-karat stud earring with a pavé white diamond.
Some fine jewelry designers played up the other extreme, using not diamonds but unlikely materials, such as rocks and wood, in their pieces. Brooke Seraphine, the designer of Seraphine Design, picked up 15 new retailers on the first day of the show with her unique, mineral and rock-centric designs. “I use faceted, brilliant Pyrite from Peru,” she said. “It comes out of the earth raw like that.” Among Seraphine’s most popular offerings: cuff bracelets in neutral colorways, priced between $155 and 290.
Samantha Nania stood out with her line of acrylic and wood jewelry, which she described as “a cross between sculpture, jewelry and art.” Nania’s booth featured two collections: her more artful, one-of-a-kind sculptural pieces and a commercial diffusion line of accessible wood rings and simple earrings. While the commercial line begins pricing at $65 wholesale, larger, more intricate pieces, such as an asymmetric choker made of silver, turquoise and beach wood will wholesale for about $225. “The price points are a bit high, but a store isn’t going to buy a whole bunch of these — they’d buy three or four,” she said. “In general, the price points make sense.”