From $850 Balenciaga Crocs to designer debuts from accessory heavy-hitters Chloé and Givenchy — the spring shows offered a “mixed bag” of product, according to buyers.
While established houses like Chanel and Valentino offered cheeky antidotes to luxury fatigue, using PVC and a plethora of glitter, fresher names like Attico and Jacquemus also stood out with punchy, provocative heels and mini bags with lower price points, buyers said.
“I wouldn’t say that there was a clear trend, particularly with shoes this season,” said Cassie Smart, Matchesfashion.com’s shoes and handbags buying manager. “Each runway was representative of their respective brand.”
Smart added, “What was interesting about this season is that designers were thinking about what women want to wear when spring delivers in January, February, March. What will excite that customer in the overall mood of that season.”
This manifested, she said, in a variety of seasonless boots. “It’s good for us. Previously in January, when the summer collections dropped, we would be talking about sandals in our content and point-of-view on the web site. It will be interesting to push our boot listings this year and see what the sales return is on that,” Smart said.
Saks Fifth Avenue contemporary fashion director Cleo Davis-Urman observed a more general theme that the department store has labeled as “Embellish me.”
“The essence of the season, more or less, is decorating yourself,” she said. This resulted in decorative kitten and midheel pump styles – embellished with glitter, sequins and pearls. Some of Balenciaga’s bags, she said, come with removable charms – a feature that is “exciting for the customer.”
Barneys New York fashion director Marina Larroudé praised Saint Laurent’s feather boots, Isabel Marant’s diamante sandals, and Off-White’s Princess Diana-inspired collaboration with Jimmy Choo as styles “that speak to my seven-year-old self.”
“We need to create an emotion for clients who come into the store, so they will want to spend money. They gravitate towards something that feels unique — that is the trend we saw happening in accessories — extravagance and emotion,” Larroudé said.
“It probably has to do with everything in the world right now, how serious it is. If you are investing in fashion right now, you want it to give you a completely different [feeling]. People are being very creative in the way they are selling accessories these days – how many black bags does anyone need?” she added.
Net-a-porter’s global buying director Elizabeth von der Goltz said: “I felt like design houses did a good job making things a little more emotional. In this moment, for sure, there are so many collections and brand it needs to be something that feels emotional.”
Von der Goltz called out Loewe’s spring bag assortment with its lineup of gingham elephant pouches and logo-heavy totes – as a line that excelled at emotional heart-tugging. Perhaps there is no better lab sample than the house’s new furry, rabbit-shaped purse – the showroom sample of which, one buyer observed, was frayed from repeated petting during market appointments.
Other brands highlighted by buyers included the debut collection of new Chloé creative director Natacha Ramsay-Levi. “I loved the Chloé boots — if I could pick one shoe of the season, that was it,” said Larroudé.
“Chloé’s collection brought their style a little edgier and forward, especially for their shoe assortment,” said von der Goltz.
Attico also received praise across the board. The Milan-based label — designed by Giorgia Tordini and Gilda Ambrosio — launched in 2016. Its glitzy, devil-may-care approach to getting dressed — accompanied by a slightly lower price point — has earned it a quick following. The brand’s fabric evening sachets and spikey, colorful heels have experienced success at retail. “Their product just looks great,” said von der Goltz.
Wicker and rattan styles remained popular — with von der Goltz calling out styles by Carolina Santo Domingo, Ulla Johnson, Cult Gaia and Miu Miu. Moda Operandi’s vice president of non-apparel Jodi Kaplan pointed to straw styles by Loewe, Charlotte Olympia, Rebecca de Ravenel and Johanna Ortiz.
Smart noted that wicker has developed a seasonless appeal among shoppers: “There is a lot of trend around vacation wicker – we’ve been seeing it go through into winter and become sort of a season antidote. We had a wicker bag with a shearling lining by Muuñ that sold out in a day.”
PVC embellishments at Chanel, Gianvito Rossi, Valentino and Christian Louboutin were praised by many of the buyers. Jacquemus’ new build-a-block heels were noted by buyers for their unique shape, quirky sentiment and price point — less than $800 — which is below many other designer and luxury brands.