Resort is no longer just swimsuits and sandals.
As the stretch of resort collections at last has come to a close, accessory buyers are citing the “in-between” season as an important buy thanks to the market’s holiday-adjacent delivery dates.
“Resort is a very important season for Bergdorf Goodman,” said Deborah Soss, the store’s vice president and divisional merchandise manager of handbags and accessories. “A large percentage of our spring buy is designated specifically for this delivery. The resort collection helps to set the tone for the rest of the season; offering the longest presence on the floor and products available during the holiday gift-giving time period.”
Billie Faricy-Hyett, senior buyer of contemporary and luxury designer bags at Net-a-porter, said, “The main difference we see in the resort season is an increase in gifting. This usually results in huge growth across our core essentials offering; our amazing carry over bags in black from all brands at all price points see a lift at that time of year, as they are the perfect gift.”
Sarah Easley of Kirna Zabete said that she often turns to Givenchy’s resort collection for holiday season buys. “They always do fun, really happy tote bags or little zip pouches in seasonal prints that you can pop into your larger tote,” she said of the label.
Easley feels that more designers could incorporate holiday gifting items into their resort accessory offerings. “I wish that more would because it really is an opportunity. People would much rather have a fun accessory than they would a candle or book. I would like to see more fashion gift-y things with more imagination. I think it’s a little bit of a void,” she said.
Many buyers described the resort season as a piggyback or continuation of the fall collections, while invoking a sense of newness during what is often a spot of retail boredom, as the fall collections have been sitting on shelves for several months — and in many cases have already been marked down.
“Resort deliveries begin in October or November and that is still the peak of fall season, so we really need resort to transition with fall but provide a real pop of excitement,’ said Justin O’ Shea, buying director of Mytheresa.com. “We see a lot of times that accessories in similar styles from fall, but with glitter or a pop of color, perform very well because people don’t consider them to be a different season — they just consider them to be fresh.”
O’Shea noted that now more than ever, consumers are looking for buy-now, wear-now pieces, which the accessories market lends itself well to.
“Designers are paying more attention to ‘wear-now’ styles and what that means to the customer’s lifestyle,” said Erica Russo, Bloomingdale’s operating vice president and fashion director for women’s accessories. “Resort, as we refer to it now, has become more of a well-rounded collection as opposed to the idea of buying it solely for travel and vacationing. In some instances, resort deliveries can penetrate at a much larger percentage to the overall buy for spring. The delivery has slightly more longevity on the selling floor as colors and styles can carry through into the following season.”
Added Natalie Kingham, buying director at Matchesfashion.com: “Traditionally resort was for clients who were traveling to hotter climates during those winter months but increasingly it is now more about our global customer who is looking for newness throughout year. As an international online retailer our client wants to be able to buy in season wherever they are in the world, and has become increasingly impatient with the traditional fashion cycle and more interested in constant newness with a buy-now-wear-now ethos.”
The resurgence of handbags as a novelty item has also increased this year’s resort buys. “Spring 2015 was a huge return to bags,” said O’Shea. “Before that, shoes had been dominant for the past few years. For the fall season, which I just finished buying, we invested heavily into bags, and for resort, the trend will continue with bags being dominant. People are buying multiple bags per season because the offering has become not only so much more substantial, but the novelty factor is really being explored a lot more. There are more entry price points around 1,000 euros [about $1,100] from brands like Saint Laurent, and we’re noticing that people can buy more than one a season.”
Faricy-Hyett noted that the Resort delivery period is an important handbag purchasing one for the site’s customers. “Resort would usually account for 60 to 70 percent of our spend for a total CR/SS [cruise/spring-summer] season, as this is where we would buy all of the essential must-haves that our customers need in order to update their bag collections, like the Saint Laurent Monogram shoulder bag in this season’s fashion color, or a Chloé Drew in the new colorway,” she said.”
Kingham said that bags are the e-tailer’s most popular accessory category, with top brands including Isabel Marant, Balenciaga and Saint Laurent, while Soss cited mini crossbody bags and tote bags as Bergdorf Goodman’s “highlighted styles” for the season. Additional key styles for resort include saddle bags and small backpacks, with new detailing such as perforated leather, zippers and tassels. Important colorways range from muted neutrals to saturated brights, with color-blocking still a popular technique.