This year’s Couture show saw buyers feeling energized by the newness at the show and while the Couture sees around 4,000 buyers and media walk the show floor, as designer Anita Ko put it, “The buyers come see the show and mingle, and the orders…well, that comes later.“
As the Los Angeles-based designer sees it, the modern show model is about more than orders, “you are marketing who you are to the jewelry world; jewelry is such a personal and financial investment,” she explained. “You really have to come in with a strong point of view, and really show why you make jewelry, why you live this game. And finally, what you can offer your client.”
WWD spoke to retailers to see what trends they saw, what new designers stood out, and, most importantly, where they are putting their money:
Amy Lane and Lauren Painter, jewelry buyers at Bergdorf Goodman
What types of pieces have you seen your customers gravitate toward this past year?
Bold cuff bracelets, statement earrings and unique diamond pieces that can layer into their daily wardrobe.
What were your favorite collections of the show? The explosion of textural creativity at Silvia Furmanovich, the well-curated Iconica line extensions at Pomellato, sculptural and organic shapes at Vram, Portrait Cut diamonds from Arunashi, 4×4 Canadamark diamond collection at Muse, pop horn bracelets from Federica Rettore, stunning opals at Arman Sarkisyan, decadent diamonds from Nikos Koulis and even more development in the amazing “Feelings” collection that he debuted with Bergdorf’s just last month, a beautiful Couture debut from Prounis.
Trends? Shoulder Duster Earrings, sophisticated color, symbolic & protective medallion motifs
How many new designers did you buy? A few in the works.
Marta Nowakowski, vice president and general merchandise manager of jewelry at Saks Fifth Avenue
What types of pieces have you seen your customers gravitate toward this past year? Our customers tend to gravitate to casual luxury pieces across all price points and unique design and stone color combinations also draw them in.
What were your favorite collections of the show? My favorite collection by far this year was Vhernier — it was very modern. I was also impressed by Pomellato and Temple St. Clair.
Trends? Yellow and pink gold with colored diamonds. In terms of classification, bracelets and cuffs continue to be important.
How many new designers did you buy? We are still finalizing the new designers we will be adding for fall. We’re planning to add both fine and fashion jewelry vendors with a modern and fashion edge.
Any additional thoughts overall? We saw a great amount of newness from every designer at Couture this year.
Laura Jay Freedman, owner/creative director at Broken English
What types of pieces have you seen your customer gravitate toward this past year? I’ve seen our customer base gravitate toward bigger bolder pieces. More one of a kind, personalized and sentimental.
What were your favorite collections of the show? My favorite collections this year were Foundrae, Silvia Furmanovich, Anita Ko, Colette, Vram, Selim Mouzannar, Arunashi and Fernando Jorge.
Trends? There was a lot of enamel this year.
How many new designers did you buy? There was a lot of new talent at the show this year that I am really excited about. I think we will bring on five or six new lines.
Are your buy/orders up from last year, down or flat? Our orders were up this year. All of the designers worked really hard and it definitely showed.
Any additional thoughts overall? The show was great. Very curated and thoughtful. It has become a big extended family gathering. I look forward to it every year.
Jay Hartington, chief executive officer of Marissa Collections
What types of pieces have you seen your customer gravitate toward this past year? Our customers most recently lean toward layering pieces in gold and diamond. We have found a great opportunity to build multi-dimensional looks for our clients as they build their personal collection.
What were your favorite collections? Among the most notable this year were Irene Neuwirth (abundant color and carved flowers specifically), Nikos Koulis (new gold, diamond and enamel collection), Vram (innovative design and one-of-a kind use of color), Foundrae (continuing to expand on her tenets in such cool pieces), Anita Ko (new gold/diamond pieces that will be the next fashion classics), and Fernando Jorge (update to the Disco Collection in white gold). The common denominator among all of these vendors is that year after year their new collections are stronger than the year before.
Trends? The top trends that excited us from Couture were — Material: New innovation in enamel with a rainbow of colors available; Shape: Hoops creating sculptural interest for the ear; Styling: The continuation of layering jewelry
How many new designers did you buy? Not finalized yet, but four to six.
Are your buy/orders up from last year, down or flat? We had a very strong Couture to Couture so OTB (dollars) will be up from last year
Any additional thoughts overall? There is a great energy every year at Couture! This is the only show that Marissa Collections buys at annually because it is a one-stop source for established designers, curated new talent, and creative content groups.
Melissa Geiser, fine-jewelry buyer at Stanley Korshak
What types of pieces have you seen your customer gravitate toward this past year? Our clients are very casual and want to create their own look. Pendants and charms in a layered way have been the trend — we have a strong yellow gold base but are seeking a white gold brand.
What were your favorite collections? I had lots of favorites this year. Silvia Furmanovich, Nikos Koulis, Sylva & Cie, Loree Rodkin, Adam Foster, Anita Ko, Loren Nicole.
Trends? Lots of color. Pieces that do tricks or have multiple functions: Anna Maccieri had pendants that have a moving scene based on time or Robinson Pelham have classic links that can add pave diamond or colored sapphire pieces to them. A lot of single earrings and charms with more sophistication.
How many new designers did you buy? We are interested in several but have not finished making decisions.
Are your buy/orders up from last year, down or flat? We are up.
Any additional thoughts overall? My overall thought is that the market is strong and a lot of new designers have come up new concepts.
Soraya Cayen, ceo of Cayen Collection
What types of pieces have you seen your customer gravitate toward this past year? Overall we have seen our clients continue to navigate toward jewelry that wears well from day to night. They are looking for versatility and boldness in a non-fussy look. Yellow gold has become the staple of our sales. Cuffs, bold earrings and large cocktail rings are our most sought after jewels. Selling men’s jewelry that looks nothing like your granddaddy’s jewelry is an exciting new experience for us.
What were your favorite collections? We were very excited about Vhernier men’s collection. It is modern, sleek and a fresh approach as a collection that could actually be worn by just about anyone. Victor Velyan’s Paraiba collection was a blue dream. We wanted every piece in our store. We loved Mike Joseph’s very angular new look and feel this designer is going places. Karen Suen also designed a small collection of entry-level jewels, bringing her beautiful aesthetics to the American consumer.
Trends? We noticed the continued use of bold gold as well as the use of enamel to be a widespread trend. Most exciting to us was the widespread launching of beautiful entry-level collections by many designers who normally do not design for a budget conscious client. This year they went all out and offered entry-level pieces that are as exciting as their higher priced counterparts.
How many new designers did you buy? We added five designers this year
Are your buy/orders up from last year, down or flat? About the same
Joanne Teichman, managing director, and Alysa Teichman vice president, business development, at Ylang 23
What types of pieces have you seen your customer gravitate toward this past year? Our customers have devoured necklaces and are finding every spot possible to add a short, medium or longer chain necklace, pendant or beads. A “layer and mix” look is in our DNA and our customers have followed us as we create a true neck mess. The most flattering comment at Couture was that we had the best neck mess of everyone. It’s both fun and empowering. The other jewelry that is in great demand is earrings, specifically multiple piercings which are worn by our entire team. We just keep adding piercings and our customers follow.
What were your favorite collections? We were blown away by Irene Neuwirth, who is a top Ylang 23 designer, and we were an early appointment to grab her one of a kind carved flowers. Jacquie Aiche is a relatively new designer for us, and her one of a kind inlay pendants and rings are flying. We were amazed at Jacquie’s new collection, which added baguette diamonds to moons and tons of opal pieces. Beth Bugdaycay of Foundrae has created more exciting and complex stories with her pendants, and we bought them all. Lito’s new collection is so exciting, and we increased our buy of her jewelry.
Trends? The biggest trends were enamel inlay, stone inlay and unusual treatment of diamonds.
How many new designers did you buy? We added three new designers.
Are your buy/orders up from last year, down or flat? Well, we thought we were disciplined (i.e., flat) until the last days and just went crazy over some collections. So now our buy is up which is fine, because our business since January is substantially up and we have a very rosy forecast.
Any additional thoughts overall? Couture is the most important time of the year, not only to see new collections, but to intermingle with jewelers and retailers in the industry — we love spending time with old friends and are always excited seeing new talent. This year was very special; the jewelry was beyond.
Alex Lippin, jewelry buyer of Elysewalker plus Towne by Elysewalker stores
What types of pieces have you seen your customer gravitate toward this past year? Gold chains, diamonds and hoops. Where she used to buy more for every day, there has been a shift toward statement and a willingness to invest in a bigger, brighter and bolder piece. I am also seeing our customers gravitate less toward recognizable jewelry and more toward that which poses the question “where did you find that and who is the designer?” It’s a more emotional purchase. At the end of the day, there is one constant and that is quality and value — both of which have always been important to our customer.
What were your favorite collections? I always loved seeing what Sylva & Cie brings to Couture. Not only is she such a beautiful person, but she also finds the most gorgeous stones (from opals and raw diamonds to emeralds and sapphires) and works them into edgy and cool designs. Sara Weinstock really knows how to get creative with gold and diamonds. She is so good at taking a dressy concept and making it wearable for every day. Spinelli Kicollin never ceases to amaze me. Yves and Dwyer have taken a simple concept — a circle — and continue to churn out new, different and modern designs that make the customer want to collect more. Robinson Pelham (out of London) is a line that I found at the Couture Show last year. The designers continue to come up with creative concepts that truly turn the purchaser into a collector.
Trends? Enamel was everywhere at Couture — from Melissa Kaye’s bright neon to Selim Mouzannar’s enamel and diamond Mina collection, Marlo Laz lucky talisman coins in colored enamel inlay as well as landscapes and cosmic motifs in enamel from Jacquie Aiche. The pinky is definitely the finger of the year (Nouvel Heritage, Zoe Chicco, Sara Weinstock, Aisha Baker all offered fun and different pinky ring options). Modern pearls from Mizuki and Marlo Laz. I also saw lots of hearts in the form of earrings, pendants, and charms (Cadar, Muse Have a Heart campaign, Sylva & Cie, Marlo Laz) and the evil eye is not going anywhere. Plenty of evil eyes from VRAM, Lito, Sydney Evan, Celine Daoust, Jacquie Aiche to keep us all protected. Convertible earrings/removable components – earrings that can be worn multiple ways. From ear jackets to drops, components that are removable from hoops and huggies, etc. (Robinson Pelham, Spinelli Kilcollin, Sandrine de Laage, Nancy Newberg).
How many new designers did you buy? We will probably write three to four new designers/collections this year.
Are your buy/orders up from last year, down or flat? We are always adding freshness to our stores.
Any additional thoughts overall? Couture has done a great job in curating some of the best talent around. From new and emerging designers, to well established, fashion-forward and rare collectors, it has become the show that I most look forward to attending. Couture has really cut down on my travel (to New York and Paris markets) as so many of these designers and collections are now showcasing at Couture.
Kelly Golden, owner of Neapolitan Collection
What types of pieces have you seen your customer gravitate toward this past year? My clients have really invested and one-of-a-kind pieces and pieces which they can personalize or customize. They are loving all the colored stones and are gravitating toward yellow gold pieces versus white gold.
What were your favorite collections? There were so many that I loved, but stand outs were Irene Neuwirth, Fernando Jorge, Silvia Furmanovich and Foundrae.
Trends? Pendant necklaces and the talisman trend were very popular. Pieces that are created with meaning and a purpose. Large scale cocktail rings and bold yellow gold pieces. Lots of designers are also incorporating titanium into their collections as a way to manipulate color and reduce weight.
How many new designers did you buy? I will be adding two new collections this season.
Are your buy/orders up from last year, down or flat? Up, jewelry is a growing segment for my business.
Any additional thoughts overall? The imagination and creativity of the designers gets better and better
John A. Green, president and ceo of Lux Bond & Green
What types of pieces have you seen your customer gravitate toward this past year? There are several areas that customers have been gravitating to in 2019. More layering of smaller items with diamonds and using both yellow gold and white gold and platinum. Also color, aqua’s, tanzanites, opals, sapphires and emeralds are very strong right now. Bigger diamond bands, solitaire earrings and rings has also been a strong trend.
What were your favorite collections? Always the toughest question as buyers and owner. As what do we love or what do we love that will sell? Anyway, some of Temple St. Clair’s new collections with her great eye in colored stones set in the special color of 18-karat yellow gold were just gorgeous. They looked great, beautifully made and can be worn both casually and dressed up which is very important today. Temple truly bridges the old and new worlds together.
Trends? Colored gemstones keep the designers happy, with more ombres in their designs adding to the aesthetic composition. Also, many of the designers from David Yurman to Mikimoto to Jane Taylor and Alex Sepkus to many of the smaller designers see that layering is a great look and keep creating rings, earrings (with multiple earring holes this is a growing category) and bracelets that can be worn in multiples.
How many new designers did you buy? A work in progress but three or four.
Are your buy/orders of the show up from last year, down or flat? Slightly up.
Any additional thoughts overall? There was a nice buzz at the show and the jewelry community truly supports each other which is good to see. The inspiration for the cool designs that we were showcased for the awards with the regular designs and newness for most every brand shows that they are understanding the customers awareness for value, quality and design.
Elizabeth von der Goltz, global buying director at Net-a-porter
What types of pieces have you seen your customer gravitate toward this past year? Diamonds remain our top sellers, but customers are getting bolder with their jewelry purchases. It has been fun to see designers work with interesting new detailing, like colored stones and unique, modern shapes.
What were your favorite collections? There were so many. We loved Anita Ko, who we call Net-a-porter’s Queen of Diamonds. We adored Alice Cicolini and Brooke Gregson for their incredible craftsmanship and use of color. Melissa Kaye’s new neon and diamond enamel was also one of our favorite moments from the show.
Trends? Everyone is getting more adventurous with the use of color and different stones. This season there are a lot of incredible earrings, which is nice to see as this is our best-selling category for jewelry.
How many new designers did you buy at the show? We are going to pick up two new brands that we feel most passionate about; stay tuned this fall to see which brands we’ve selected.
Are your buy/orders up from last year, down or flat? We are growing the department a significant amount on the year. We are doubling the growth of the business — it’s an extremely pivotal time for the category at Net-a-porter.
Any additional thoughts overall? We always love Couture, it’s a beautifully curated show and fantastic that we get to see nearly all our brands under one roof in one week.