HOLIDAY HITS THE STORES
RETAILERS SAY ‘TIS THE SEASON TO BRING GLAMOUR BACK TO ACCESSORIES.
Byline: AMANDA MEADUS and WENDY HESSEN
NEW YORK — Now that glitter’s back in fashion, the holiday accessories season promises to be shiny, fluffy and colorful — much to the delight of retailers across the country.
Most merchants are projecting increases for holiday, with “dress-up” items such as jewelry, hair accessories and hats expected to spark strong business.
Rob Goldfarb, merchandise manager of accessories for Henri Bendel, believes that jewelry, which hasn’t been a strong classification in recent seasons, is poised to make a comeback for holiday. Novelty glamour looks, he said, will be the reason.
“We’re not really talking about opulence here, but the rhinestone-and-jet sort of glamour,” Goldfarb said, citing two looks he thinks will attract attention from consumers during the fourth quarter.
Luxury will be what the customer is looking for when it comes to scarves, however, according to Goldfarb, who cited velvet, especially burnout looks, and fake fur in hats and hair accessories as prime sources of it. In handbags, he pointed to softly structured pieces as the strongest.
Overall, Goldfarb added, he expects accessories business to be up by about 10 to 12 percent over last year.
Sheila Aimette, fashion director for accessories at Macy’s East, said she thinks fall’s polished and tailored looks will translate into dressed-up, all-out glamour looks for holiday that will be worn from day into evening.
She pointed to color, both pales and brights, as well as rhinestones, silver, fur, feathers and satin as key themes that will crop up in many classifications.
Aimette said accessories will be much more dramatic and noticeable than they’ve been in recent seasons. She noted that “big and chunky” silhouettes are coming back and that the dramatic or unusual item will be in demand.
Macy’s has planned increases in the “high double digits” for holiday.
J.C. Penney’s merchandise manager for accessories, Anne Gravseth, said she expects holiday business to be up by “high single digits,” compared with last year.
Texture will be a key theme in holiday accessories in knits, hats and scarves, in fabrications as diverse as chenille, polar fleece, patchwork mixes and Lurex metallic.
Gravseth said Penney’s also plans to “exploit the box gift category in a big way.”
Anne Keenes, senior vice president and general merchandise manager for accessories at Saks Fifth Avenue, said glamour will be her strongest theme, showing up in crystals, rhinestones, satin and anything with shine across all accessories classifications.
Also prevalent will be a wide range of looks full of texture and color in fake fur, cashmere, shearling and mohair, which consumers haven’t seen recently. These items will enable a customer to touch on a trend or color without buying an entire outfit, according to Keenes.
She added that handbags will continue to be a leading category for her, due largely to the variety of newness available now. She predicted that everything from little hand-held marabou looks to jeweled wallets on strings will be hot.
Saks has planned for conservative increases, but will remain flexible in order to respond quickly to demand for trend items, according to Keenes.
Sandra Wilson, accessories fashion director at Neiman Marcus, said the store feels strongly about an overall luxury statement that includes velvet, satin, cashmere, fake fur, exotic skins and fashion jewelry that looks like fine jewelry.
“While there are customers out there for whom the minimal look is still valid, larger silhouettes are looking good,” Wilson said.
Also key for Neiman’s will be the addition of a punch of color for holiday.
“Consumers are really responding to color,” Wilson noted, “It’s been needed for some time, and this infusion will give a boost to accessories business — it makes for an unexpected touch at the ear, on the neck, on hats.”
She added that, while deep colors and metallic touches will continue in bags, belts and scarves, bright pinks and reds will also be strong, with touches of acid greens and oranges that will translate easily into resort.
On the jewelry front, Neiman’s will focus on glamour — jet, garnet and diamonds — whether they’re the real thing or fake, faceted clear or colored stones.
Simonetta Morrison, vice president and divisional merchandise manager at Bergdorf Goodman, expects accessories business to be “definitely up — by about high single digits compared with last year.”
She said she expects knits and cashmere to be key for holiday, with shearling and fake fur in hats and gloves also strong.
Morrison sees the minimalist look fading away, largely as a result of the return to glamour and its demand for rhinestones and diamonds — a trend that works for both real and costume jewelry, with those who can afford it buying the real thing and the rest looking for pavÄ and rhinestones.
She added that the store has already held some trunk shows and seen a big interest in evening bags, especially those in satin or velvet.
Lord & Taylor’s senior vice president for fashion merchandising, Lavelle Olexa, believes that the resurgence of color in ready-to-wear will be reflected in accessories as well. She expects evening bags to be an important area, in fabrications such as velvet and metallic and novel silhouettes such as backpacks.
At Sears, Roebuck & Co., Chicago, rhinestones and faceted glass are expected to stir up jewelry business, as are boxed gift sets, according to a corporate spokeswoman.
Other classifications, such as hair accessories and belts, are projected to do well in metallic fabrications with fake jewel embellishments. Beaded and sequined handbags also look good, she noted, and expected to round out business are leather gloves, wallets on strings and boxed wallets.