MILAN — Who’s the hottest of them all? The question that constantly echoes in the Lyst offices was once again answered in Italian.
According to the latest installment of the Lyst Index report, which quarterly ranks the most sought-after brands and products, Prada, Gucci and Moncler were top of mind in the fourth quarter of 2022, closely followed by Miu Miu and Valentino.
Prada replaced Gucci at the top of the ranking, with searches for its products increasing 37 percent between October and December and with the Prada logo slingback shoes being the fashion house’s fourth item to enter the separate list for hottest products last year.
Moving up 14 places into the third position, Moncler scored its highest Lyst Index ranking since the fourth quarter in 2020 — reflecting a 76 percent spike in searches during the holiday period.
Bottega Veneta and Loewe gained five and seven positions, respectively. Incidentally, actress Margot Robbie deserves some credit for the Italian brand’s jump, as she created buzz — and plenty of memes — wearing a Bottega Veneta custom jersey dress to the Governors Awards in November, consequently causing searches for the item to skyrocket 143 percent in 24 hours.
Dior was the eighth most desirable brand in the index, followed by Dolce & Gabbana and Saint Laurent, both gaining three positions.
After a controversial end to the quarter, Balenciaga slipped seven positions into the 11th spot, falling out of the top 10 for the first time since the Lyst Index was launched five years ago.
Nike and Versace came 12th and 13th, while Fendi, Louis Vuitton and Diesel lost seven, six and eight positions respectively to rank between the 14th and 16th spots.
Entering the report for the first time, Ugg stepped into the 17th place, supported by a strong Gen Z following and more than 1.2 billion mentions on TikTok. Searches for the brand’s Ultra Mini boots spiked 82 percent in searches over the holidays.
Burberry, Coach and Jacquemus completed the top 20.
A “Breakout Brands” category introduced last year to highlight the fastest-growing labels outside this list made a return. For the quarter, it included Alaïa, boosted by placements on celebrities as well as Jenna Ortega’s viral dance as “Wednesday Addams” that totaled 1.7 billion views on TikTok, as well as 16Arlington and Mugler, whose searches were up 56 percent and 49 percent, respectively.
As for the 10 hottest product ranking, the Saint Laurent Icare quilted bag stood on the higher step of the podium, beating the footwear competition of the Prada logo slingback shoes and Dr. Martens Leonore Chelsea boots.
The rest of the list reflected such a duality between partywear and comfy options, with the 16Arlington Solaria dress and Mach&Mach heels with a crystal double bow ranking fourth and eighth, respectively, and sandwiching Acne Studios’ mohair checked scarf and the Loewe padded bomber jacket. The latter was seen on the likes of Hailey Bieber, Kendall Jenner and Taylor Russell and generated 478.5 million views under the dedicated hashtag on TikTok.
The Bottega Veneta Sardine bag, Miu Miu’s logoed satin briefs and the Crocs x Salehe Bembury clogs were also among the most desirable products.
To compile the report, Lyst analyzes the online shopping behavior of more than 200 million active users a year searching, browsing and buying fashion across brands and stores online. The formula behind the index includes searches on and off platform, product views and sales, as well as social media metrics, such as brand and product mentions and engagement statics worldwide.
“Five years ago, we wanted to make a definitive world-famous fashion chart, like the Billboard Hot 100 for music,” said Katy Lubin, vice president brand and communications at Lyst. ”What data tells us quarter after quarter is that the brands in the index drive culture….Together they shape demand, pioneer innovation and build value for entire industry. And while there’s often movement up and down, once you get to the top of the chart, it’s an exclusive club: 65 percent of the brands from the first Lyst Index are still in the top 20 today, and since it started only 16 brands have been able to enter the list. I did worry that with so little movement the report could get a little bit boring but thankfully in fashion there is always something to talk about, and so the data tells a thousand stories and right now what we’re seeing are lots of little fires.”
These included “trends moving faster and becoming more localized; communities becoming more micro and more engaged…small brands coming in hot, revival brands rising fast, climbing up the index….This is a new environment, a new customer mindset and there’s huge power in this shift away from mass global moments and toward building deep, meaningful relationships with individual customers. We are watching the communities surrounding the brands become more and more active stakeholders in their success,” Lubin said.
As numbers can tell only a part of the story, to celebrate the fifth anniversary of the index Lyst went straight to the source and asked directly some of the hottest labels how they succeed to spark, maintain or further fuel the heat.
On Tuesday evening, the company and its chief executive officer Emma McFerran hosted an event gathering industry leaders and designers at the Milan campus of the Accademia Costume & Moda fashion school to address the topic. Panelists included Remo Ruffini, chairman and CEO of Moncler; Lorenzo Bertelli, Prada Group’s marketing director and head of corporate social responsibility; Jacopo Venturini, CEO of Valentino; as well as Emilio Pucci’s artistic director Camille Miceli and Palm Angels’ founder Francesco Ragazzi.
While designers deep-dived on the importance of community and culture in their work, the executives offered intel on their businesses’ secret sauce.
Ruffini was generous in listing ingredients, mentioning energy, uniqueness, patience and focus among these. “You have to be concentrated on your own products and ideas, not watching too much around, and be really tuned with all generations — from young kids to a more mature crowd, especially in this moment when the trend has changed and we’re going to a cleaner approach [in products],” he said.
To this end, Ruffini underscored that “voices are never enough” to connect and engage with a wide array of communities, cultures and markets. Being flexible in adapting strategies and the vision to the macro changes was another key element for him.
“Of course, having great ideas and a great execution, which you have to do simultaneously, but also to dream,” Bertelli said about his own formula. “You need to have the time to dream and brainstorm by yourself, to do strategic or later thinking and get inspired. I’m not spending too much time just on fashion,” the executive said about balancing a deep-dive on a specific aspect of the business and zooming out of it — an exercise he said to come natural to him “maybe because I studied philosophy at university.”
Venturini was all about authenticity, instead. “For me, it’s a little bit different because I worked for different companies. I don’t think there’s a single recipe, every firm is different from the other, its values and roots are different. The most important thing is being authentic in the brand you work in,” he noted.
As CEO of Valentino, such a process started from repositioning the company “where it deserves to be as the most legitimate Italian brand of couture.”
“Being a maison of couture doesn’t mean only to do couture shows or dresses but having couture in the blood of the company, so having couture manners, intimate relationship between premieres and customers, an obsession for details and a very small, cozy and warm environment. These are the values that should be translated into the contemporary world, in the way we behave, in the way the stores are or we welcome our customers [there],” the executive said.
Asked about maintaining the brand’s heat over time, Venturini once again addressed the roots. “Everything starts from creativity,” he said. “Now I’m a CEO but I’ve been a merchandiser for many years and I learned to have a lot of respect for creativity.…For me, it’s an energy generator and I feel the responsibility to maintain this energy until it hits the store. So there’s a long process but you have to be coherent in everything you do [throughout it],” Venturini said. He pointed to the brand’s Pink PP show as an example, highlighting how the concept trickled down to stores’ reconfiguration, ads, website and social media accounts to keep “the strength of the creative idea” over the span of a semester.
“It’s very difficult [to maintain the heat]. I always say that the most important thing is to change before something happens, change before it’s too late. Even if the business and reactions are good, you have to understand what’s the next step of the brand,” Ruffini offered.
“Sometimes it’s really about being brave and just go with the idea,” echoed Ragazzi, while Miceli stressed the power of repetition and urged to “insist, insist and insist in your message.”
“My job every day is making beautiful things. It’s very simple and immediate and it gives people a way of showing their personality and transmit something about joyfulness and being well with yourself. It’s all we need today,” said Miceli, underscoring that her work is made easier given the colorful fashion house she helms creatively.
“A brand today has to create value to pass to its community but also to entertain, to be able to bring energy, stimulate customers and create something they have never seen,” Ragazzi added. The designer underscored the personal need to approach his brand with mixed media, spanning from clothing and photography to Formula 1 activations, like the partnership recently inked with the Haas team. “It’s all about catering the interests of your community and clients and try to reach them in different fields….I want to connect the dots and be right where they go on holiday, listen to music and so on,” he said.
Students in the audience asked for the ultimate tip, and the advice varied.
“Make sure you have knowledge, so study and travel a lot. That helps in having great ideas, and then have more knowledge on how to execute, because I always think that a product is not just a product but also comes with how you’re going to communicate it, they are just one thing for me,” offered Bertelli.
“I think you should continue to be curious,” agreed Venturini. “And you need to be humble because times change very fast and the taste of the customer is changing….[Along with being] passionate in what you to do, [these] are for me the three key elements, no matter if you have success or not. If you don’t have success, you will have it: you learn by your mistakes, you learn by doing. There is no other way,” he concluded.