NEW YORK — Thanks to a large presence in fall collections from Prada to Tuleh (and women finally having enough chandelier earrings in their jewelry boxes), brooches are bound to be the ‘It’ accessory for fall. Whether jeweled, feathered, giant or demure, pins made their way onto retailers’ orders during the May accessories market here.
With price being of little concern as quality of product won out over quantity of buy, retailers at the Accessorie Circuit and Accessories The Show were also buying into fall’s other key trends: oversized bags, linear earrings and anything in green.
Attendance fluctuated throughout the May 2-4 run. Buyer traffic was up 8 percent at the Circuit at the Show Piers, but down 4 percent at The Show at the Jacobs K. Javits Convention Center. Nonetheless, vendors at both shows said orders were up from this time last year.
“We’re up 100 percent,” said Roxanne Assoulin, creative director of jewelry company Lee Angel, at Accessorie Circuit. “The strongest [items] have been brooches, big beads, and earrings, still.”
In the past, earrings accounted for 80 percent of sales at Lee Angel, Assoulin said, but that percentage is waning as pins gain momentum.
She pointed out that many young women between the ages of 15 and 35 have never bought a pin for themselves. “So to be on trend, they have to buy one,” she said. Lee Angel showed colorful jeweled antique-looking brooches as well as larger dramatic ones that are meant to be worn on the back of a dress or the hip.
But while smaller boutiques may just be catching onto the brooch craze, large specialty stores had long ago finished ordering pins from major suppliers. Instead, they were looking ahead for jewelry trends that might begin taking shape for resort or spring.
Sunny Diego, director of women’s accessories and fashion merchandising at Saks Fifth Avenue, hinted that while the glitzy, glamorous trend in jewelry isn’t going away, it’s not moving forward either. “It’s all looking a little too [much],” she observed after making the rounds at Accessorie Circuit.
Still, she admitted, “[Gerard] Yosca had some great mixed-media brooches for fashionistas who get mixing feathers and jewels.”
Yosca, as well as other jewelry designers like Alexis Bittar, were surprised that designs they thought were outlandish were checking well with buyers. “I had some huge eight-inch flower pins that when I designed them I thought, ‘I love them, I don’t care if anyone buys them,’” Bittar said. “But they did.”
Retailers at the shows reported that their early spring business was strong. Most were placing fall orders but keeping an eye out for items to enliven their stores now.
Diane Tkacz, owner of the Diane T. boutique in Brooklyn, said she had come to Accessorie Circuit with an open mind and large open-to-buy. “Business is very good,” she said. “We’re doing really well with everything from apparel to shoes and accessories.”
Handbag designer Jana Feifer, who had a hit with initial bags last year, expanded her collection beyond monograms for fall. Key looks were an oversized slouch bag in both denim and tweed and a shoulder bag with exterior pockets in green.
“Kelly green has been stronger than anything else,” Feifer said. “I think everyone’s looking for color, and they also like the combination of tweed and leopard.”
Tweeds were abundant, and frequently combined with other materials, like faux leopard and silks. Surprisingly, large leather hobo bags were booking better than the structured styles one would expect to complement the ladylike looks on the runway.
The big bag craze continued at The Show with brands such as Latico and Cleo & Patek reporting that bestsellers were a large green tote and slouchy sling bag, respectively.
In jewelry, delicate multichain necklaces with green and purple stones performed well at both shows. Designer Melissa Joy Manning noted this strayed from the past trend toward big, chunkier styles. “These you can layer,” she said, to achieve a more dramatic look, “or just wear one and go minimalist.”
Jewelry designer Janna Conner, who had a booth at The Show, said her gold business is picking up. Earrings remain the strongest component of her line, which includes cluster earrings with tiny cascading beads in a rainbow of colors.
It was just that sort of trend that online retailer Allison Hale was looking for. “I loved [Conner’s] clustered drops,” said the Annapolis, Md.-based buyer for her six-month-old accessories Web site, Allisonswishlist.com. “It’s all about the linear earring with multidrops.”
Vendors said buyers had no price resistance across categories, be it a $225 bag or a $220 fur trapper hat from Helen Kaminski, who also showed a new line of bags for fall.
“I feel like people are really buying up, not like it was last year at this time,” said Dale Lindholm, president of the Pure Accessories showroom, which represents handbag lines such as Kale and Dante Beatrix. Lindholm was at the Circuit manning the booth at Kale for the Los Angeles-based sisters who own the label. Again, Kale’s large essential tote in colors such as deep blue, red, and even off-white were key sellers. “[Buyers are] upping what they did last year,” he said. “They’re not flinching at $225 for a bag, where last year it would be, ‘No way.’”