Accessories Headlines

Chopard Takes on London, Debuts Natalia Vodianova Collaboration

LONDON — Chopard is reaffirming its presence in London with a new Bond Street space and a slew of events to celebrate.
“Exit, Brexit, no matter what happens, London will always be London. It has historically been a great market for us because it’s so international. Regardless of race and ethnicity you get clients from the Middle East, Russia, Kazakhstan based here, also because of the schools,” said Caroline Scheufele, co-president and artistic director of Chopard.
That’s why the company jumped at the chance to increase the size of its Bond Street flagship, when the government granted them permission to build into the courtyard, gradually expanding from its first compact space in the British capital, opened more than 40 years ago.
“We used to call the very first boutique a chocolate box in 1997, because it was so tiny,” added Scheufele, who was in town to host an opening party with the likes of Julianne Moore, Alexa Chung and Marion Cotillard, followed by a luncheon with Natalia Vodianova to celebrate the model’s new collaboration with the jeweler.
There’s also a new design concept to mark the store opening, produced entirely in-house as a collaboration between Scheufele and her brother Karl-Friedrich Scheufele.
“Rather than going into

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EXCLUSIVE: Louis Vuitton to Take High Jewelry to Prague

PARIS — Francesca Amfitheatrof’s first high jewelry collection for Louis Vuitton is ready, and the house is going all out for the occasion, taking the pieces to Prague for a gala dinner in Vladislav Hall, a soaring monument of Gothic architecture.
Guests of the world’s biggest luxury label —150 people, mostly clients — will be served a meal by French chef Alain Passard under the ribbed vaulting of the Prague Castle hall, which dates back to the 15th century.
It’s only a slight exaggeration to say the event has been a decade in the making.
“Over 10 years ago, I attempted to do an event with Karl [Lagerfeld]” in Prague, explained Louis Vuitton chief executive officer Michael Burke. The pair shared a love of the city’s Gothic richness.
“It’s not a common fishing ground for most designers, we both loved it,” said Burke, who, like Lagerfeld, grew up in Germany.
“We had this in common — Gothic period is not very well understood by everyone, it has a more modern connotation that is not in keeping with its origins….It can maybe be compared with Surrealism today — it was soaring and free and imaginative and creative, coming off the Romanesque period that was very disciplined

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Ametti Reimagines the Golden Age of Travel

Ametti, an ambitious Italian-made brand of handbags, accessories and luggage, combines the fast-fashion learnings of its cofounders, Massimo Dutti alumnae Tessa Horovitz and Jessie Minikes, with a luxury mind-set, elevated materials and thoughtful design.
With its distinctive visual vocabulary and utilitarian qualities, Ametti’s handbags are designed to become heirlooms, while technology-enabled luggage has been engineered to corner the market on feminine traveling cases, which the cofounders believe doesn’t exist.
Ametti is expected to do $1.5 million in its first year, Horovitz said, adding, “It has a lovely lifeline ahead of it.” Powering the growth will be the principles of Inditex, Massimo Dutti’s parent, including “strategy, replenishment, distribution, constant distribution and a total offer.”
Horovitz and Minikes aren’t proposing a return to the days when air travel was chic and those who traveled on planes dressed stylishly. The whole exercise of flying has devolved from polished looks and matching Louis Vuitton luggage, to sweatpants, hoodies and sneakers and backpacks. Ametti’s cofounders believe there’s something to be said for polished and matchy-matchy.
As Massimo Dutti’s creative director for casual, Minikes traveled constantly and was struck by the disconnect between designer handbags and masculine luggage. “We were slapped with gender roles in the Fifties,” she said, “for

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BH Mafia’s It Bag is Plastic and Fantastic

LOS ANGELES — Call it PVC perfection and the BH Mafia’s got it.
The young lifestyle brand’s gaining a following with its plastic creations, most notably a PVC tote bag with metal hardware closure in two sizes, flying under the banner of the “Fantastik Plastik” collection in myriad colors. Now, its founder wants to expand into PVC apparel.
“I was traveling a bit more and I was going to a lot of tropical locations, and what I was seeing were all these women going to the Four Seasons and resorts, but they were not bringing their designer bags with them,” said Ethan Campbell, the brand’s founder. “I had the idea of creating a piece that was a classic silhouette and that would be well-known in the market.”
The name, a label for what Campbell calls his friend and follower base, he originally hoped to have on a custom license plate. It was the perfect seven letters. The California Department of Motor Vehicles didn’t think so and rejected the application.
Although BH Mafia’s followers have largely filtered to the brand through the bags — it’s number-one seller — the line also includes decor, such as silk pillows and framed art. The general idea is to

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Hermès to Expand Leather Goods Production in Southwest France

PARIS — Hermès International is continuing to expand production for its gloves and small leather goods in France due to growth in demand. The luxury goods house has said it will move its Ganterie Maroquinerie de Saint-Junien factory to a 54,000-square-foot brownfield site neighboring its existing factory by 2022.
It will also double the workforce employed at the facility — from 130 to 260 — in the same time frame.
Hermès saw its leather goods and saddlery sales grow 16.9 percent to 808.2 million euros in the first quarter of 2019. The division’s sales increased 6.3 percent to 2.98 billion euros in 2018.
In May, Hermès opened a new training workshop for its leather artisans near Lyon, France, and two new factories, in the Gironde and Seine-et-Marne regions, are also in the works, with plans for each to employ 250 artisans.
The Saint-Junien facility was acquired by Hermès in 1998. Its existing 16,000-square-foot site was renovated in 2017.

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Cartier Women’s Initiative Awards Arrive in San Francisco With Lupita Nyong’o, Maria Shriver

What does luxury brand Cartier have to do with preventing diabetes-related lower limb amputations, promoting affordable cancer detection and aiding cash-strapped farmers in Cameroon? These are just three world problems being addressed by female-run, impact-driven businesses that will be funded as part of the 2019 Cartier Women’s Initiative Awards.
This week, Cartier brought its global business competition to North America for the first time, to the new center of the world’s wealth and entrepreneurship: San Francisco. A panel of 35 judges reviewed 2,900 applications from 142 countries, narrowing them down to 21 finalists, who were brought to the Bay Area for a week’s worth of events, mentorship, financial and presentation coaching as part of the luxury brand’s values-based proposition, which started in France in 2006 and had been held in Singapore for the past two years.
On Thursday night at the Fort Mason Center for Arts and Culture, a business-y rather than bejeweled crowd gathered to see Cartier award $100,000 each to seven winners: Yeon Jeong Cho, founder of online language service for seniors in South Korea SAY Global; Carmina Bayombong, founder of the InvestEd investment platform providing student loans for underserved youth in the Philippines; Zineb Agoumi, French founder of affordable

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Bulgari Sets New York Pop-up for B.zero 1 Collection

Bulgari will open a pop-up shop to mark the 20th anniversary of its B.zero 1 collection within New York’s Oculus mall.
The shop — running from May 2 to 8 — will take the form of a 3,400-square-foot, ring-shaped gilded labyrinth. It is the first pop-up of its kind, and should it prove a success, Bulgari will take the format on the road to celebrate B.zero 1 in other cities.
“This year is the 20th anniversary of the design, which was released in 1999 on the eve of the new millennium,” said Daniel Paltridge, president of Bulgari North America. “Over the past 20 years, it’s taken on a life of its own, it’s become an iconic design. It’s striking, bold and unique. Historically, rings have been rather generic, this collection transformed people’s idea of what a ring should look like or be worn like.”
Paltridge said the pop-up is somewhat strategic, given B.zero 1’s amorphous appeal and how that suits modern consumer trends. The style is enjoyed by men and women, and as ceremonial jewelry or as an item for self-purchase. In February 2018, Bella Hadid was named the line’s ambassador to help rope in a younger clientele.
“I think the notion of why

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Papusse Wants to Take Italian Slippers Global

A signature velour indoor slipper from Italy’s Friuli Venezia Giulia has in recent years become a distinctive trait of the Milanese chic way of dressing.
With her brand Papusse, Carlotta Minuto, a former merchandiser at Ralph Lauren and Giorgio Armani in New York, wants to take the style global, by expanding its international presence through online sales and select retailers.
Crafted by artisans based in the North Eastern Italian region using cotton velvet sourced in Tuscany, the slippers — traditionally called friulane — are modeled after shoes rather than indoor footwear, with the outer sole featuring a signature tire pattern crossed by multiple stitching to enhance breathability. “At Ralph Lauren I learned how to think about items that people would want to wear everyday,” Minuto said.
“My aim was to elevate the shoes, create a luxury version and make a brand out of them. There were other options but they looked cheap and I knew artisans who could craft them in a luxurious way,” she added. “Although they are traditionally aimed at indoor use, the friulane [slippers] can add a cool factor to the look.”
Available in a range of colors including orange, bright green and midnight blue, the shoes retail at 85 euros

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China Set to Become Bulgari’s Top Global Market This Year

BEIJING — What China slowdown?
Fifteen years after Bulgari opened its first store in mainland China, a tiny 8-square-meter boutique in Beijing’s Peninsula Hotel, business is looking better than ever for the Roman jeweler.
On Monday evening, the brand made a big show of opening its “Serpentiform” exhibition in Chengdu, inviting celebrities including Jolin Tsai and Kris Wu to appear on the red carpet. The exhibition will run until August 25 at the Chengdu Museum.
Speaking by phone from the Sichuan capital as the event was about to get underway, Bulgari chief executive officer Jean-Christophe Babin revealed why these big investments are worth the cost.
“Mainland China will be, in 2019, the number-one world market for Bulgari,” he said. “China continued to grow very fast on a big base already last year, so it will be by the end of the year. The outlook is extremely positive.
“We are, according to Hurun Institute, which polls the richest people in the country, the most reputable and desired jewelry brand for rich Chinese,” he continued, “and the most desirable gift brand for a rich Chinese as much as the second best jewelry-watch brand for wealthy Chinese.”
Currently, Japan is Bulgari’s leading market. Hong Kong and Macau, if treated

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Safilo Sets Up South Korean Joint Venture

MILAN — Italian eyewear manufacturing company Safilo has set up a joint venture with South Korean’s Parma International, a group active in the eyewear and sport goods sectors.
As part of the joint venture, Safilo will own 51 percent of the newly formed company, which will distribute the collections developed by the Italian group in the South Korean market.
“We are committed to building a solid, profitable and long-term business in South Korea, a market that holds strategic importance for Safilo at a global level, both for its domestic market and for its role as a trendsetter in design for the whole world,” explained Angelo Trocchia, chief executive officer of Safilo Group. “Parma International’s experience in distribution and knowledge of the local wholesale and retail market make them an ideal partner with whom to develop our longterm growth strategy.”
Sangken Park, ceo of Parma International, highlighted that the two companies share the same “vision and approach, and I am sure that the creation of this joint venture will enable us to strengthen and accelerate our respective businesses.”
The eyewear manufacturer’s collections were already distributed in South Korea through local partner Seeone, which will continue to manage the distribution of some of Safilo’s brands, to

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Breitling Opts Out of 2020 Baselworld, Rolex to Expand Fair Space

PARIS — In a setback for Baselworld, Breitling has opted out of next year’s edition of the fair, citing the event’s timing, which was moved in coordination with a rival show in Geneva.
Moving quickly to demonstrate there are also signs of life at the fair in Basel, Switzerland, Baselworld organizers said that Rolex plans to expand its own stand into space previously occupied by its sister brand Tudor, while setting up an additional stand for Tudor in the central Hall 1.0.
The “decisive factor” in Breitling’s decision to skip the fair next year was “first and foremost the new Baselworld date at the end of April, which cannot be reconciled with our planning,” said Georges Kern, Breitling’s chief executive officer, in a statement. The executive has decided to hold a summit event and a series of roadshows to drum up business normally conducted at the fair.
Seeking to stem an exodus of brands that have left Baselworld over the past two years, show organizers, in a coordinated effort with the Salon International de la Haute Horlogerie, or SIHH, rescheduled the events to take place back-to-back, allowing international visitors to hit both fairs in one trip. SIHH is scheduled for April 26 to

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Rebag’s Charles Gorra Discusses the Power of Resale

Charles Gorra, founder and chief executive officer of Rebag, the digitally native luxury resale business with five stores, believes several massive trends are powering the resale market.
The first driver is that Millennials are seeking sustainable products; the second is value shopping, particularly after the recession, and the third is that the sharing economy is rising and people want to be asset-less. Witness the success of Lyft and Rent the Runway, he said.
“Consumers want to be smart with what they own,” said Gorra, noting that the resale market is becoming mainstream and heading to $40 billion by 2022. The current size of the resale market is roughly $20 billion.
Gorra believes that the trajectory of resale shopping is similar to what happened with online shopping 20 years ago. He recalled that in 2000 when Net-a-porter launched, people were skeptical about whether customers would buy luxury online. Fast-forward 15 years, and you see Net-a-porter, Yoox and Chanel investing in Farfetch .
“We think resale is going through some of these motions,” he said. “The same skepticism that was around online about two decades ago has somehow replicated itself in that theme. In reality, there’s been a huge shift toward the resale mind-set post-recession.”
Specifically, he

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Manolo Blahnik Prepares to Take Control of U.S. Business

LONDON — Manolo Blahnik International Ltd. is planning “significant strategic investment” in its North American operations as it prepares to take control of business in the region after 37 years.
The company said Tuesday it would reveal more details in due course. It will take the reigns of the North American business on Jan. 1, 2020.
As reported Monday, long-term licensee George Yurgaitis, president of Manolo Blahnik USA, and Anthony Yurgaitis, vice president of the company, announced that the two parties have chosen not to renew their license.
Kristina Blahnik, global chief executive officer of Manolo Blahnik International Ltd., is looking forward to what lies ahead. “These are very exciting times for Manolo Blahnik. The USA and Canada are a core part of our business, which we are fully committed to.
“We thank George and Tony for their success in building the North American foundations and we look forward to announcing plans for significant growth and investment,” she added in a statement.
“George and Tony have been very good friends for decades. We have shared a great deal over the years and on behalf of the Blahnik family, I wish them well for the future. Change can be hugely beneficial and this heralds a promising

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Influencers, Celebrity Remain Key Parts of ShoeDazzle Growth Strategy

ShoeDazzle is perhaps finally finding firmer footing with its own brand identity.
The business, part of TechStyle Fashion Group and started in partnership with Kim Kardashian, has been built on pop culture with its heavy use of celebrity and influencer collaborations. It now appears to be putting a finer point on that through its assortments under the leadership of recently appointed general manager Petra Braun Fukuda.
“We have done celebrity partnerships throughout the years and I think what is recently happening is that we expanded this strategy of having a much wider range of influencers and people we want to have collaboration partnerships with,” said Fukuda, who most recently served as senior vice president of the brand and has also worked on sister brand JustFab since joining the company in 2010.
ShoeDazzle is part of the TechStyle family of businesses, which also includes Fabletics, Fabkids and Savage x Fenty.
The focus on only A-list celebrities, in the vein of people such as Gwen Stefani or Keke Palmer (both of whom ShoeDazzle has worked with in the past), with millions of followers isn’t the sole emphasis. Instead, Fukuda said, the company is looking for influencers across a broader range of categories, ranging from lifestyle to

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Italia Independent Names New CEO

MILAN — Italia Independent has a new chief executive officer, Mario Pietribiasi.
In his new role, he succeeds Giovanni Carlino, who joined Italia Independent in November 2016.
Pietribiasi has a deep knowledge of the eyewear industry. He covered several roles, including country manager, sales director EMEA, ceo for Asia Pacific and global sales director, at Safilo, which he joined in 1987. In 2012, he founded Hong Kong-based eyewear firm Koru.
Italia Independent’s main investor Lapo Elkann will maintain his role of president of the company he cofounded in 2007. “I’m happy to continue guiding Italia Independent in the next few years and with the support of Mario Pietribiasi, I’m sure we will be able to execute the relaunch plan we have already kicked off,” he said.
In February, investment fund Creative Ventures Srl acquired 25.44 percent of Italia Independent.
Creative Ventures Srl is controlled by the fund Talent EuVeca through AVM Gestioni Sgr and investment fund Centurion Global Fund Sicav. Italia Independent is listed on the AIM Alternative Market of Capital segment of the Milan Stock Exchange.
Creative Ventures Srl agreed to increase Italia Independent’s capital by 6 million euros through the issue of 2.6 million shares valued at 1 euro each. At the same time, Elkann

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Manolo Blahnik Splits With Longtime U.S. Partners

NEW YORK — George Malkemus, president of Manolo Blahnik USA, and Anthony Yurgaitis, the company’s vice president, have not renewed their long-running license with the British luxury shoe company.
A statement sent by the Manolo Blahnik U.S. business to WWD said: “After meeting with Kristina Hulsebus, Mr. Blahnik’s niece, who, along with her in-house counsel and financial adviser, offered unacceptable terms, George Malkemus and Anthony Yurgaitis, on behalf of MBUSA, have chosen not to renew their license agreement of 37 years.”
Speaking with WWD on Monday afternoon, Malkemus clarified that he and Yurgaitis’ license ends in December, and they informed staff of their license’s approaching conclusion Monday morning.
Malkemus says he met with Hulsebus on Feb. 25 and that their license agreement was “always renewable.” He added that “ideas have not always been in sync and [the relationship] sort of came to a conclusion,” but declined to go into details about he and Hulsebus’ differences.
“This was not hinged by a financial disagreement,” he clarified.
Representatives from the Manolo Blahnik headquarters in London declined comment.
According to Malkemus, who with Yurgaitis has steered the company’s U.S. business through prosperous times, including its prominent feature in the “Sex and the City” television series, the U.S. accounts for

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Leather Goods Brand Hobo, Model Karen Elson Partner for 4th Installment of Artisan Series

Handbag brand Hobo has partnered with model and artist Karen Elson on a limited-edition collection of bags.
The collaboration is the fourth installment in the brand’s Artisan Series, where the heritage leather goods brand works with female artisans across all genres on small batch collections. The Karen Elson assortment is made up of 55 bags, priced from $228 to $458, and use one-of-a-kind hand-painted illustrations by artist Costanza Theodoli-Braschi. The designs are centered on a theme called “Oh My Goddess.”
“My inspiration for the bags was to celebrate women by using symbols of femininity to empower,” Elson explained. The bags will include painted artwork such as snakes, wild flowers, fauna, pearls, beetles and phrases. “Cosi’s [Theodoli-Braschi’s] artwork beautifully exemplifies these historical gender connections,” she added.
“I am most inspired by the original, authentic creators who redefine how we view things and do it with individuality and confidence,” said Hobo design director and founder Koren Ray. “I was incredibly excited to see Karen put her touch on our leather bags and the Oh My Goddess collection. As a woman and mother, Karen’s vision surrounding female love, acceptance and empowerment speaks to me and became the perfect narrative for this collection.”

Bags from the Hobo x

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Chaumet Opens Temporary Shop On Rue Saint-Honoré

PARIS — Chaumet has opened a temporary shop on the Rue Saint-Honoré, the buzzy, upscale thoroughfare running along the Right Bank in Paris, a stone’s throw from its Place Vendôme flagship which is undergoing renovation.
Located at 392 Rue Saint-Honoré, the pop-up store is positioned to tap into the flow of luxury shoppers that flock daily to the neighborhood’s high-end destinations including Chanel, Louis Vuitton and Boucheron flagships.
The LVMH Moët Hennessy Louis Vuitton-owned label is refitting the various floors of its Place Vendôme address, with plans to add bas-relief tiaras and carved wheat stalks to the ground-level store, while also refurbishing the workshops and salons on the upper floors of the house.
High-end jewelers around the world are revisiting store formats to make them welcoming, distinctive and picture-ready for social networks in order to stand out in a digital era, where choices have multiplied for consumers, adding pressure on brands to find ways to stand out.
Chaumet earlier this year ventured into the Left Bank of the Paris capital, a neighborhood known as a stomping ground for intellectuals as much as a shopping destination, where it hosts exhibits and events, open to the public.
The first exhibition, which opened in February, explored the relationship

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Watchmakers Double Down on Classics at Baselworld

BASEL, Switzerland — Reflecting uncertainty in the Swiss watch industry, tensions bubbled under the surface of this year’s subdued edition of the Baselworld fair. Generations mingled, with a number of labels offering fresh takes on classic models while a new crop of managers pushed tentatively into the future, roping in technology to build instruments for sport — handy on the wrist, tied to the smartphone.
Organizers, who are laying the groundwork for a different strategy and have moved the dates next year to coincide with the end of Geneva-based Salon International de la Haute Horlogerie — in a coordinated effort with the rival show — had flagged it as a transitional year.
But transitions tend to be awkward, and ongoing speculation about who will take part in the future cast a cloud over the event, even if this show was anchored by a roster of industry heavyweights — LVMH Moët Hennessy Louis Vuitton labels Bulgari, Hublot, Zenith and Tag Heuer, along with the sector’s leading brand Rolex, Patek Philippe and Chanel.

Baselworld’s central plaza
Courtesy

Crowds were thinner, with visitor numbers down 22 percent to 81,200 and a similar drop in exhibitors to 520, felt by the extra space left by the departure of Swatch Group labels,

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Fall 2019 Accessories Trend: Boots on the Ground

“Boots marched down the runway of every city this season,” said Roopal Patel, senior vice president and fashion director of Saks Fifth Avenue.
Combat, knee-high, metallic, animal prints and all-weather varieties finished off many of the best collections for fall 2019.
“There were very few heels on the runway, the idea of the sneaker was gone,” Patel added. “By the time we got to London and Milan, it just felt like such a boot season.”
“The chunky black Chelsea boots at The Row were a true favorite and an early indication of the footwear trends we’d see on the fall runways after New York,” added Elizabeth von der Goltz, global buying director of Net-a-porter.
Boots are a perennial buy for retailers, but it’s not always an obvious sell.
“It was hard for me in seasons past. Yes, we always bought boots, but you didn’t know what they were going with because people were buying leggings and lots of skinny pants,” explained Jeffrey Kalinsky, vice president and designer fashion director at Nordstrom. “But the clothes this season are going to call for a boot more than in seasons past.”
Indeed, longer skirt lengths — and the cool culottes Hedi Slimane paraded at Celine — call for to-the-knee

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