Luxury Is Getting Louder, and It’s the Accessories Doing the Talking

LONDON — Luxury is getting a little louder, but it’s the accessories, not the clothes, doing the talking.

In their fall 2024 seasonal report, Net-a-porter’s buying director Kate Benson and market director Libby Page offered an update on what’s been selling so far this year, and where they put their money for fall.

With the “refined luxury” trend persisting, Net-a-porter is banking on statement, oversize and embellished bags, footwear and hats to turn up the volume on fall designs.

“This season was all about embracing personality and individual style with big, bold accessories standing front and center. We like to call it ‘accessories in excess,’ a refreshing departure from the pared-back aesthetic of spring,” said Benson.

“Bags and shoes were colourful, textured and outsized, while hats and fashion jewelry all played a key role in creating the runway looks. This aligns well with how we are broadening our nonapparel offer with a focus on fashion and individuality,” she added.

Backstage at Ferragamo RTW Fall 2024

Backstage at Ferragamo RTW Fall 2024

Yu Fujiwara/WWD

As part of its “Excessories” trend, Benson pointed to giant bags by Balenciaga and Ferragamo, and look-at-me footwear by Gucci, Alaïa, Chloé and Tom Ford.

“We anticipate that strong statements will feature prominently in our bestseller lists,” Benson said, adding that bag styles such as the maxi Balenciaga Bel Air, the Bottega Smooth Andiamo and the maxi clutch by Ferragamo all fit the trend.

Big bag energy is everywhere, with Net exclusively prelaunching The Row’s Margaux clutch, a large, rectangular collapsible bag, at the end of May.

Page said when it comes to fall accessories, “the bigger the better.” She said that “360-bags,” or bags big enough to carry everything, have surged in popularity. “Women want bags they can carry everywhere, bags that are a real investment. Overstuffed styles are becoming the must-have item for work and play.”

Shoes are statement-making, too, with the Net team calling out Gucci’s platforms, Alaïa’s colorful ankle-strap pumps, Chloé’s thigh-high boots, and Tom Ford’s “sky-high penny loafer platforms” as some of the retailer’s big bets for fall.

Backstage at Tom Ford Fall 2024 Ready-to-Wear Collection at Milan Fashion Week

Backstage at the Tom Ford Fall 2024 Ready-to-Wear Collection at Milan Fashion Week

Delphine Achard/WWD

Even flat shoes are having an outsized impact. Net said it sold 8,500 pairs of ballet flats since January, 13 percent of which were Alaïa, which makes designs in mesh, perforated leather, or embellished with crystals.

Net is hoping those excessive accessories will balance out the refined, classic silhouettes that are in store for fall.

“Our customer preferences are clear, and we intend to double down and decisively expand our representation of luxury brands such as The Row, Khaite and Alaïa, where in some cases we have seen triple-digit growth,” said Benson.

Net would not clarify which brands were growing in the triple digits, but said that “some” of its top 20 brands have experienced that degree of growth.

Carven, where Louise Trotter has become creative director, has been flying out of Net’s warehouse — particularly in America. The team said that 55 percent of sales in the first week of launch came from the region.

The team said workwear staples continue to sell well, and the investment for fall has gone on shirts from Loewe, Carven and Bottega Veneta, and knitwear, such as twinsets and three-piece sets.

Other big buys for fall include ladylike looks from Carven and Altuzarra; English countryside and preppy styles from Victoria Beckham, Barbour, Toteme and Burberry, and 50 shades of burgundy, a color which the Net team described as “the new neutral,” and “the more sophisticated sister of red.”

Carven Fall 2024 Ready-to-Wear Collection at Paris Fashion Week

Carven Fall 2024 Ready-to-Wear Collection at Paris Fashion Week

Courtesy of Carven

Chloé has struck a major chord for fall, offsetting the quieter, more classic styles that Net has purchased.

“Chemena Kamali’s runway debut as creative director was faultless across all categories,” said Page.

“The clever combination of tough, slick outerwear layered on top of those beautiful slip-on dresses resulted in ’70s bohemia-meets-modern-day romantic, and I think the collection fills a much-needed feminine void in our luxury assortment,” she added.

Page revealed that Net bought 22 looks straight off the runway, many of them dresses. “But not all of them cost 16,000 pounds,” said Page.

Gucci Fall 2024 Ready-to-Wear Collection at Milan Fashion Week

Gucci Fall 2024 Ready-to-Wear Collection at Milan Fashion Week

Giovanni Giannoni/WWD

Benson and Page also assembled a “wish list” for fall, which included the versatile jacket dresses from Gucci, which can be worn open or closed; leather bombers from Loewe, and military coats from Tom Ford.

“In his second show for Tom Ford, Peter Hawkins flexed every single design muscle to show that he can also do daywear,” said Page. “That army of military jackets that opened the show was a statement, and we bought almost all of them.”  

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