Nov 22, 2017 | By Carlene Thomas Bailey
Oct 18, 2017
Within the world of luxury fashion, accessories have always played a major role. They offer a more affordable entry point for consumers to discover your fashion label and they are a key way to create a full lifestyle brand that goes beyond clothes. It used to be that luxury dominated in the accessories sphere, but then mid-market companies like Mansur Gavriel with its famed bucket bag and the Gaias Ark bag from Cult Gaia, built huge followings with their accessible price points and global status (pictured on every fashion It girl’s instagram feed).
But in the battle for the accessories consumer, don’t count the luxury market out. Just this week Marni announced its plans to strengthen the company’s accessories offering with four new store-in-store, stand-alone accessories offerings. According to Marni accessories account for over 40% of the turnover this year, and this number is driven up by the bags. And so, Marni is launching accessories stores within key department stores in successful markets. The stores appear in Rome (within the La Rinascente Tritone store), in Paris (a new concessions within the Printemps Louvre), in Madrid (an accessories area in the El Corte Inglés Castellana) and in Shanghai (within the Grand Gateway 66 mall).
And Marni isn’t the only luxury brand with a new renewed focus on accessories. There’s the new APC Accessories store in Paris, the first one the brand has done. There’s also a new Bottega Veneta flagship in Milan, which is just for accessories and a dedicated Gucci accessories boutique, which opened in Galleria Emmanuelle II in Milan earlier this year. And that’s only one part of the story, the standalone boutiques that luxury brands have invested in, but there’s also a dedicated focus on accessories in luxury department stores, such as the Selfridges & Harvey Nichols Accessories hall revamps, that we reported on here.
So is luxury winning the accessories consumer with these stand-alone stores and this renewed brand strategy focused on accessories? “In general I think there is an increased shift towards luxury accessories as they are much more transseasonal – people are buying less into expensive clothing that will be dubbed ‘last season’ after a few weeks, whereas a bag or pair of shoes will be in style for much longer. Brands are responding to this with wider accessories assortments, dedicated stores and even if you look at sites like Net-A-Porter or Matches, the accessories buy is so much higher than it ever used to be.
“I also think the emerging aftercare trend (brands going above and beyond to remain top of customers’ minds by offering leather/repair services after the sale) has something to do with the luxury accessories boom – brands are offering a better care service for bags & shoes and customers are buying into it,” explains WGSN’s Business & Strategy Editor Laura Saunter.
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