Início Tech Jewelers, Buyers Cautious Yet Steadfast at the 2024 Couture Show

Jewelers, Buyers Cautious Yet Steadfast at the 2024 Couture Show


LAS VEGAS — There was a palatable energy of excitement, even while cautiously planning the year ahead, among buyers and creatives at the 2024 Couture Vegas jewelry and watch show.

Like all industries, the jewelry market is weathering uncertainties — recession concerns are top of mind, gold prices are on the rise, and consumers are more discerning than ever even as the category continues to expand.

This year’s event saw about 300 brands across the show floor and Wynn villas. While numbers are not publicly shared, it is understood that about 4,000 members of the jewelry community attended to replenish their current assortments, meet new designers, track trends and talk shop with fellow executives.

Gold concerns

Influenced by a combination of economic, geopolitical and market dynamics, the price of gold has seen a significant increase over the past few months, rising more than 13 percent since March 1. The topic was an important concern for both buyers and designers as they continue to navigate the market.

The price of gold was “the dominant undertone of this show,” said Camille Zarsky, founder of New York retailer The Seven. “It has a huge impact on how I buy moving into new collections. The correlation between value and price must be there,” said Zarsky, who is relatively new to the show, opening her first store in 2022. “I look at everything through the lens of, ‘Would I purchase this?’”

She reported that only one of her designers did not increase prices. “So you truly need to believe the value is there,” she explained. “Is the stone that unique? Is the gold weight enough to command that kind of a price point?”

Texas-based Ylang23’s co-owner and vice president of business development Alysa Teichman is playing the long game. “Everyone in the jewelry community was talking about price increases, but it remains to be seen how that will affect our business long term,” she said. The cost of gold and inflation “have more of an effect on the lower end of our assortment.” 

Buddha Mama necklace.

Elyse Walker’s senior vice president of jewelry Alexandra Lippin called the increase in gold and gemstone prices “noteworthy,” but said her clients prioritize exceptional design and quality and appreciate the “craftsmanship and value our edit, which seems to transcend fluctuations in cost.”

“This wasn’t the season to be working on new designs [using gold] with opening price points,” said designer Jade Trau. Instead, she is facing cost increases by leaning into bigger pieces — like her Frankie and Billie bangles in yellow gold and diamonds — aiming for an already established Jade Trau customer who understands the higher point.

Trends

There was a wide range of trends across the show, including a big push on collar-style necklaces, platinum pieces, new takes on personalization, colorful enamels and growing men’s collections.

Jade Ruzzo’s Cymbal necklace.

“The collarbone is having a major moment. From Melissa Kaye’s stunning sculptural Clara collar in partial and full diamond and Jade Ruzzo’s gorgeous Tennessee diamond torque and Walters Faith’s Julien necklaces,“ Lippin said.

Her top trends at the show were gold collars, leather cords, torque necklaces, statement gold and bold personalization.

“These close-to-the-neck styles, many of which were shown in leather and gold, are the perfect complement to display all of the charms and pendants that made their debut at Couture this year,” she said, naming Marie Lichtenberg’s jumbo gold letters, Emily P. Wheeler’s ombre gemstone encrusted initials, Dezso by Sara Beltran’s seashells on neon surf cords and Beck’s gemstone scuba pendants as standouts.

“Jewelry has become more and more gender fluid as we all fall in love with the colorful stones and beautiful materials,“ explained Mehmet Kartal, buying manager for watches and jewelry at Printemps. The French retailer will soon open its first store Stateside in downtown Manhattan, and this was the second time Kartal and team had attended the Las Vegas show.

Kartal reported a comeback of white gold, as well as pearls and colored stones, because “they resonate with a more timeless approach and sit very well with many apparel trends, to add some opulence to a quiet luxury look or to tone down a statement outfit,” he said.

“One trend that I saw and think our customer will love is bold gold that looks like it’s been puffed and molded, kind of like a golden balloon animal, with or around juicy colored gemstones,“ said Jennifer Gandia, co-owner of Greenwich St. Jewelers. She found the theme in the collections of Tabayer, Vanessa Fernández and Rosario Navia. “The aesthetic is sexy and although they could be considered simple, they pack a powerful design punch.”

Gandia called out pearls, too. “One standout was Nada Ghazal’s Pop of Hope collection which featured the sweetest seed pearls scattered across Ghazal’s signature satin finish in an effervescent spray.”

“I couldn’t get enough of Single Stone’s handmade platinum chains, especially styled in with yellow gold,” she said, noting the return of white metals. “Most mixed metals over the past few years have been oxidized but that flash of bright white feels ever fresh and ready for its turn in the spotlight.”

Type Jewelry’s Type Stack ring.

Over in the Design Atelier, first-time member Type Jewelry showed its Lavalove offering using pavé diamonds over words and letters, which “caught everyone’s eye. These pieces perfectly captured the trends at the show,“ said founder Sara Bassan. “Our brand focuses on stacking, layering and giving classics a unique twist. At Couture, our signature ‘typestack,’ a curated four-in-one stacked ring, was a standout favorite.”

As a young brand, Bassan said her “wow” moment was being recognized by retailers, colleagues and press who already knew her brand through social media. “Seeing their excitement to experience our creations in person was incredibly rewarding and meant so much to us.”

An emerging trend noted by The Seven’s Zarsky: hearts, saying she found it in “nearly” every designer’s collection. “Jumbo or exaggerated proportions is something I was largely seeing in necklaces,“ she added, naming it “bigger is better,” a trend she expects to continue.

The return to pieces on leather and cords “was a big throwback for us, as we have fond memories of styling Cathy Waterman pendants on leather cords,” Ylang23 Teichman said, adding they are “particularly excited” to have Jade Ruzzo’s Cymbals on leather, “a very chic look for late summer and early fall.“

Innovation

The show saw innovation through new materials — possibly a way to circumvent price increases for gold — with woods and even an intriguing collection using horse mane by the winner of the Editors Choice Award at the couture design awards: Silvia Furmanovich. Working with unconventional materials has always been a recurring thread in her work.

Silvia Furmanovich’s horse mane collection earrings.

Earlier this year she visited two remote communities of fifth generation women artisans in Colombia and Chile who specialize in this ancestral technique using horse mane and agave that dates back more than 200 years. The collaboration “is deeply meaningful. Their skill and dedication infuse each creation with a rich cultural heritage and a sense of community. These pieces are not just jewelry; they are a testament to the beauty of artisanal craftsmanship and the stories behind the materials we use,” she said, calling the award humbling.

Retrouvai's match book necklace.

Retrouvai’s match book necklace.

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Ylang23 founder Joanne Teichman was excited by another innovation in pieces that have elements “to play with or move.” The Matchbooks from Retrouvai, which open and close and contain a single gold match, “are definitely on our buy list.” She is “in love with the entire” Cymbals collection by Jade Ruzzo and Suzanne Kalan’s Fireworks Spinners “take luxe to a new level.” Hargreaves Stockholm’s locket and the hourglass pendant from L’Atelier Nawbar “are so clever” and Lauren Rubinski’s hologram “was a huge surprise.”

Tracking Orders

While the show sparks discovery and innovation, the proof is in the orders placed. Kartal said they had “great discussions” with Nada Ghazal, Anita Ko and Alix Dumas to propose some projects “very soon,” explaining that each brand resonates because their “main focal point is in their unique take on jewelry, innovation, poetry and sensitivity.”

Gandia said she loved Vanessa Fernández’s collection “and [thinks] it could make a really strong offering to our bridal collections,“ noting that bridal makes up 60 percent of the Greenwich St. Jewelers business. “Dorian Webb also showed a number of band rings with cascades and clusters of mixed cut diamonds that I loved for either wedding or nontraditional engagement rings.”

While conversations are still happening, Trau said she added “a minimum of four accounts” from show appointments.

Zarsky will be adding three to four new brands this season. “While we continue to lean into partnerships with our current brand roster, I decided this year that if a piece doesn’t make my heart stop, then we keep looking.”

“As a first-time DA member, it was an incredible mix of positive feelings,” Bassan said. She is in conversation with 12 new retailers “each with different views and favorites,” including The Seven in Sag Harbor, N.Y. “They’ll carry some of our L’ego bracelets, pendants and more,” she said.

Lord Jewelry.

Lord Jewelry, a standout on the floor for its use of color and whimsy, added two new retailer accounts this year, said brand director Lena Agdere. “The retailers gravitated toward our one-of-a-kind rings, which embody our brand’s Art Deco-inspired design aesthetic and colorful style, featuring a blend of precious colored stones, diamonds and enamel. Our statement earrings and distinctive necklaces also topped the retailers’ choice list.”

The show this year “proved to be an exceptional platform for our brand,” Agdere said. Buyers were “irresistibly drawn to our unique offerings, notably our latest marvel, the Wonderland Collection.”

Lippin said that in addition to some “really innovative and original designs” from brands they currently carry, they are “equally excited” to be introducing about five new brands across their eight stores.

Alysa Teichman was pleased with the body of work from the retailer’s existing designers. “We are moving into a new store and investing more of our open-to-buy toward going deeper into our existing lines.”

Kartal felt Couture offered “a very large panel of installed brands and emerging designers from all around the world. It is a great melting pot to meet various actors and to build up a differentiated offer for our clients.”

“The show was good but felt different this year, I sensed a bit of trepidation in the overall innovation of design,“ Gandia countered. “Don’t get me wrong, there was lots of gorgeous jewelry but it felt like — overall, and I’d probably include us in this group — there was an air of wanting to play things safe in such uncertain times.”



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