Fashion Facets

HOLIDAY GIFT IDEAS

Persuade customers to consider jewels for the home as well as the body when gift shopping this year.

Luxurious jeweled items for the vanity table make getting dressed in the morning an event in itself. Or how about a perfume bottle in sterling silver and 18k gold with 4.20 cts. of aquamarine crystals, 1.85 cts. of rubellite tourmaline and 2.80 cts.

of fancy mixed sapphires by Paula Crevoshay for Mellika, Upton, Mass. Another suggestion: sterling silver trinket boxes (below) with sunflower or grape leaves as a lid motif by Genevieve Flynn, Kansas City, Mo.

I AM [A HAPPY OLDER] WOMAN

Contrary to popular belief, women actually become happier and more self-assured with age, according to a study by the British Psychological Society that was reported in the Fashion Newsletter. Women from their mid-40s onward said they feel and look better than they did when they were younger.

JCK’s tip for jewelers: women in this age group are a prime segment of the women’s self-purchase market and are entering their peak earning years. They also have developed fairly sophisticated tastes and will demand interesting design along with good value.

ANGEL ON MY SHOULDER

Angels are becoming a popular theme in America. In fact, 72% of Americans believe they exist, according to a recent Gallup poll, and angel stores are joining the ranks of other single-theme retail stores. Angel jewelry is hot, too. In fact, Jeremy Merrin of Ardian, New York City, says an angel pendant is one of his best-selling pieces.

SHOPPING AT HOME

Home shopping is alive and well – especially the catalog segment. Despite postal increases, many catalog companies are adding very targeted catalogs such as home fashions and apparel geared to specific tastes, sizes or lifestyles.

Experts are still keeping an eye on interactive computer shopping. In many areas, including jewelry, it’s too soon to tell which way the winds of technology and sales will blow.

THE GRIM RETAILERS?

If you think there are only a few megalithic retailers now, just wait five years, according to an article in Women’s Wear Daily. Harvey Braun, a director and partner in Deloitte & Touche accountants/consultants, told the trade paper that by the turn of the century, the world’s 50 largest retailers will account for more than 50% of all retail sales worldwide.

Additionally, with many U.S. markets grossly overstored, retailers are turning to foreign markets for expansion, said WWD. Stores such as Saks Fifth Avenue and J.C. Penney have already opened standard department stores and some specialty division stores in countries in South America, Asia and the Middle East.

In a separate article, WWD reported on a speech to the Textile Distributors Association by Edward S. Finkelstein, a past chairman of R.H.Macy &Co. He cautioned that department stores have become “wrapped up in a promotional frenzy.” As an example, he said Macy’s one-day sale has multiplied from five in 1976 to 14 last year, with three of them inDecember alone.

He also said department stores in general haven’t recognized certain changing consumer trends – including a different type of apparel needed for casual Fridays – and are losing market share to catalogs, discounters, category killers, specialty stores and factory outlets.