It's been a year since our last "Luxury Report," and wow, things have changed. Unfortunately, we're still amid a global pandemic, but the world has opened up, and people are out and about with places to go again. Among many other things, this means that people are shopping for all kinds of things—including luxury goods.
With this renewed interest in shopping, a whole slew of It brands and items has emerged. Some are household-name design houses that have been around for years, and some are newer brands that are gaining steam thanks to the likes of celebs such as Zendaya and Hailey Bieber.
To provide us with the truest insight into what's happening in the luxury space, we tapped experts at Net-a-Porter, Mytheresa, MatchesFashion, Fwrd, and ShopStyle to tell us about all things buzzy brands and It items.
Photo:Loewe; Bottega Veneta; Maximilian; @toteme; Chloé
This year's buzzy, established brands have been on the tip of every fashion person's tongue in 2021, and we're pleased to report that there are a few surprise additions this year. Find out what our luxury retail experts have to say about each brand below.
Tiffany Hsu, fashion buying director at Mytheresa says, "Versace has had a great momentum over the past few seasons already, the collections becoming stronger and stronger. And with Dua Lipa as the face of the brand, Versace is gaining even more attention."
Hsu also sang the praises of Saint Laurent. "Saint Laurent really opened PFW this season, and the presentation over lockdown was also incredible," she says. "All the runway pieces are immediately sold out and next season couldn't come soon enough. We are seeing a big catsuit trend coming our way, where Saint Laurent is definitely the pioneer to look out for."
"Gucci is everywhere—on every celebrity and in everyone's shopping basket! Despite showing off-calendar, their Hollywood Boulevard show drew in a huge audience, where their striking silhouettes and glitzy approach to dressing made everyone excited for event dressing," says Libby Page, senior market editor at Net-a-Porter.
Hsu says of the buzzy brand, "Gucci, with their 100-year anniversary, received a lot of buzz this year, and the last show in L.A. was just the cherry on the top. The brilliant idea to collab with Balenciaga really kicked up the brand's desirability."
"Demna [Gvasalia] hits the mark consistently with customers looking for classic European heritage design with a bit of edge. Refined tailoring is the backbone of the collection, but interesting colors, textiles, and hyper-articulated shapes (such as the Hourglass Blazer, $2690) change our eye for what 'classic' can be in this era," says April Koza, vice president of Fwrd.
Page says, "Balenciaga's collaboration with The Simpsons had everyone talking, despite the dark approach to the collection. Who knew we needed to see Marge in a bright-green spandex gown!"
Koza says, "Our customers always love what Simon Porte [of] Jacquemus does, simply put. His fabrications balance out the hyper-sexy cutwork and perfectly on-the-edge draping that has become his remarkable signature. His dresses, knits, and artfully twisted blouses have become closet staples."
"Jacquemus is not a new name out there, but it's becoming a super-brand size of business without a major group behind, and seeing this is truly great," Hsu says. "Simon's ability of coming out with sell-out items is legendary."
"Bottega—which originally took liftoff with its iconic accessories that brought fresh silhouettes into the arena—continued its winning streak. This year, our ready-to-wear business with the brand became stronger than ever, with knits, trousers, and dresses in unique colors and textures bringing a jolt of energy to seasonal wardrobes," Koza says of the brand, which is going through big changes with the surprise departure of Creative Director Daniel Lee.
Page sang the praise of a specific Loewe category, remarking "Loewe accessories stole the show this season. Playful references, such as the broken-egg and birthday-candle heels, were the highlights for non-apparel."
With its new creative director taking the reigns this year, Chloé has certainly built upon its buzz. "Chloé feels very exciting right now with Gabriela Hearst at the helm, and we love the strong craft element," Liane Wiggins, MatchesFashion's head of womenswear, tells us.
Of everyone's favorite Scandinavian luxury brand, Wiggins says, "Totême offers super-strong outerwear, great layering knitwear, and key wardrobe foundations."
Another brand with an exciting new creative director appointment, Alaïa is back on everyone's minds. "Pieter Mulier's debut for Alaïa had the industry buzzing. He perfectly fused sexuality and functionality, which are sure to make the women wearing the pieces feel good," says Page.
ON THE RISE
The rising, buzzy brands we narrowed our list down to are an eclectic mix of labels that are about to break out and labels that are inching closer and closer to the established list. Either way, our experts can hardly contain their excitement about this group.
Nensi Dojaka is the new name on every fashion insider (and fashion-obsessed celebrity) right now. As Hsu puts it, "Nensi Dojaka is definitely on the top of my list. Her creativity and sensibility really translate well in her collections. It's the perfect marriage of sexy yet very modern."
Photo:Fernanda Calfat/Getty Images
"Queens-born LaQuan Smith has been heralded by icons such as Tom Ford and André Leon Talley for his sharp eye, keen attention to detail, and consistent willingness to push the fashion boundaries," says Alison Stiefel ShopStyle's general manager.
Page tells us, "Not only did his runway show atop the Empire State Building make an impact, but so did his low-slung waistlines and crystal embellishment, which brought high-octane glamour and sexiness to the forefront of our minds during fashion month."
"Mugler under Casey Cadwallader's direction has become the cool It-girl brand," Hsu says. "We have been selling out the collection for the past two seasons, and the way he translates the new idea of Mugler is very modern and fashion-forward, just like what the house's DNA is."
Photo:Joe Maher/BFC/Getty Images
"Supriya Lele appeals to a younger customer with her approach to spring/summer 22's biggest trend: Y2K dressing. Plunging necklines, minidresses, and cutouts are bringing sexy back into our wardrobes," Page says of the buzzy UK brand.
Koza shares about the cool-girl Italian brand, "We have had The Attico on Fwrd for several seasons, and our customers can't get enough of its strong and sexy silhouettes. The collection is built for a well-lived life of travel, celebrations, and the simple joy in getting dressed up—also fully embodied by its co-founders Gilda Ambrosio and Giorgia Tordini."
"ERL is a firm favorite from the likes of the Biebers and Kylie Jenner," Page says of this rising celeb-loved brand. "This unisex brand does off-duty chic well. Their unique and eccentric approach to knitwear and casualwear is sure to be a hit with our customer."
We've heard from several sources that Mônot is the next big thing, and Koza confirms it. "Eli Mizrahi's collection has taken hold within the industry and with customers alike with an incredibly confident design approach that balances the art of seduction in dressing with classic tailoring. It is becoming a go-to for women shopping for eveningwear, and we are excited to see what he brings next," she says.
"It's been a privilege to have Aisling on Fwrd. She's built an independent business with knitwear as its backbone, and she's evolving it wonderfully as she dips into evening with semi-sheer dresses and foundational layering pieces that suit so many of our effortlessly 'cool' customers who are always looking for what's next," Koza says of Aisling Camps, another important rising brand at Fwrd.
Wiggins sang the praise of on-the-rise brand Maximilian, saying "We are really excited about our innovators this season. New to the cohort this year is Maximilian and Nensi Dojaka, who just won the LVMH prize."
Stiefel is particularly excited about Gauge81, sharing that the brand went up in search volume 67% year-over-year and that it's known for its unique angles and tailoring as well as blurring the lines between casual- and eveningwear.
It wouldn't be a luxury report without a discussion of some specific It items that have emerged this year, so we asked our luxury experts what people are actually investing in these days. Most of the 2021 It items have timeless appeal, and most fall under the categories of accessories and outerwear. All of the pieces can be worn countless times. Find out why these highly coveted pieces stand out below.
During the pandemic, a renewed interest in investing in timeless pieces has emerged, making fine jewelry one of the biggest It items of 2021.
Stiefel confirmed to us that Burberry is back, and quilted jackets are heavily trending this year.
Stiefel also told us that Gucci's Platform Slides were sold out the entire spring/summer season and that platforms, in general, have had a big moment this year.
Jewelry that shows personality, like this whimsical cocktail ring, has been especially popular this year.
Hsu named this her It item of the year. "The cropped Jaquemus shearling jacket is everything you need!" she adds.
Another accessory that Stiefel pointed out is designer bucket hats. She says, "Bucket hats continued to dominate hat style trends this summer. The most popular styles were Dior's cheetah bucket and Gucci's logo hat."
Page named these logo boots as one of 2021's It items.
Page also named this chic under-$1k logo bag as one of 2021's It items.
Koza called out this popular It bag, saying "Bottega Veneta's Mini Jodie Bag has been a standing success story in the industry for its shape, scale, and functionality. In shearling, it's going to be the absolute It bag for us this holiday and winter season."
You can never go wrong with a pair of The Row boots, and Wiggins called out this timeless pair.
Totême's constantly sold-out sweater has been on every fashion person's wish list this fall in both ivory and black. Keep your eyes peeled for a restock soon.
"The Balenciaga Essex Pumps are a new wardrobe staple we see our customers returning for in various colors. The design has a subtle high-octane twist on a classic silhouette," Koza says of these modern heels.
Saint Laurent's Le 5 à 7 bag is the perfect choice if you've been looking for a classic, functional It bag to splurge on.
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