Everybody's trying to break into accessories these days. First, the news was that See by Chloe, Proenza, Hussein Chayalan and Ohne Titel would all be breaking into shoes (and since then, Proenza's quietly started giving out bags to their friends, which everyone hopes will actually make it to stores.) Then, Marc announced he'd be expanding into a full line of swimwear for Marc by Marc, while Brian Reyes announced he'd be launching a line of lingerie (ok - swimwear and lingerie are not exactly accessories, but they do fall into that small things/cheaper things category). Not too long after, Prada announced plans to design costume jewelry, and Yigal said he'd make the shoes from his Spring 09 runway for the stores. And now? 7 For All Mankind is launching their own shoe range for Spring, retailing between $150 to $350, which may seem too close to their denim price range, but is probably a bit less than most 7 customers usually spend on their shoes. Clearly, companies are hoping their shoppers will still be out there looking for cute things to acquire, but they know it'll be with a much smaller budget, so they're trying to make more things at lower price points so everybody can still get their buzz. Because as Elle MacPherson put it today, her lingerie line is doing better than ever because "when a woman can't afford a dress in the luxury echelons, she may opt instead to part with ¬£20 on underwear that makes her feel good." But the question for all these other high-end brands persists -
Is buying a pair of Yigal pumps as thrilling as the dress? Will a lucite necklace from the Prada store still give you the same good vibrations as their lace? Does Brian Reyes lingerie feel as good as the clothes, especially since it'll be covered by clothes? We don't know. But we guess the brand strategists are hoping it's a "yes", and that they won't lose any customers once the economy gets back on track. And we have to ask, do you even care if your favorite brands are expanding into new categories? For example, it's not like 7, which is obviously known for jeans, will have anything to do with the shoes, which will be produced through a licensing deal, other than the general style. Like, if Hermes (god of leather and good stitching) came out with a range of cotton tees, would you care? We think not. But more importantly, what do you think?