First it was the billowy skirts. Now, the Bohemian movement has a firm grasp on necklaces, boosting sales of clunky, beaded jewelry at local stores.
Jaye Hersh, president of the Los Angeles boutique Intuition, said that beaded jewelry is the No. 1 seller in its category on her Web site Shopintuition.com. Intuition stocks necklaces made from wood, kukui beads, turquoise and coral that are often worn in multiple strands. Prices generally range from $30 to over $80.
"We are doing well with them," said Hersh. "People are liking to layer jewelry. They go with everything."
Katie Bogue, co-owner of Label Los Angeles, an online boutique that stocks local designers, said it's tough for beaded necklaces to command high prices because it's easy to knock off the look. "You can just string a bunch of beads together," she noted.
But Kimberly Faith, a Los Angeles jewelry designer, has found that her beaded vintage wooden necklaces, which retail starting at $120, are doing twice as well as jewelry lines in other materials such as brass or gold plate.
Faith attributed the comeback of beaded necklaces to more feminine-looking wardrobes. "For a while, beads were almost uncool," she said. "(Now,) you almost want to look like you went into your grandmother's closet."
Bogue cautioned that the flipside of the trend is that everyone is adding beaded pieces to their collections. The flood of new pieces could further push down the price of beaded jewelry. Hersh, however, believes the market for beaded necklaces isn't going away any time soon. She expects that beaded necklaces will continue to be hot items into the holiday season.
Is the premium denim bubble about to pop?
Retail consultant Robin Lewis, president of Robin Lewis Inc., expects the market will soften during next year's fall fashion season. At that point, he said, jeans selling for over $100 will be so mainstream that they will have lost their cachet with style mavens.
"Premium jeans are no longer cool when every Jane Doe is wearing them," he said. "The style leaders are going to find something else that is hot. The minute that happens, premium jeans are going to be as cold as the North Pole."
Local manufacturers do not seem convinced.
Shane Whalen, vice president of corporate development at Los Angeles-based Innovo Group Inc., which licenses denim brand Joe's Jeans, argues that the premium denim boom didn't begin until about a year ago. In the fashion industry, he said that trends can last five years, leaving premium jeans several years to go.
"Things come in cycles, and a bubble looks like a cycle to me. We are right in the middle of a tremendous growth period and where the end is, is an unknown," said Whalen.
Still, jeans makers are beginning to expand their offerings by adding other items, such as pants made from other fabrics, tops and accessories, to prop up sales if denim declines.
At Innovo, Whalen said Joe's is becoming a stand-alone brand that can be harnessed to sell non-denim wares like tops. "We have certainly dived into those other categories," he said.
Woody Lawhon is turning heads literally.
Lawhon's company, Moving Mannequins, which is based out of Los Angeles and Miami, has begun selling lifelike mannequins with heads that automatically swivel. He's tested them out at Third Street Promenade and Universal CityWalk stores and is working on a deal to put them in a 500-store chain he declined to name.
The mannequins, which feature more naturally shaped bodies, realistic features and paint that resembles human skin, attracted crowds at CityWalk, according to a video shot by the company and placed on its Web site.
"People stop at the window that wouldn't normally," said Lawhon, who formerly worked in the movie industry as a robotics, animatronics and special effects specialist.
Moving Mannequins makes two types of flexible mannequins. A $1,900 version turns rigidly at the head and neck, while a version with a more natural turn costs $4,000.
"Things are going good with the project so far," Lawhon said. Next on the drawing board: mannequins with movable limbs.
Sam Nazarian is becoming L.A.'s latest nightclub impresario.
The chief executive of Los Angeles-based SBE Entertainment Group, which already owns the clubs Shelter and Prey, recently bought two more the Lounge in West Hollywood and North in Hollywood from, respectively, restaurateurs Art and Alan Davis and Jaxamilan LLC.
The clubs will both be renamed, but the new names have not been chosen yet. They also will cease operation during renovations, thought it is not clear how long that will take.
Restaurant elements will be added to the updated Lounge and North. Andrew Degroot, executive chef at other SBE venues, will be responsible for menu development.
*Staff reporter Rachel Brown can be reached by phone at (323) 549-5225, ext. 224, or by e-mail at email@example.com .
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