Susannah Frankel: Ready To Wear

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Indy Lifestyle Online

So farewell then the "it" bag. A report issued by Mintel last week decreed that, although sales of these hardware-laden designs grew 139 per cent between 2002 and 2007, all that is about to change, as "2008 will see women turning their backs on expensive, celebrity-endorsed bags," according to the powers that be at the market research company.

"Women have become more cynical about celebrity-endorsed products. Many will no longer be as quick to spend hundreds, even thousands of pounds on a bag just because the likes of Posh Spice have been snapped with one."

One almighty case of stating the obvious? There are those who might argue that the endorsement of said Spice is enough to put anyone off, after all.

In fact, all this has been on the cards for some time now. The rise and rise of the Chanel 2.55 bag, as today carried by any fashion follower worth her credentials, is just one signifier of a move towards more classic and relatively understated bags. The likes of Prada, Balenciaga and Yves Saint Laurent, meanwhile, have all produced less obviously elaborate designs over the past year, alongside those of the more high-profile variety. Miuccia Prada even went so far as to claim recently that people were "bored" with bags, while duly upping the ante in the footwear department.

For the current season, then, the focus is already firmly on shoes, with ever more extreme versions, often boasting a hand-finished element, dominating everything from Miuccia Prada's own collection to those of other like-minded souls.

Soon, though, as is the way of things in this notoriously fast-moving arena, we may all be bored of these, too. Given that the luxury-goods companies will have done their homework, and remain well ahead of the game, one can only assume that it won't be long before something else comes along to replace shoes, and become the new must-have accessory.

If the most recent round of international collections were anything to go by, that something will be decidedly sparkly. For autumn, then, it is the turn of costume jewellery to become the accessory du jour – it twinkled away merrily everywhere from the aforementioned Balenciaga to Lanvin and Chanel, where a love affair with paste was established as acceptable in fashion circles almost a century ago now.

Not only does this look rather lovely, not to mention decorative, wearing a designer crystal pendant, choker, cuff, brooch, or, indeed, any other such glittering sweet nothing, is unlikely to necessitate a visit to the chiropractor. Oh, and given that costume jewellery sells for a fraction of the price of the real deal, a Swiss bank account/bodyguard won't be required either. A relief, no doubt, to us all.

s.frankel@independent.co.uk

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