fashion week preview

Exclusive Slideshow: Harper’s Bazaar Accessories Bazaar

Accessories have always played second fiddle to the clothes on Fashion Week runways, and with good reason: How could anyone be expected to actually see the model’s earrings, short of whipping out a pair of binoculars? No more! The details are finally getting their moment in the spotlight with the Harper’s Bazaar Accessories Bazaar, which opens to Fashion Week attendees on September 14 at Lincoln Center’s Avery Fisher Hall, and will showcase the work of eighteen beloved accessories designers (including Alexis Bittar, Philip Crangi, and Alejandro Ingelmo); all of the pieces have been plucked straight from the spring 2011 runways. Accessories junkies have Bazaar editor Glenda Bailey to thank for the idea — and for giving The Cut an exclusive sneak peek at the showcase. Click ahead to see the slideshow, and to read a Q&A with Bazaar accessories director Ana Maria Pimentel, who tells us in no uncertain terms how she really feels about kitten heels (so controversial!) and recession “It” bags.

Kitten heels are really divisive right now; people either love them or hate them. Which side are you on?
It’s very refreshing to see the return of a classic shoe silhouette on the runways after several seasons of over-the-top platforms. However, pulling off the look is all in the styling. I suggest wearing them in a modern way — pair them with a skinny pant or a rolled-up boyfriend trouser to refresh the classic shape.

Are dangerous, model-tripping stripper heels on the way out?
As a Latin woman and as an accessories director, I have to say I love a towering heel. Although the kitten heel is definitely back, I strongly believe we will continue to see super-high heels on the runway. I have my fingers crossed that designers won’t forget that nothing makes a woman feel sexier than a soaring stiletto!

What are the five most iconic accessories of all time?
1. A classic Chanel 2.55 bag
2. An Hermès Constance bag
3. A gold Rolex
4. A Cartier Trinity ring
5. A Tod’s driving loafer

Do “It” bags exist post-recession? If so, what is this season’s?
The notion of an “It” bag is no longer relevant. The idea that after six months a bag becomes disposable or “last season” is old-fashioned and not how women should shop now. The past two seasons have been a palate cleanser for accessories. We are finding that designers are focusing more on the quality and craftsmanship of a bag than on flashy embellishments and heavy hardware. Design houses such as Celine and Chloé showed chic and timeless bags that are simple in shape and feel so right after seasons of such decadence. These bags are truly seasonless.

For a lot of women, the most expensive single item they own is an accessory, like a piece of jewelry or a bag. If you’re going to blow your rent on one item, which accessory should it be?
I would invest in a classic — see the list above — something you will have forever and could possibly pass on to the next generation. If you are on a tighter budget and want to splurge on one thing, it should be something that will update your look. This season, a classic box shoulder bag or a kitten heel is a must-have.

Any tips on how to find and wear great cheap jewelry?
I absolutely adore costume jewelry. Flea markets and vintage stores are always a great source. In New York, there is a plethora of young costume jewelers on the scene. Among the eighteen talented emerging accessories designers [featured at the Accessories Bazaar], we will be featuring directional costume jewelry designs from Alexis Bittar, Philip Crangi, Fenton/Fallon, Anndra Neen, Prova, Lizzie Fortunato, and Pamela Love. All of these designers make incredible pieces at reasonable prices.

Related: Spring 2011 Fashion Week Preview

Exclusive Slideshow: Harper’s Bazaar Accessories Bazaar