Ela Handbags Offer Simple Elegance

ela handbagSwedish designers Ela and Martin Aldorrson have created a line of trendy ela handbags that are now being sold at Saks Fifth Avenues around the country.

The handbags are known for their simple elegance. The Aldorssons select a theme every season that serves as the basis for the handbags’ designs and colors. Ela Aldorsson often skips the sketching process, instead making a paper mock-up to figure out the bag’s scale, function, and design to speed up the process of bringing the handbags to life. The handbags are then tested for a few weeks to see how they function and if any changes need to be made. The final samples are then shown to buyers.

The first handbag the pair designed was the MILCK clutch, which was created to hold the essentials: money, ID, lipstick, cell phone, and keys. It was designed to have a unique asymmetrical shape that would be instantly recognizable, even without a logo. The rest of the handbags in the collection followed from that first design.

The Aldorssons are influenced by the style of many A-list celebrities, including Gwyneth Paltrow, Miranda Kerr, and Emmanuelle Alt and their everyday styles. They also draw inspiration from styles they see on the streets of Europe and New York and in magazines and department stores.

The ela fall 2014 collection is about romance and striking a balance between feminine and masculine details. The new handbags in the collection will include stamped and digitally printed marbled leather that appears to be chiseled from stone, muted camouflage that combines all of the colors of the collection, and pearls. The designers are currently collaborating with Club Monaco and are designing exclusive silhouettes for Saks Fifth Avenue and Holt Renfrew, a Canadian department store.

New Max Mara Ads Feature Amy Adams

Amy AdamsItalian fashion group Max Mara has teamed up with Academy Award nominee Amy Adams to promote its accessories for its new 2014 ad campaign.

Last year’s successful campaign featured Jennifer Garner. The brand wanted to follow it up with ads featuring another A-list celebrity. Adams earned a Golden Globe this year for her performance in “American Hustle” and will appear in “Big Eyes” by Tim Burton later this year.

Photographer Mario Sorrenti took the photos for the advertisements. The ad campaign includes five photos: three for fall and two for spring. Adams poses in one photo with the Signature Bag, which features “puntino” saddle stitching, and in another with the Margaux bag, which has asymmetrical handles and can be completely zipped up or partially closed with a flap. The stitching is concealed, and the handbag has a long inner shoulder strap. Adams also modeled sunglasses for the ads. Sorrenti created a short film about the advertising project.

The images were unveiled at the Max Mara boutique in New York City this week. The company also planned a dinner for about 80 people to celebrate the kick-off of the new ad campaign. The photos will be featured in about 50 Max Mara boutiques around the world beginning in late August. The ads will be shown in new places where a celebrity face is more important, such as Dubai, Russia, China, and Portugal. The ads will be featured in magazines and online starting with the bags in August and following with the sunglasses in October. Billboards will also be displayed in countries around the world.

Max Mara has been producing handbags and other accessories at its leather goods manufacturers in Tuscany and the Veneto region. Its sales have grown 33 percent over the past four seasons.

Saudi Princess Designs Baraboux Handbags

Baraboux handbagPrincess Reema Bandar al-Saud, chief executive of Harvey Nichols Riyadh, was frustrated that she was unable to find an attractive handbag that fit her lifestyle, so she decided to design her own. She is now the founder and creative director of accessories line Baraboux.

Bandar al-Saud spent most of her adult life in Washington, DC before returning to Riyadh at age 30. She became the first female chief executive at her family’s retail company, Alfa International, which operates Harvey Nichols Riyadh.

She wanted to create stylish, compartmentalized handbags to make women’s lives easier. She got the idea for Baraboux when she began working at Harvey Nichols Riyadh and collaborated with a team of designers for eight years.

Last year, Bandar al-Saud launched her line of Baraboux handbags at Paris Fashion Week. The leather handbags, or “toolkits,” are designed to be practical, with pockets for multiple mobile devices and tablets, adjustable handles, removable pochettes, and detachable clutches to allow owners to use them to suit their needs and lifestyles. The designs were inspired by Bedouin tribes’ practical way of life. The bags are handcrafted in Florence with Italian leather, and the hardware is bespoke. The handbags are priced between contemporary and luxury bags.

The Baraboux handbags are now sold in specialist boutiques and retailers around the world, including Browns in London, Saks Fifth Avenue in the Middle East, By Marie in Paris, and Apparenza in Russia. The company also ships its bags internationally.

Bandar al-Saud wants to expand Baraboux into more markets, broaden its travel offerings, and eventually open stand-alone stores with a curated selection of other products. She has hired London magazine editor Caroline Issa as a creative consultant for the autumn-winter 2014 collection.

Vera Bradley Hires New Executives to Change Strategy

Vera Bradley handbagVera Bradley has brought in six new executives from outside the company to lead changes to its global products, marketing, merchandising, and e-commerce. The company also named Robert Wallstrom its new CEO in November

Vera Bradley is making profits, but they have been decreasing. The company’s stock has also fallen in the past two months. Traditional products are not attracting new customers. Shopper traffic in the company’s retail stores has fallen significantly. Wallstrom believes significant changes to product offerings and marketing are necessary to reverse those trends.

Vera Bradley’s five-year plan encompasses many changes. The company will discontinue its baby gift and clothing lines and shorten the time needed to develop new designs, which has taken 12 to 18 months. Instead of focusing mostly on floral patterns, it will offer more solids. Vera Bradley will reduce the number of handbag styles offered by 30 to 40 percent. The company plans to offer handbags made from real and faux leather, as well as some quilted handbags. They will be more expensive than bags the company has sold in the past, but they will still be competitively priced compared to bags made by other companies. The company will create new products to be sold exclusively in outlet stores. The product line will be expanded to include more stationery, rolling luggage, scarves, and a fragrance.

Vera Bradley will also focus more on customer demand when deciding which products and how many to produce, rather than simply producing items and trying to sell them to customers as they have been doing. The company wants to achieve growth by modernizing and appealing to a wider variety of customers.

Vera Bradley’s new chief merchandising officer will change store layouts to improve sales. The company has signed a five-year contract with Look to market and distribute its products in Japan and plans to close its existing 13 stores in Japan to cut costs. It will begin to sell its products in Macy’s, in addition to its current sales in Dillard and Von Maur. It will open fewer full-price and outlet stores and end sales to retailers than don’t sell much of the company’s merchandise in a bid to boost productivity. The executives want retailers to limit their orders to the most popular items. The company will also reduce spending on air freight and payroll.

Edie Parker Bespoke Clutches Popular with Celebrities

Nicky HiltonEdie Parker’s line of bespoke clutch handbags have become trendy with many celebrities such as Jessica Alba, Sofia Vergara, and Paris and Nicky Hilton because clients can customize them with their first names, initials, catchphrases, or designs of their choice. The bags have become popular with several high-end retailers, including Holts, Barneys New York, and Net-a-Porter.

All Edie Parker handbags, either ready-to-wear or custom, are crafted and decorated by hand from hand-drawn designs at a factory in Illinois. The clutches also have mirrored interiors. The handbags are well known for their meticulous craftsmanship.

Many of the Edie Parker handbags transform acrylic into a luxurious material. American designer Brett Heyman has long been interested in vintage acrylic, wicker, and magazine bags.

Over the years, Heyman eliminated from her personal collection handbags that she considered cumbersome or overly retro and was left with a collection of hard-to-find acrylic clutch handbags. This inspired her to launch a collection of petite evening clutches.

She began Edie Parker in 2010, naming the brand after her daughter. She was also inspired by famous actresses, models, and socialites Edie Beale and Edie Sedgwick. Heyman served as Gucci’s director of public relations for several years, but she does not have a formal design background.

Heyman approached many American plastic makers looking for a company to produce her handbags. She finally located a company in the Midwest that shared her vision.

Heyman says the clutches have become popular because they inspire a sense of nostalgia. Heyman believes people are attracted to retro designs because of a desire to express their individuality.

Heritage Auctions Files Lawsuit against Christie’s over Hermes Handbags Expert

Hermes handbagMatthew Rubinger, who was the resident expert on Hermes handbags at Heritage Auctions, recently left his post for a similar position at rival auction house Christie’s. Heritage has filed a lawsuit, alleging that Rubinger violated his contract and stole trade secrets. The suit seeks $60 million in damages and lost profits from Christie’s, Rubinger, and two other former employees who left with him. Christie’s believes the lawsuit is without merit and plans to fight it in court.

Rubinger began buying and selling inexpensive purses in high school and then began trading designer handbags on eBay. He later worked for DropShop, a website that buys and sells goods, before moving on to Heritage.

Rubinger was head of Heritage’s luxury accessories business. The auction house said in the lawsuit that it invested in training him and helping him develop contacts around the world. Heritage also says it shared with him plans to expand.

On May 19, Rubinger told Heritage that he was leaving to go to Christie’s. Two other executives also resigned. The people who departed made up Heritage’s entire luxury accessories team.

Christie’s has been expanding into the market for vintage luxury handbags, which has been Heritage’s focus. Art prices continue to rise, but competition between auction houses has been cutting into commissions, prompting Christie’s to expand into other areas. Heritage has seen record sales and huge profits from luxury handbags.

Hermes has increased demand by limiting production of its handbags. Buyers can be on a wait list for as long as three years. The handbags are popular with collectors and investors. Customers can sometimes resell the bags for more than they paid for them.

Coach to Begin Offering Discounts on Handbags in Its North American Stores

coach handbagIn a break with tradition, Coach will begin selling handbags at a discount in its North American stores. It was one of the few fashion and luxury brands that had refused to offer sales at its U.S. stores.

Coach will reduce prices on some end-of-season and discontinued handbags by 30 to 50 percent. The handbags will go on sale in June and January. Coach is planning to keep the sales low-key, rather than promote them the way other brands do. The company believes that will be better for the long-term success of the brand.

The company is making the move to be more in line with the practices of other fashion, lifestyle, and luxury brands. Coach already runs sales in its stores overseas.

Coach has previously offered 25-percent-off coupons in its factory outlets, and its handbags have been made available on sale at department stores, such as Macy’s. Coach has also participated in third-party flash sites that run short-term sales on limited numbers of products, but it has been reducing its involvement in those sales.

Coach has been struggling recently with competition from other luxury handbag designers, such as Michael Kors, Kate Spade, and Tory Burch. CEO Victor Luis has been trying to transition Coach into a lifestyle brand by selling other products, such as shoes, coats, and accessories. He has also changed the company’s design team. Coach is refurbishing its stores and plans to launch new products in the fall.

So far, the strategy has not worked. Sales are down at many North American stores. The company plans to host an analyst day on June 19.

Hidee Handbags Have Space for Shoes and All the Essentials

Hidee bagCaoilionn Hurley, an Irish accountant working in London, found that she could not fit her heels in any of her handbags. She believed that many other women likely had the same problem and wanted to find a solution.

Hurley spoke to several handbag manufacturers and asked them to create a high-end leather handbag big enough to carry the essentials, with a separate, easily accessible compartment for shoes. All of them told her it was impossible.

Hurley was determined to find a way. She decided to design the handbag herself, even though she had no experience with sewing and had a full-time job. She kept her day job, bought a sewing machine, and began taking sewing lessons on the weekends. She later bought a leather sewing machine and took classes at the National College of Fashion in London, where she learned about patterns and gluing leather.

Hurley realized that in order to create upper and lower compartments, the handbags would need a design similar to a bridge. She attached carefully-measured leather panels to the sides of the bags and held them in place with rivets to create her unique Hidee handbags.

She wanted the handbags to be made with unlined leather so that they would be easy to clean if owners put wet shoes in the lower compartments. She also wanted the bags to be made in classic colors, such as black, grey, and tan.

Hurley again spoke to manufacturers in London and found one who supported her idea. Production of her Hidee bags began in September. They are already being sold at some top London boutiques and online. She is currently working on a collection crafted with fabric with leather trim.

Mulberry Introduces Collection of Tessie Handbags

Tessie handbagMulberry is introducing its new line of Tessie handbags that are a more affordable option than many of the other handbags the company has offered recently.

The Tessie handbags are available in satchel, hobo, and tote styles in black, poppy red, oxblood, and oak colored soft-grain leather. The new handbags do not have the large Mulberry turnlock that almost all recent handbags have had. Instead, they feature a small gold square embossed with the image of a Mulberry tree. Buyers can also choose a midnight blue croc stripe suede clutch or satchel.

Mulberry says that despite the lower prices, it has not sacrificed quality craftsmanship. The company created the Tessie collection as a way to return to the practicality and classic silhouettes of its early handbags.

Mulberry has been experiencing financial problems since the departure in March of CEO Bruno Guillon after only two years leading the company. Guillon had previously served as managing director for Hermes.

While Guillon was CEO, Mulberry raised prices to try to compete with luxury brands such as Prada and Fendi, but the handbags became too expensive for existing customers, which lowered profits. Mulberry has had two recent profit warnings and falling share prices. Godfrey Davis, Mulberry’s non-executive chairman and previous CEO, is acting as executive chairman until the brand chooses a new CEO.

Emma Hill stepped down from her position as creative director in June 2013. The line of Tessie handbags was designed by Mulberry’s in-house design team. The company is still searching for a new creative director.

The new more affordable handbags are an effort to promote the company’s growth. While the Tessie bags are less expensive, they still cost significantly more than many “entry-point” luxury handbags offered by other popular designers.

How to Keep Your Leather Handbag Looking Like New

leather handbagIf you have invested your hard-earned money in an expensive leather handbag, you want to keep it looking like new. Here are some maintenance tips for your leather bag.

Leather handbags need to be cleaned and conditioned regularly in order to keep the leather soft and pliable and prevent it from becoming stained or discolored. When cleaning your leather handbag, avoid harsh cleansers, which can cause damage, and too much water, which can cause stains that you might not be able to remove.

If your leather handbag becomes stained, you should clean it immediately. If you spill grease on your bag, use a dry cloth to clean it. Rubbing alcohol is good for removing ink stains. You can use baby wipes to remove other stains, as long as they do not have dyes or scents.

You can treat your handbag with a sealant to keep it in good condition. You should be able to buy a sealant when you purchase the handbag to make sure that the product you get can be used with that particular bag.

You can also use a conditioning oil to keep your leather bag soft. Use a soft cloth to apply an even layer of conditioning oil all over the bag. Remove the excess and then allow the bag to dry.

It is just as important to clean the inside of your handbag as the exterior. Remove everything from your bag, turn it upside down, and shake it to remove any debris. Next, clean it with a soft, dry cloth. You should not use water or cleansers on the inside of your bag because they can cause staining or discoloration.

If you have chosen to invest money in a leather handbag, you should do what you can to keep it looking its best. Following these tips can help you keep your leather handbag in top condition.