Museum Exhibit Traces History of Italian Fashion

Italian Style exhibitThe Minneapolis Institute of Arts has just opened a new exhibit detailing the growth of the Italian fashion industry over the past seven decades.

The exhibit, entitled “Italian Style: Fashion Since 1945” explains how Italy came to be a leader in the fashion world from the end of World War II to the present. In the 1940s there was no real fashion industry, but today Italian fashion houses are known around the world. The show includes 100 ensembles and accessories from a variety of top designers, including Gucci, Prada, Versace, Valentino, Armani, Fendi, Pucci, Missoni, and Dolce & Gabbana.

Hollywood played a major role in the growing popularity of Italian designers. Some American movie producers chose to film in Italy because of the lower costs and good weather. Many films were shot in Italy starting in the1950s. The show includes pieces that were owned by celebrities or worn in famous films. For example, the MIA has a costume worn by Audrey Hepburn in “War and Peace.”

The exhibit also includes photos of celebrities wearing Italian fashions and accessories and carrying luxury handbags. Top Italian fashion designers would sometimes arrange to have paparazzi take pictures of celebrities shopping in Italy as a way to promote their brands to an international audience.

The collection also includes fashions worn by public figures, such as a suit that once belonged to John F. Kennedy.

The traveling exhibit was organized by London’s Victoria and Albert Museum. The exhibit’s organizers want to give visitors a concrete way to feel connected to famous people.

“Italian Style” is the first major fashion show at the Minneapolis Institute of Arts and the first venue for the exhibit in the United States. The show will run through January 4, 2015.

Fashion exhibits have become more popular at art museums in recent years. New York’s Metropolitan Museum of Art hosted an Alexander McQueen exhibit entitled “Savage Beauty” a few years ago that drew over 600,000 visitors.

Paula Cademartori Grows Handbag Business

Paula CademartoriPaula Cademartori, a former industrial design student from Brazil, decided to pursue a career in fashion at the age of 21. She thought the logical place to go was Milan because the vast majority of luxury handbags and accessories are made in Italy.

Cademartori pursued a master’s degree in accessory design at the Istituto Marangoni. After she graduated, she spent three years designing accessories for Versace before she quit to branch out on her own. She designed a 32-piece collection of shoes for a Vogue Talents contest. After working for a year as a design consultant, Cademartori launched her brand in 2010 with financial help from her parents.

Paula Cademartori handbags are known for their vibrant colored leather with clashing patterns and pi-shaped buckles. Cademartori put her industrial design background to use to create handbags that are ergonomic and functional. Her bags are designed to fit all the essentials while appearing stylish and trendy. She says her handbags are meant to be status symbols.

Cademartori was turned down by many stockists initially. Her brand had a breakthrough in its second season when celebrities such as Miroslava Duma and Anna Dello Russo were photographed sporting her handbags.

Cademartori’s handbags are now sold by over 160 stockists, including Harvey Nichols,, and Saks Fifth Avenue. Almost half of the stockists are based in Italy. She also does business in emerging markets, including the UAE, Russia, Saudi Arabia, and Brazil. She hopes to increase her distribution in the United States through her upcoming partnership with Net-A-Porter.

The company is expected to generate $2.8 million in sales by the end of the year. Cademartori has not taken any external investment and owns 100 percent of the brand.

Cademartori has expanded her product offerings this season to include clutches and backpacks and plans to design small leather goods and shoes in upcoming collections. She also plans to open a shop in the future.

Prada Buys French Tannery

Prada handbagLuxury goods maker Prada has just purchased a vintage French tannery in a bid to set itself apart from the competition. The company did not disclose how much it paid for the Tannerie Megisserie Hervy.

According to Prada CEO Patrizio Bertelli, the tannery is a place where people who are highly skilled follow a long tradition of making quality goods. The work cannot be outsourced or easily replicated.

Tanneries are typically located along the banks of rivers. Work there is largely done by hand. Tanneries are a major barrier to entry in the luxury fashion industry.

Tanneries are becoming less and less common. In the 1980s, there were 60 tanneries in France, but there are now less than 20, according to France’s National Leather Council.

According to Marino Marin, head of the strategic advisory business at boutique investment bank MLV, the new tannery will give Prada supply-chain certainty. It will enable the fashion house to differentiate itself from other near-luxury houses that are also selling leather goods. Marin thinks the purchase is one of the best things Prada could have done to promote its brand.

The timing will help Prada avoid pressure from rising material costs. It will also give the brand provenance, a valuable piece of history that can be included in a marketing campaign and used as a justification to raise the prices of its handbags and other products. Other handbag makers, such as Coach, do not employ their own tanners. That point could distinguish Prada from the competition in the eyes of consumers.

Prada has been trying to separate itself from the rest of the fashion industry by reducing wholesale distribution and opening more stores. CEO Bertelli dislikes department stores.

Other luxury goods makers have been taking steps to bring their supply chains in-house. Hermes and Kering, which owns Gucci, have recently purchased French tanneries, and in 2013 LVMH Moet Hennessy Louis Vuitton bought an 80 percent stake in Italian textile maker Loro Piana, which specializes in sourcing extremely rare materials.

Everpurse Handbag Can Charge a Cell Phone

EverpurseEverpurse is a two-year-old fashion-technology company founded by Dan and Liz Salcedo that has designed innovative handbags that can wirelessly charge cell phones. The company has partnered with Samsung to use their advanced lightweight batteries for the bags.

The deal is unusual because Samsung normally only partners with large manufacturers. The company supports the Salcedos’ belief that the purses should be fashionable and that the designs should not be overwhelmed by the technology. The Everpurse handbags can charge a variety of phones, including the iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 Plus.

Everpurse began when Dan Salcedo tried to create a handbag that could charge a cell phone for Liz in 2011. They realized that there was a market for the idea. They have obtained patents on some parts of the products and have patents pending on other components. Everpurse has been selling the handbags on Kickstarter.

They launched a Kickstarter campaign in 2012 with a goal of $100,000, but they wound up raising $238,000. They announced a seed round of close to $1,000,000 this spring with money from family, friends, and SOS Ventures, the largest hardware VC firm that has invested.

When they created early versions of the Everpurse, they did not have access to Samsung’s light, thin batteries or a manufacturer that could create the handbags and incorporate the technology, so they hand-sewed the bags themselves. They found that the handbags appealed to women 30 and up who were on the go, but some thought the bags were too large and wanted a light to indicate when the cell phone was fully charged.

Everpurse is in the midst of its second Kickstarter campaign to raise money for its 2015 collection, which does not have any visible wires or cables and weighs as much as an iPhone. The collection includes leather and vegan purses in a variety of colors. Some are limited editions. Everpurse has also designed a hard-shell clutch with a charging station on the outside and a wallet on the inside intended for younger women.

One version of the technology keeps a phone charged for 48 hours, and other keeps it charged for 96 hours. At night, the bag is laid to rest on a wireless charging mat.

Over a dozen large fashion and accessories companies have become clients and want to use the technology in their own handbags. Some of those companies’ products are in the prototype stage, and others are in the contract stage of figuring out costs and how many to produce. One men’s designer will unveil a limited edition accessories collection during the last two weeks of Everpurse’s Kickstarter campaign. Everpurse has also drawn the attention of some major news outlets, including Good Morning America.

Even though they have deals with fashion designers, the Salcedos want to continue to sell Everpurses on Kickstarter to continue the relationships they have built with fans and get input on how to improve. They are working on “asset tracking” RFID technology to let a user know if essential items, such as a wallet or keys, are in the purse.

Trina Turk Introduces Handbag Collection

trina turkPalm Springs fashion designer Trina Turk added shoes and activewear to her line in the spring, and she is now introducing a handbag collection for the fall. Turk’s designs are known for their playful prints and retro southern California chic.

Turk decided to design handbags because her company had been purchasing them from other sources for their 10 stores. Customers told them that they wanted Trina Turk handbags.

The company had done some work on producing handbags in-house in the past, but they decided to work with Signal Brands on this collection. The company has experience in the handbag field.

Turk has collected around 100 handbags in the 19 years that she has been in business. She and her team went through them to find ideas and details that they could incorporate in their own designs.

Turk’s favorite feature of the new handbags is the tassel. It is included on some bags and can also be bought separately as a clip-on or key fob.

The collection includes a lot of color-blocking and mixing of textures. Her clothing line has lots of prints and patterns, so she wanted to avoid that with the handbags.

The handbag collection consists of three categories. Essentials are everyday handbags, such as the Manhattan tote. That handbag was created in versions with a black and white woven texture, all leather, and a haircalf panel.

The Luxe category includes pieces for evening events, such as clutches made with special novelty materials. One group uses chain mail mesh in matte black, silver, and gold based on designs from the 1970s. The Sunset clutch is crafted with leather and a wood handle.

The Sun category of handbags is less of a factor for the fall. It was designed to be included in the spring collection.

Furla Aims to Boost Affordable Luxury Sales

Furla handbagItalian handbag maker Furla is hoping to more than double its sales in the next five years. The company plans to do that by opening new stores and making inroads into the affordable luxury market. Furla is considering taking on debt or listing its stock in order to raise revenue to open new stores.

Furla’s sales were 228 million euros ($296 million) in 2013. Three quarters of its sales were outside Italy, which had the highest percentage of sales. Europe accounted for 30 percent of Furla’s sales in 2013; the Asia-Pacific region, 14 percent; and the United States, 9 percent. Furla’s Chief Executive Eraldo Poletto wants to increase the company’s sales to 500 million euros within the next five years.

Store openings between 2010 and 2013 helped Furla increase its sales by 45 percent during that period. The company currently has 367 single-brand shops and plans to increase that number by 40 by mid-2015. Most of the new stores will be in Europe and the Asia-Pacific region. The company will continue to renovate stores in Russia and expand its presence in Japan and the United States.

Demand for top-end goods has been declining. Furla wants to expand into the growing affordable luxury market throughout the world before other companies do.

Furla has been competing with American brands, such as Michael Kors, Coach, and Tory Burch, as well as France’s Longchamp. The company has also had to compete with top luxury companies for retail space.

Furla is known for its clean, linear, and minimalist handbag designs. The company has expanded its product lines to include shoes and a men’s collection aimed at Asian customers. It is also considering selling watches and beauty products.

Tina Craig Designs Snob Essentials Handbags

snob essentials handbagsFashion blogger Tina Craig, who has reviewed thousands of handbags, has launched her own handbag line called Snob Essentials. She has tried to create handbags that address features that she believes are lacking in other handbags. Craig’s handbags are designed to be fashionable, functional, high quality, and a good value. She designed them to appeal to consumers who are smart, have discerning taste, and know what they want.

Craig has been reviewing handbags for almost a decade. In that time, she has gained a wealth of knowledge about handbag design and function. Craig said that after reviewing thousands of handbags, she identified important features that she felt were missing and included them in her original designs. She said a new handbag can update a fall wardrobe without the need to buy many new clothes.

The bags are designed to be multifunctional. The larger bags have external pouches to carry essentials, such as money and keys, to avoid having to carry a large tote bag. The backpack can hold all of the necessities and can be worn on the arm to provide easy access to items.

Her fall collection was inspired by old world European luxury. The collection includes rich jewel-toned colors for fall and French sequined tweed. All of the hardware is plated and weighed, and all of the zippers and feet are functional. The bags are crafted with luxurious detailing that includes features such as custom hardware, hand-painted details, and double-bond biased stitching that are uncommon for bags in that price range.

LVMH and Hermes Reach Settlement

Hermes handbagLVMH Moet Hennessy Louis Vuitton and Hermes surprised the luxury goods industry when they reached an unexpected settlement in a long-running battle on September 3. The two companies had been locked in a four-year legal “handbag war.”

LVMH, the world’s leading luxury group, agreed to relinquish most of its 23.2 percent stake in Hermes and not to acquire any shares in the company for the next five years.

LVMH began acquiring shares in Hermes in 2007 through a series of equity derivatives, which it did not have to declare. LVMH revealed in 2010 that it had accumulated a 17-percent stake in Hermes.

LVMH had sought to acquire Hermes because the company’s handbags are considered good investments, it is more resistant to downturns than other luxury brands, and its products do well in the second-hand market. Hermes’ annual income has consistently grown by more than 10 percent per year, even as other luxury goods makers have experienced declines in sales.

In 2011, most of the key members of the Hermes family, which is the fourth-wealthiest in France, decided to join a holding that controlled Hermes and bound them for 20 years, making a takeover nearly impossible.

Under the terms of the deal, LVMH agreed to redistribute its shares in Hermes to its shareholders. They will receive one Hermes share for every 21 LVMH shares. The distribution must be completed by December 20.

The possibility of LVMH taking over Hermes had boosted Hermes’ stock. Its stock had been trading at a price-to-earnings ratio of about 30 times in recent years, which was a 70-percent premium to the industry average.

Shares in Hermes fell 3.5 percent by the close of business on the day of the announcement. LVMH’s shares rose about 3 percent after the announcement. LVMH will make about 3 billion euros from the deal. Group Arnault, LVMH’s holding company, will own 8.5 percent of Hermes after the shares are distributed.

France’s stock market regulator fined LVMH in 2013 for not properly disclosing its stake in Hermes. Hermes took legal action for alleged insider trading and stock price manipulation. LVMH accused Hermes of libel. The agreement ended all legal action between the companies.

LVMH has underperformed compared to other luxury goods companies in the past year because of declining cognac sales in China and slower growth in sales at Louis Vuitton, which generate its greatest profits. LVMH has acquired over 60 brands in the past 20 years. This is the first time the company has abandoned its goal of acquiring a brand.

Pink Tulips Gives Celebrities Handbags at Emmys Event

Pink TulipsRepresentatives of handbag maker Pink Tulips attended a special celebrity gifting event hosted by the Borgnine Group to celebrate the 2014 Primetime Emmy Awards in Los Angeles.

Pink Tulips was hand-picked to participate in the celebrity event, which included the stars of hit shows including True Blood, The Middle, Mad Men, Breaking Bad, Raising Hope, and others. Stars who attended the event were sent home with bags provided courtesy of Pink Tulips.

Pink Tulips recently released a new limited edition Wildflower Collection. The collection is a limited edition line of handbags made in Connecticut. The six bags come in a variety of prints, fabrics, and sizes.

The collection of handbags, clutches, totes, and other accessories includes pieces that are both contemporary and timeless. The bags are designed with both classic silhouettes and chic color combinations to compliment virtually any wardrobe. The handbags have unique stories to help customers visualize themselves carrying them as they go about their day-to-day activities. The totes, clutches, and satchels are inspired by and named after flowers.

The bags were popular among stars who attended the gifting event. The Scrabble Tote bag was the first one to go. The collection includes a Tapestry Word Game tote with words hidden in groups of letters.

Some of the bags incorporate animal themes, such as the Woof Fabric and Cock-a-Doodle-Do totes. They also designed a navy leather cross-body purse with a brass elephant embellishment for a woman on the go.

Pink Tulips was founded by Annette Cook in 2010. Its line of luxury handbags are designed to offer excellent quality, style, and craftsmanship. The business began a partnership with Urban Outfitters in 2012.

Which Handbag Style Is Right for You?

clutch handbagThe right handbag can be the perfect compliment to any fashion. Here are some tips to help you choose the right one to match your style.

A patent handbag is perfect for daily use. Whether you need a bag for work or a casual get-together, a patent handbag is the ideal choice.

Oversized handbags are always in style. If you like to carry a lot of items around so you are prepared for anything, go with an oversized tote bag.

If you carry a lot of small items and don’t want to have to dig around searching for them in a large handbag, a pocket bag is the right choice for you. Choose a bag with enough pockets to hold all the items you use on a regular basis.

A convertible handbag can hang across your body or be carried in your hand. Make the strap longer for times when you are on the go and make it shorter for a chic look.

If you are overwhelmed by a large bag, go for a mini handbag. Pick a bag that is just large enough for the basics.

The clutch is the hottest handbag this year. This type of bag offers a vintage style for someone who is constantly on the go. Choose a clutch that is just the right size to hold the essentials.

Metallic handbags are becoming a hot trend. Choose a fashionable color that will accent other items in your wardrobe.

While the colors that are in style may change, white is a classic color that is always trendy.

Choose a handbag that compliments your body type. Try on several and see which one looks the best and feels the most comfortable. Consider your personal style and how it will accentuate other items in your closet when making your choice.