Royce Leather Launches High-Tech Accessories Collection

Royce LeatherRoyce Leather has launched a new line of handbags, briefcases, and wallets for men and women with technology that can scan fingerprints so that only its owner can access its contents. Technology can also track the item’s location to prevent theft of its contents or of the owner’s identity. The items were designed by Royce Leather CEO Andrew Royce Bauer.

Approximately 13.1 million Americans were victims of identity theft in 2013. The briefcases, handbags, and wallets are equipped with RFID technology certified by the United States government to prevent identity theft. The technology can block scanning devices that can be used to read and store personal information from contactless smart cards. The items have a conductive layer that creates a barrier to limit the flow of RF energy between the reader and the smart card or other RFID device.

Bauer wanted to improve the function of a traditional wallet so that its owner would never lose it. The wallets have GPS tracking to locate them if they are lost. A tracker inside the wallet uses a Bluetooth connection to iOS and Android devices located within 100 feet of the wallet.

The technology used in the accessories was designed in California. Bauer believes his products will reduce time, stress, and anxiety for consumers because they will no longer need to worry about where their money is.

The handbags, briefcases, and wallets combine luxury design, materials, and craftsmanship with 21st century technology. They are made from Italian Saffiano leather and hand-milled hardware. The new items are part of a larger Royce Leather fashion accessories collection.

Royce Leather is one of the United States’ fastest growing corporations financially. It was founded in 1974 in New York City and was originally known as Emporium Leather. The family-owned company is currently under Andrew Royce Bauer’s creative direction. It creates handmade handbags, travel goods, and accessories for aspirational customers who seek functional pieces made with ethical manufacturing methods.

Lee Savage Designs Luxury Clutches

Lee Savage clutchDesigner Lee Savage has created a line of luxury clutches inspired by 20th century Minimalist art and architecture that are being sold around the world.

The pieces are made from solid brass frames, plated in metal, and lined with leather. She uses metals because they can create fine points and lines. Savage creates models of the handbags in her studio in New York and sends them to a factory in Italy, where they are manufactured.

Savage was inspired by her own tastes and problems that she had finding the right handbag. She wanted a bag that was clean and minimalist, but she felt that the ones available were part of an older market.

She studied the work of Minimalist artists such as Sol LeWitt and Donald Judd, who use geometric forms and linear repetition in their work. She tried to apply those same principles to her clutches.

Savage earned a B.A. in history from the University of Virginia and studied interior design at Parsons The New School for Design in New York. She worked for a time as an interior designer and designed handbags in her spare time. In September 2013 she officially launched her eponymous company.

In her first season, Savage worked with The White Space, a showroom and incubator founded by stylist Alison Brokaw to promote young designers. The partnership was helpful to her. She hosted a presentation for her spring 2014 collection, and Barneys New York and Net-a-porter decided to carry her pieces. Her bags are now sold worldwide, with an emphasis on the Middle East, as well as online.

Learning the business component of making handbags was a challenge for Savage. She had no experience with the sales process and public relations and learned as she went.

Savage hopes to grow her one-woman business. She is in the process of figuring out a strategy and looking for the right people. She hopes to expand her collection to include more day bags and to eventually create jewelry and other accessories. She might also return to the field of interior design.

Ralph Lauren Introduces Handbag with Light and Charger

Ralph Lauren RickyRalph Lauren, known as a classic and timeless brand, is trying to position itself as a leader in the emerging field of wearable tech. Unlike other companies making devices that are worn on the wrist, Ralph Lauren is incorporating technology in its handbags.

The company recently unveiled the “Ricky bag with light.” It is based on the design of the signature leather top-handle bag named after Ralph Lauren’s wife. The bag contains a built-in USB charger that can be used to power a smartphone, laptop, or desktop and a light to help find items easily.

The light in the Ricky turns on when an inside panel is opened. The charger is sewn into the body of the bag and has a separate cord that plugs into a USB port. The battery is good for about 1,000 charges or four to five months of continual light use.

The Ricky bag with light has been in development for about eight months. The bags are handmade in Italy from 50 pieces of leather and rose gold hardware. They are lined in purple nappa and take 12 hours to create.

The first version of the handbag is only available in 33-centimeter size and black. It will be available at first in only 10 Ralph Lauren stores by special order and will be sold more widely in February.

This is not Ralph Lauren’s first attempt at combining fashion and technology. It also introduced a Polo tech shirt that records the wearer’s heart rate, breathing, and stress levels. The company put on a “4-D” catwalk show during New York Fashion Week in which virtual models that stood four stories tall walked through a virtual New York landscape.

Other handbags have included lights and chargers. Furla’s Boarding Bag, introduced in 2006, was a leather and plastic top-handle bag with a light but has since been discontinued. British handbag maker Aspinal introduced the Marylebone Tech bag this year, a black leather tote with an internal charger. The Ricky is the first bag to include both features.

Eric Petersen Creates Luxury Handbag Collection

Eric Petersen handbagEric Petersen, a native of Toronto’s Scarborough suburb, has always been fascinated by flashy and shiny things, including his mother’s jewelry and handbags when he was growing up.

Petersen studied goldsmithing at George Brown College and graduated in 2008. He won the Louis Frankian Jewellers Award in his last year for his exceptional use of diamonds in his work. He went on to produce jewelry to protest violence and help a community organization.

Petersen decided that although he enjoyed working in jewelry, he would prefer to design luxury handbags and collaborate with a team who could help him bring his ideas to life. He began to use his jewelry-making skills to create gem-studded handbags.

To Petersen, handbags are oversized pieces of jewelry. He is fascinated by the designs, process, and craftsmanship that go into creating each piece.

Petersen and his collaborator, Marko Neofotistos, created samples that caught the attention of a former manager at Toronto’s Louis Vuitton store. That person encouraged him to study leatherworking in Europe to improve his craft.

He went to Florence in 2013 because of the city’s reputation as a center for production of accessories. He visited tanneries, learned from artisans who specialized in hardware and handbag manufacturing, and formed a production team.

While he was studying in Florence, Petersen created two leather handbags and one hard-case evening clutch in family-run factories. His Skyline clutch sample was made from a flat piece of sheet metal that he soldered into a handbag.

Petersen strives to create unique handbags for stylish women who like to stand out from the crowd. His luxury bags are made from gold-plated brass and the finest quality French and Italian leathers.

Petersen sells his handbags privately to a select group of affluent women and expects them to be sold more widely soon. He also plans to create a line of hard-case clutches and eventually eyewear, belts, jewelry, fragrances, and possibly footwear.

Christie’s Auctions Luxury Handbags in Hong Kong

Hermes handbagChristie’s conducted its first live auction of over 120 luxury handbags from top designers, including Hermes, Chanel, Bottega Veneta, and Louis Vuitton, in Hong Kong on November 24. The collection of handbags is estimated to be worth nearly $1 million.

The auction house hoped to draw in new buyers who have not participated in auctions before and to attract newly wealthy members of Asian society. Hong Kong has become the world’s third largest auction center, after London and New York.

The auction was expected to reinforce demand for luxury goods such as handbags and to increase appreciation for their enduring value. It should also benefit people who already own luxury handbags. Auctioning the vintage bags highlighted their craftsmanship, sophistication, and materials, which could reinforce the value of handbags that people already own.

Luxury handbags can cost thousands of dollars when new. These vintage handbags stand out because many of them come from limited editions with unusual hardware or exotic skins, such as porosus crocodile and ostrich. Some of the handbags are also offered in colors that have been discontinued.

The collection included handbags prized for their rarity, craftsmanship, and heritage. Many of the bags are in excellent condition. The selection included a 1993 Hermes Kelly handbag made from saltwater crocodile skin in sapphire blue and a matte gray crocodile skin Hermes Birkin, which were expected to sell for tens of thousands of dollars each.

Christie’s is hoping to expand its reach in the secondary market for luxury handbags, which are often in demand for collectors who consider them a wise investment. Buyers of secondhand goods may not be able to tell if an item is authentic. A reputable auction house like Christie’s can verify authenticity and protect buyers and sellers. Christie’s will not provide certificates of authenticity, but it will guarantee any statements made about the handbags for five years.

Christie’s created a separate Handbags & Accessories category in 2011 and began selling bags online based in London. This is the first time Christie’s has sold handbags as a separate category at a live auction.

Mulberry Introduces Less Expensive Products to Boost Sales

Mulberry handbagsIn an attempt to boost sales and appeal to younger consumers, luxury handbag maker Mulberry is introducing less expensive bags and accessories.

The company is introducing a line of several more affordable accessories to appeal to middle class shoppers. The collection includes phone covers, tasseled keyrings, and totes that cost significantly less than other handbags, such as the Cara Delevingne bag that was introduced earlier this year.

In a bid to appeal to younger customers, Mulberry has introduced the Blossom Collection. It includes electric bright totes and rain boots.

Mulberry has introduced a complimentary monogramming service at some of its locations for the holiday season. Customers can have their purchases embellished with letters, numbers, Christmas trees, presents with bows, holly sprigs, and snowflakes.

In a new Christmas advertisement, family members try to outdo each other with their gifts. The grandmother wins by presenting her granddaughter with a new Mulberry handbag.

Mulberry is also introducing products for pets. It has partnered with luxury dog and cat outfitters Mungo & Maud for a collection of collars and leads.

Mulberry has been struggling this year. The British brand has faced four consecutive profit warnings. The last caused it to lose almost 20 percent of its value in a single day. Its share price is down over 70 percent since May 2012.

Emma Hill became creative director in 2007 and created the “Alexa” satchel, which still accounts for 27 percent of Mulberry’s sales, and transformed the company into the fastest-growing luxury brand in 2011. Bruno Guillon, who served previously as managing director at Hermes, was appointed CEO to raise quality and prices. However, Hill soon announced her departure, and prices skyrocketed.

Mulberry is trying to boost sales and make a comeback. Company executives hope that the new products will appeal to customers who are drawn to the brand but who cannot afford a classic Mulberry handbag.

Kate Spade Reports Jump in Sales

Kate Spade handbagKate Spade Co. is positioning itself as a leader in the luxury handbag market. Sales rose by 30 percent from $192.7 million in the second quarter to $250.4 million in the third quarter and are expected to reach $1 billion by the end of the year. That led shares to rise by 21 percent.

The brand is popular with young people and celebrities. Teenagers Malia and Sasha Obama, daughters of President Barack Obama, as well as Sarah Jessica Parker, Taylor Swift, and other famous entertainers have been seen sporting Kate Spade handbags.

Most of Kate Spade’s revenue comes from sales in North America, which rose 36.4 percent in the third quarter, due in large part to demand for its high-margin kate spade new york handbags and accessories.

Kate Spade raised its global same-store sales growth forecast from 15-17 percent to 19-21 percent. Global same-store sales rose 15.2 percent in the third quarter, beating analyst expectations of a 10.9 percent rise. The company’s gross margins rose from 61.4 percent to 62.8 percent.

With the holiday season coming up, high promotional costs can cut into profits. Still, Kate Spade is expected to perform well between now and the end of the year.

Kate Spade was created in 1993 and has been developing into a fashion leader. Its collections include handbags, other accessories, clothing, and shoes. The company also recently released a coffee table book.

Kate Spade is now competing with Coach, which has seen sales fall for the last six consecutive quarters. Coach’s mass appeal is waning, but the company is in the midst of a redesigning process.

Another handbag maker, Michael Kors, is also suffering. Its stocks fell 10 percent after the company released a weak sales report. Some believe this decline is due to product saturation.

A third competitor, Tory Burch, also designs stylish handbags and has released a coffee table book. The company is doing well, and analysts will be watching it closely.

Henri Bendel Introduces Premium Handbags

Henri Bendel handbagUpscale New York-based department store Henri Bendel introduced its new six-piece collection of luxury handbags last week. The company launched the new Premium line of bags and updated its classic designs in an effort to increase its sense of quality and exclusivity. The introduction of the new handbags is intended to establish Henri Bendel as a brand, rather than a retailer.

The materials and designs are unique. They utilize hand-cut embossed Italian leather, hand-painted patterns, and fringe detailing.

The Premium collection was designed primarily by Pina Ferlisi, who became creative director for Henri Bendel in July 2012. She had previously worked in accessories at Marc Jacobs, Coach, and Alexander McQueen.

Ferlisi wanted to create a stylish and exclusive collection for customers who value elegance and vintage glamour. Henri Bendel is targeting consumers who are interested in mid-priced luxury bags.

The new handbags are being sold online and in select stores across the country. The company’s social media sites are also offering discounts.

Most department stores have their own branded lines so that they can retain a larger portion of revenue for each purchase and increase their market share in those products. Henri Bendel announced in April that it would no longer sell third party merchandise at its stores. Instead, the company wants to emphasize its in-house line. The changes took effect in September.

Henri Bendel was founded in 1895 in New York’s Greenwich Village. The company began to use brown-and-white-striped shopping bags in 1907. The bags have long been considered iconic. Henri Bendel has opened 28 stores outside New York City since 2007.

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, MatchesFashion.com, 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.

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