NEW YORK — Cornelia Guest is out to turn her love of animals into a business.
Guest, a committed vegan who has never made a secret of her passion for dogs and animals of all kinds (she owns nine dogs, a tortoise and a donkey, named Madonna), has launched a collection of vegan handbags and small leather-free items for fall as another step in building a lifestyle company based on her beliefs.
Her first collection comprises 12 styles (there are six larger and six smaller shapes) that will range in price from $39 to $59 at retail for zip pouches to $285 for a woven, overnight bag. Silhouettes include hobos, satchels, a convertible crossbody messenger, a briefcase, pouchettes, cosmetic cases, an iPad case and an evening bag — available in a color palette of seasonal neutrals such as black, brown, navy, gray, burgundy and slate.
The socialite also maintains a thriving catering business, Cornelia Guest Events, and vegan cookie line, Cornelia Guest Cookies, and is currently finishing up a seasonal lifestyle book due out next spring that is being shot by Bruce Weber and contains a lot of vegetarian and vegan recipes. She said turning her eye to design was a natural next step.
“I want to do it all. I want to give people an intelligent alternative,” Guest said at her New York City showroom last week. “It’s fashion that’s accessible to everyone.”
Every piece in the line is priced under $300, a conscious decision on behalf of Guest. She holds up a blush-colored sequin evening bag with an enlarged gemstone clasp and a satin and chain strap, which will retail for $160. There’s also a $145 messenger bag that transforms into an evening clutch, wallets that start at $110 and cosmetic pouches that will cost $50 to $60.
Bloomingdale’s has picked up the collection, and five of the 12 styles — exclusive to the retailer — will hit shelves at three locations in the fall, including the retailer’s 59th Street flagship in New York.
“Bloomingdale’s loved the line because we were drawn to the chic aesthetic, as well as Cornelia’s sophisticated color palette,” said Bloomingdale’s fashion accessories director Brooke Jaffe. “We felt there was a great deal of value for our customer. For fall, there is a return to sophisticated glamour and these bags are it. The line will appeal to a range of shoppers, from someone simply looking for a stylish handbag to our environmentally aware consumer who will be drawn to that aspect of the collection.”
Guest aspires to become the top-selling eco-friendly accessory brand one day, and she looks to other female designers who’ve paved the way, such as Diane von Furstenberg and Stella McCartney.
“Look what they’ve done,” she said. “It’s much easier to make healthier choices today. I’m really proud of [the collection]. I want consumers to know that there’s a beautiful alternative. This is it. This is just the start of it.”
Taking the final spot on the mens’ portion of New York Fashion Week calendar next month will be none other than @tomford. Though he’s shown his men’s wear in New York in the past, this will mark the first time the designer has shown his men’s collection alone during New York Fashion Week: Men’s. His runway show will debut on February 6 at the Park Avenue Armory. #wwdfashion
London-based couture house @ralphandrusso has certainly been in the spotlight, having its dresses worn by @beyonce, Angelina Jolie, Meghan Markle in her engagement photos and more. For couture, Tamara Ralph focused on ornamentation — think: feathers with chain mail, jet embroidery and clusters of pearls and crystals. See the rest of the collection on WWD.com #wwdfashion #couture (📷: @giovanni_giannoni_photo)
Minnie Mouse celebrated her 90th birthday by getting her own star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame. For her celebratory luncheon, @coach’s creative director @stuartvevers dressed her in a custom made prairie dress, complete with Vever’s take on the polka dot – black sequined versions – under a cropped motorcycle jacket. The designer also put his own mark on Minnie’s classic red shoes, infusing the color with sparkles and adding some Coach crystals. “We chose colors that were very Minnie and also represented quintessential Coach elements,” said Vevers. #wwdfashion #nationalpolkadotday (📷: George Chinsee)
@nickjonas is unveiling his first-ever apparel collection through a partnership with John Varvatos. The limited-edition capsule, which makes its debut in spring, also marks the first time the designer has collaborated with anyone on a line. “The process in working with Nick is amazing. It’s inspiring to be around someone who is not only connected with the trade that they do, but also with what’s happening in the environment around him, and how that connects to what we do with style,” said Varvatos. (RG: @johnvarvatos) #wwdfashion
@margotrobbie steps out onto the red carpet wearing @miumiu. The actress is nominated for “Outstanding Performance by a Female Actor in a Leading Role” in “I, Tonya” at the #SagAwards. (📷: Stewart Cook) #wwdfashion
For @massimogiorgetti of @msgm, the Nineties are his favorite decade. “They had a huge impact on my personal growth. What I like of the Nineties is that they are not so precise in terms of style as other decades…there was actually a bit of everything,” he said. As seen on MSGM’s Spring 2018 show: tie-dye and a bit of grunge, two styles that are synonymous with the decade #wwdfashion #wwddecades (📷: @kukukuba)