That was the word Dee Hilfiger chose to describe her new line of handbags, simply titled Dee Ocleppo. After a brief hiatus, the designer, and wife of Tommy Hilfiger, is reentering the accessories market with a new objective: luxury. Hilfiger introduced a line of customizable handbags on HSN in 2011, under the name “Deesigns by Dee Ocleppo.” Inspired by her first childhood bag, a vintage purse with a cotton cover that could be buttoned off, the line featured bags with removable swatches of reversible, decorative fabric. Despite selling well, with retail prices around the $100 mark, Hilfiger wasn’t quite satisfied.
“I wanted to do luxury,” she said. “I had this dream that I wanted to do it in Italy, so I did go over and start making samples for myself.”
After reworking the bags, now with reversible covers in exotic skins and furs, she went to her friend Marigay McKee, then chief merchant of Harrods, for feedback. To her surprise, McKee placed an order for spring 2014 for Harrods on the spot. “I wasn’t pitching. I just wanted her advice,” said Hilfiger. “She was like, ‘Great, I love them, I’ll take them.’ It caught me a little off guard. All of a sudden, I found myself in business. It wasn’t exactly how I expected to do it, but I dove in headfirst.”
Following the exclusive run at Harrods, Hilfiger is gearing up for her first full-fledged season with a new showroom in the Trump Tower on Fifth Avenue, and a new collection. For fall, Hilfiger is showing a full range of new styles, including shopper totes, clutches and cross-body bags, with “jackets” in materials such as fox fur, python, crocodile, ostrich and suede. Bags are sold with the reversible jackets, essentially giving consumers three different looks in one. “I feel, definitely, that we found an original voice to come into the market,” she said. “There’s a reason that we’re here. It’s not because I’m bored and we’re making bags.”
With a larger retail push in sight, Hilfiger is learning the challenges of entering an already saturated market. “I have a whole new respect for my husband, and anybody in design. It’s a tough grind, whether it’s dealing with the factories or buyers,” she said. “It’s a lot more difficult than I thought it would be. A lot of times when you’re new to the industry, you have to convince people why they should be in your store. The tendency is to go with whatever is safe, or a big brand. I’m a small brand. I’m not a Balenciaga, I’m not a Louis Vuitton.”
Therein, she notes, lies the beauty of offering something original. “We all love a Hermès bag, but a lot of women have them. These are kind of fun because they are just as luxurious and made in the same factories, but they are different. You’re not going to have the same bag, and by the way, if you walk into a party and someone has the same bag, you can just flip the cover,” Hilfiger said.
She hasn’t hesitated to turn to her husband while dealing with the unfamiliar landscape. “The best advice he’s given me is to keep it small and stay focused,” she said. For his part, Tommy Hilfiger defers any creative input, saying that he only offers business advice. “She knows exactly what she likes and what she doesn’t,” he said during a quick stop in the showroom to examine the newly finished space. “There is nothing like them. You can find exotic bags, but not with reversible covers. It’s like three bags in one.”
Dee Hilfiger will preview the fall collection to select press today. The line, which ranges from $595 for a clutch to $12,000 for a crocodile tote with python and fox fur, will hit stores in late August and early September. Confirmed retailers include Harrods and select Saks Fifth Avenue locations, as well as saks.com. E-commerce on Deeocleppo.com is also planned to roll out around this time. “Last season we were just dipping our toe in the water,” Hilfiger said. “Now I have a real business.”
EXCLUSIVE: @tomford is opening its first-ever beauty store. The boutique, which opens November 20 in London’s Covent Gardens, was designed with the over-the-top glam Ford is known for. Read the full story on WWD.com, link in bio. #wwdbeauty #wwdnews (📷: Simon Wagner) #TomFordBeauty
New York-based DJ @harleyvnewton threw a party to celebrate the holiday collection of her dress and pajama line @hvn at the Ladurée Beverly Hills. It Girls @katebosworth, @rashidajones and more joined in on the fun, which included cocktails, croque monsieur sandwiches and a photo booth. #wwdfashion (📷: Owen Kolasinski/BFA.com)
For the holidays, @Burberry partnered with 20-year-old artist @blondeymccoy on a series of three outdoor murals in downtown Manhattan. The murals are McCoy’s interpretation of a Christmas eve party, the idea of charity and the spirit of family. His third mural, pictured here, is the most personal. The image depicts McCoy’s grandparents and father in London’s Trafalgar Square in the Seventies. “My work often features lots of sentimental objects.” #wwdeye
For spring 2018, designers applied bold colors and cartoonish motifs on everything from sneakers and belts to key chains. See all the top men’s accessories trends on WWD.com. #wwdtrends (📷: George Chinsee; Prop Styling by @rnasti; Market Editor: @luiscampuzano)
The @dior-sponsored @guggenheim international gala pre-party has a history of drawing cool-girl musical acts to serenade the crowd –– and last night was no exception. @haimtheband performed songs both new and old, and lured a star-studded audience with the likes of Rebecca Hall, Kate Mara, Mamoudou Athie and more. #wwdeye (📷: @lexieblacklock)
In a partnership between the @metopera and the @englishnationalopera, “Marnie” was born. The opera, with costumes sponsored by @mrporterlive, is an adaptation of the 1961 thriller by Winston Graham. Arianne Phillips, who created the costumes, is no rookie: She’s styled Madonna for her tours and created costumes for a myriad of films in the past. Read WWD’s interview with Phillips, where she talks about her inspiration for the opera’s costumes on WWD.com #wwdfashion
@barneysnyc took a different approach to their holiday windows this year. Instead of Christmas decor, Barneys tapped @thehaasbrothers to tell a story of positivity, gratitude and inclusivity via heartwarming silliness and humor. “It’s about kids and it’s about coming together and being family and loving each other,” said Simon Haas. #wwdfashion (📷: @joshuascottphoto)
Beauty influencer @kandeejohnson makes her foray into hair care with a collaboration with @ogx_beauty — making it the first time that OGX has teamed up for a product creation. The collab includes shampoos and conditioners in three scents. At 39 and a mom, Johnson is a different profile than the emerging social media stars, but is considered one of the pioneers of the digital beauty influencer world. Read WWD’s interview with her on wwd.com, including the strangest beauty product she’s ever tried #wwdbeauty