Exotic skins are getting techie. Accessories houses are experimenting with innovations in the category, ranging from lasers to glosses to foiling techniques. The goal: to produce handbags that are as unique as they are luxurious.
This story first appeared in the August 15, 2011 issue of WWD. Subscribe Today.
Nancy Gonzalez is incorporating a new satin finish onto its colorful python and lizard handbags, resulting in a polished, glazed look that’s neither shiny nor matte. The brand has also embraced laser cutting for more advanced patternmaking and precision. “When a laser cuts, it burns at the same time. I can cut right at the border and not have to go back; there’s no fringe left over and it’s very clean,” says president Santiago Gonzalez. “You can cut really intricate patterns.”
Kara Ross worked with her tannery to create Ximo, a treatment in which metallic foils in gold and platinum hues are placed over black pythons for a look inspired by the dunes of Long Island. “They have this beautiful lightness and wispy texture,” Ross says. “We took this concept to give our bags the edge and pop that make this python unique and fashion-forward.”
Bottega Veneta’s Velluto collection was inspired by the velvet curtains of an old Italian theater. The skins are acidified before being hand-cut and sewn together in alternating python and velvet stripes. No two bags are alike.
Sang A Im-Propp uses a metallic layer that gives her Sang A bags an illuminated finish as well as a moisturized, almost waxlike texture, while Roberto Cavalli is also adding an extra layer to his rock pythons in the form of an aniline dye, which is then polished with bleach and fluorescent finishing.
“I’ve always said that God is the greatest designer,” Cavalli says. “Python empowers the woman who wears it. It’s a seductive, luxurious material.”