AND THE AWARD GOES TO: Henri Bendel feted contestants in the second annual Independent Handbag Designer Awards, whose bags are displayed in the retailer's Fifth Avenue windows.
Up for top prizes in categories such as Best Student Made Bag, Best Green Handbag and Best Handbag in Overall Style and Design, the honorees will be cited Wednesday during the awards gala at the New York Historical Society.
"These 20 designers, whether they are established or emerging, share a common passion, commitment and creativity to make a unique handbag while being role models for entrepreneurship and small business," said Emily Blumenthal, founder of the Independent Handbag Designer Awards and Handbag Designer 101, an organization devoted to helping independents start their lines.
Finalists are competing for prizes, such as an apprenticeship with Bendel's, an opportunity to have their bags on the Bag Borrow or Steal Web site and a free booth at the MAGIC Accessories Show in Las Vegas. In addition, American brand Leiber will be honored with the Iconoclast Award for being a leader in luxury accessories design. As an homage, Bendel's created a Judith Leiber for Henri Bendel limited edition "Roll" bag in dark chocolate brown that retails for $1,995. RARE STONES: Dolce & Gabbana is glamming it up for summer with a new limited edition sunglasses collection. Available in white or black, the three frame styles feature 112 Swarovski crystals decorating the temple in floral formations with semiprecious stones such as turquoise and coral. The sunglasses will hit Ilori stores this month, as well as high-end specialty stores and Dolce & Gabbana stores by the end of next month. The price for the eyewear is $960.
BAG OF TRICKS: Prada knows how to coddle its customers. This month, the luxury goods house launched a made-to-order service for bags, initially only available in its three Milan stores, alongside Prada units in Rome, London and Monte Carlo.
Clients seeking individuality can now indulge in a medium-size handbag with a gold metal zipper and name tag. The bags are available in python or ostrich and the color choices span from fuchsia and saffron yellow to rock brown and salmon pink. Prices are available only upon request in the stores.On a more whimsical note, Prada fans can turn to the updated lineup of the house's successful Tricks collection that includes teddy bear key rings and gadgets. They will be available in Prada flagships at the end of June. Spurred by the strong performance of the winter collection, Prada updated the offerings for spring by outfitting the little bears as sportsmen, including tennis and baseball players, a boxer and a swimmer, which retail for 120 euros, or $184 at current exchange rates. The Tricks line also includes white teddy-printed T-shirts and canvas bags in primary brights with applications of furry bears.
DAMIANI APPOINTMENT: Italian jewelry firm Damiani has named Antonio Pavan as president and chief executive officer of Damiani USA. Pavan, who is responsible for the company's dealings in North and South America, was chief operating officer of footwear firm Skins. Before that he was executive vice president of Geox USA and housewares firm Alessi USA, overseeing U.S. operations.
"We believe that [Pavan's] impressive international background and extensive American experience will be a great contribution to the growth and success of our company," said Giorgio Grassi Damiani, Damiani USA chairman and vice president of the Damiani Group.
EIGHT IS ENOUGH: Hogan is tweaking its Olympia sneaker, first designed for the 2004 Summer Games in Athens, for the Olympics in Beijing. The Tod's Group-owned Italian accessories brand will issue a limited number of 888 pairs — symbolizing the games' start date of Aug. 8, 2008 — of the ultralight, ivory sneaker with a gold band and red and green contrast stitching. They will be available at all Hogan flagships worldwide starting in July.
For its next men’s wear collection, @roberto_cavalli will show as a special guest at #PittiUomo, running from June 12-15. The brand, which has Florence in its roots, will relaunch its men’s wear collection, which will be presented separately from women’s wear for the first time since Paul Surridge was appointed creative director in May. #wwdnews #wwdfashion (📷: @aitorrosasphoto)
“I was making the guacamole when my scout saw me,” says model @stuckinteenage on being discovered just six months ago while working at @chipotlemexicangrill. Since then Williams has signed with @dnamodels, walked in her first show at @calvinklein and landed on the cover of @vogueitalia – a high point of any model’s career. To read @lisajlockwood’s full interview with the model on her experiences thus far, head to WWD.com – link in bio. (📷: George Chinsee)
“I love the idea of dialogue, period. It’s where I’ve always gotten my inspiration from: hearing other women speak, their journeys and their paths,” said @hereisgina, who delivered the keynote speech during @sxsw for @createcultivate in partnership with @fossil. For her two panels, Rodriguez chose female empowering, female-led and female entrepreneurs to focus on. Head to WWD.com to read more about her thoughts on Time’s Up, growing up in a family of women and why we “need a girls’ club.” #wwdeye #sxsw (📷: @jgreenery)
Leading luxury brand are shaking things up to keep up with streetwear. Case in point: the arrival of @mrkimjones as artistic director of @diorhomme. Jones, who succeeds @Kris_Van_Assche, is seen as one of the handful of designers who can actually straddle the luxury and streetwear worlds — which could lead to even more changes at established brands. What could this mean for the rest of the menswear landscape? Head to WWD.com to find out what experts predict #wwdfashion (📷: @franckmura)
“It’s like buying groceries. You’re going to buy the best mango, the best mozzarella, the best things. You have to, or others are going to take it all,” said @gabrielahearst on why she uses only the finest fabrics. Last week, Hearst received her first @cfda nomination for Womenswear Designer of the Year, and earlier this month she opened a permanent showroom in Paris. To read @jessiredale’s interview with the designer and find out why this is shaping up to be a big year for her, head to WWD.com. #wwdfashion (📷: @francoisgoize)
“It’s an interesting thing, playing a younger version of your mother. It’s an interesting concept. I adore my mom and love her in every capacity, but it was just something that had never crossed my mind,” says @anniemstarke on playing a young Joan Castleman in “The Wife.” The same role will be played by her mother Glenn Close. Read more about her growing up in the film industry as the daughter of producer John H. Starke and Close and what she has planned for the future #wwdeye (📷: @nataliamantini)
@asics is launching a new streetwear sneaker inspired by its latest ambassador, @steveaoki. The Hyper-Kenzen x Aoki, which will launch at @footlocker stores exclusively tomorrow, is a slip-on style that incorporates the brand’s proprietary Gel technology through beads integrated into the midsole for comfort and endurance. Read the full story on WWD.com.