Venezuelan accessories designer Yliana Yepez used something she knows a lot about to raise awareness for the escalating violence in her home country — the handbag.
The former model launched Blues by KyKy in 1993, a contemporary handbag line that grew into a retail business in South America as well as in New York. Troubled by increasing unrest, violence and danger in Venezuela, she relocated with her family to New York in 2009 and finally shuttered Blues by KyKy in late 2012 while simultaneously launching a namesake brand.
With her new venture, she launched a more luxe, upscale line that would translate better for the New York market. It started to hit retail last August and is now carried in a number of Bloomingdale’s doors as well as Prologue Lifestyle in Toronto.
While the designer has been happily adjusting to life with her family in New York, the issues facing her fellow countrymen back in Venezuela continue to concern her. She heard about a new wave of violence and severe protests there over food shortages, the declining health care system and inflation in mid-February. She was in the midst of fashion week festivities, but felt conflicted that no one around her knew what was happening in her country. So she decided to design one of her signature Mini Giovanna bags in the colors of the Venezuelan flag — yellow with red and blue accents — to call attention to the political turmoil.
She started Instagramming the bag to get the attention of the industry. The designer plans to donate all proceeds of the sale of the bag to Fundación Sanando, a nonprofit organization that distributes medical supplies and addresses issues concerning health care. The Mini Giovanna Venezuela will retail for $695 at ylianayepez.com.
Her collection, all handmade in Italy, consists of totes, clutches, cross-body bags and large and mini backpacks. Most recently, Yliana launched minaudières called Grace in eight satin hues — red, teal, navy, gray, Champagne, black, wine and amethyst — black python-embossed leather and metallic python, all framed with 64 Swarovski crystals. The satin clutch retails for $1,250, the embossed python for $995 and the python clutch for $1,650.
“These collections continue to build on that vision, empowering differently abled adults to express themselves through fashion,” said @tommyhilfiger of his line of adaptive apparel, which launches today. The line consists of 37 men’s and 34 women’s styles based upon the pieces from the spring Tommy Hilfiger sportswear collection. #wwdnews
“Stranger Things” is getting a new cast member for season 2. Meet @sadiesink_, the 15-year-old who will be joining the Netflix series for its new season. You may recognize her from “The Glass Castle” with Brie Larson and Woody Harrelson, but the Texas native’s next role goes in an entirely different direction. She describes her character, Max, as “a rough and tumble skater girl [who] becomes friends with the boys at school.” The second season debuts on October 27. (📷: @jgreenery) #wwdeye
Amid the Harvey Weinstein controversy, there’s another sector that’s being put under the spotlight for sexual abuse: the modeling industry. While rumors about abuse and sexual harassment of female and male models — and the photographers, agents and others who perpetrated it — have circulated within the fashion world for years, model @cameronrussell started posting stories from models on Instagram last week about abusive situations they’ve encountered — from sexual harassment and molestation to attempted rape. Over 75 have weighed in so far. Read more on WWD.com. Link in bio. #wwdnews
To celebrate its 16th anniversary, @dylanscandybar tapped designers and celebrities to create mosaics out of candy. The mosaics will be auctioned off to support the philanthropic cause of each participant’s choice. Pictured here is the mural created by @aliceandolivia's Stacey Bendet. For a first look at some of the other artwork being unveiled tonight, go to WWD.com. #wwdeye
The annual Veuve Clicquot Polo Classic in Pacific Palisades this weekend drew Kate Hudson, Tracee Ellis Ross, Laura Dern and more. See pictures of the star-studded event on WWD.com. (📷: @chelsealaurenla) #wwdeye
In his new book “Hollywood Royale,” Andy Warhol’s Protégé Matthew Rolston celebrates the Eighties revival of Hollywood glamour. Featuring more than 100 portraits taken by Rolston from 1977 to 1993, the book contains photos of icons like Michael Jackson, Cyndi Lauper, and @drewbarrymore, pictured here in 1991. “Hollywood Royale,” out today, will be accompanied by an exhibition opening at Los Angeles’ Fahey/Klein Gallery on March 1. #wwdeye
"Nowadays when life is not so happy with everything going on in the world, I think people come to me for a little bit of whimsy and color and fun." - Designer Rebecca De Ravenel on her cult-favorite jewelry line. (📸 : @vsteves) #wwd40
“Everyone is talking about how the retail industry is struggling, but I think it’s an incredible time because brands who are doing something different and innovative are setting themselves up for the future,” said @adamgoldston, who founded the luxury athletic brand @apl with his brother @ryangoldsten. The Goldston’s are part of WWD’s 40 under 40: a group of industry notables. See the rest of the list on WWD.com. (📷: @vsteves) #wwd40
@eyeswoon blogger Athena Calderone debuted her first-ever cookbook, “Cook Beautiful,” which is heavily centered on the presentation and visual expression of food. Pictured here are her miso glazed carrots from the book. Get the recipe on WWD.com. (📷: @johnny_miller_) #wwdeye