Kate Falchi spent a good portion of her New York City childhood puttering around her father’s accessories atelier listening to the music of the Grateful Dead and the Rolling Stones, amid artisans at work among thousands of swatches of leathers. Little did her father — accessories maven Carlos Falchi — know, it would stick.
Now, Kate Falchi, 25, an alumnus of Trinity College and Parsons The New School for Design, has joined the family firm as associate designer. Her first order of business is collaborating with her father on the new Graffiti Collection to debut on Sept. 10 at Bergdorf Goodman during Fashion’s Night Out.
The younger Falchi, a fan of graffiti and doodling in general, has drawn and painted onto Falchi’s signature tiger snake bags. There are three prints, including a traditional graffiti print in green and red with an urban camouflage vibe; a punk-inspired bleeding hearts pattern, and a tattoo-esque rose print. Each bag is one of a kind and is done by the Falchis in their Manhattan studio.
The Graffiti Collection consists of six bags and a smattering of small leather goods. Retail prices range from $395 to $1,195. A portion of the “Missy” magazine tote, which is part of the collection, will be donated to a yet-to-be-named charity.
“Growing up, coming here was every girl’s dream. It was one big playground,” said Kate. “I got to draw and do all the artistic things I ever wanted to do.”
“It was very natural for me,” said Carlos Falchi of collaborating with his daughter. He met his wife, Missy Falchi, when she worked in public relations at Neiman Marcus, and she now runs the workshop. The couple has another daughter, Juliet, who works in product development at the Estée Lauder Cos. Inc.
Kate describes her graffiti as “stream of consciousness,” a product of listening to music with her father, who got his start in the Sixties as a night manager at Max’s Kansas City, a hot spot where he met many recording artists and started designing costumes for the likes of Miles Davis, Mick Jagger, Jerry Garcia, Elvis Presley and Tina Turner. Falchi eventually began making bags of supple leather and exotic skins which were picked up first by Henri Bendel. The line, which includes leather, exotic skins and microfibers, is now sold in specialty stores including Bergdorf’s and Saks Fifth Avenue.
In May, Wind-song Brands LLC, the Westport, Conn.-based private equity firm, teamed up with Marvin Traub Associates to form Falchi Holdings LLC, which acquired Carlos Falchi, the 37-year-old brand. Windsong has plans to grow the Falchi brand into a $250 million business in the next few years, by increasing distribution and licensing.
The only thing, perhaps, that has changed since father and daughter have started working together is the background music.
“We play classic rock, mostly,” said the elder Falchi.
Countered his daughter: “I’m showing him new stuff. We played The Kills for him, a little Kanye [West]. He likes Kings of Leon now.”
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