By  on February 6, 2012

Distinctive hardware aside, designerKatie Kiechel’s signature bag, The Curator’s Clutch, looks like anordinary leather clutch at first glance. It’s not. The flap isinconspicuously split in half — which becomes obvious only after slidingthe infinity-shaped hardware vertically between two metal bars to getinside the bag. This detailing, although subtle, is enough to give herbags a unique quality, Kiechel said, hoping it will set her offeringsapart in the contemporary handbag category.

“I had been given agift years ago that someone bought in a flea market in Italy that had asimilar functionality, but on a really small scale. The hardwareconstruction was so genius, the way that it was made,” Kiechel said. “Iworked for a while to figure out a way to work it into closures andflaps. I had never seen a closure like that on a handbag, so it was achallenge.”

The 10-style K. Kiechel collection also includessatchels, briefcase silhouettes, shoulder bags, totes and structuredpyramid-shaped wristlets that retail from $390 to $690. For the mostpart, the color palette is neutral, comprised of black, taupe, peach andivory, but Kiechel mixes it up with pops of seafoam green calf hair,saturated acid-yellow suede and perforated leather.

The designerhoned her craft at Calvin Klein, Kate Spade and, most recently, ReedKrakoff, but left last year to start working on her namesake line, whichshe said was inspired by traditional utilitarian accessories.

All the bags are adorned with either matte oxidized copper or bronzehardware that Kiechel created with jewelry designer friend PabloValencia. Kiechel said the hardware adds “a softened artisanal touch butwith a feminine twist.”

“We wanted to have some sort of jewelrypiece to hang from the bag — something that didn’t look mass market andcommon. That’s where we came up with a hand-carved surface. That wasthe whole idea.”

The spring line will be carried at Fred Segalin Los Angeles, Showroom in San Francisco and Savage in Toronto.


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