Michele Adds Handbags for Fall

Watch firm Michele feels it's time to grow into fuller accessories brand.

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Michele is moving toward becoming a full-fledged accessories brand.

This story first appeared in the August 3, 2009 issue of WWD.  Subscribe Today.

The Richardson, Tex.-based watch firm, owned by Fossil Inc., is extending its accessories offerings with a handbag line bowing for fall.

“Handbags are the ultimate accessory,” said Steven Barbery, vice president of Michele. “With the continued success of the watch collection, we believe that this is a natural extension as we develop Michele into a lifestyle brand.”

Last April, Michele launched an eyewear collection, signaling to the market that it is interested in more than just timepieces. Similarly, parent company Fossil, with $1.62 billion in annual sales, is expanding its breadth with a collection of handbags, apparel and, most recently, shoes.

According to Barbery, the fall collection was inspired by the “chic modern woman with an urban sensibility.” Gold hardware adorns the styles, most of which are made of soft Italian leather. Additional features include chains, studs and zipper detailing. Styles range from shoulder bags to clutches to satchels and include dark palettes of berry, navy and brown. Groups are named for women, such as Inez, an updated hobo shape; Kylie, which features leather silhouettes with a weathered look, and Kenya, a vintage-inspired group with python-embellished barrel handles and studded details.

“We expect Michele handbags to secure a dominant position in the accessories market like Michele watches,” Barbery said. “The handbag collections will play a key role in the growth of the Michele brand.”

Michele handbags retail from $295 to $745 and will be available at michele.com, Nordstrom, Saks Fifth Avenue and Bloomingdale’s.

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