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Miller Sisters in the Bags

Twenty8Twelve, the London ready-to-wear label designed by sisters Sienna and Savannah Miller, has jumped into the accessories market for fall.

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Twenty8Twelve, the London ready-to-wear label designed by sisters Sienna and Savannah Miller, has jumped into the accessories market for fall.

This story first appeared in the May 5, 2008 issue of WWD.  Subscribe Today.

The label has produced a 12-piece collection of tote bags, wallets and clutch bags in a range of leathers, from soft palma leather to glossy leathers embossed with crocodile and elephant textures.

“I love bags — who doesn’t?” Savannah Miller said of her decision to move into accessories. “We ultimately want to do as much as possible, but it took us a while to find our feet. And we wanted to make sure [the accessories] kept with the ethos of [the brand] by being affordable, but still really nice quality.”

Styles include a roomy tote called the Harlech, and a structured handbag named the Lezark, through to Jezebel, a zippered clutch, and a small purse, Wallace. There are also three styles of wide leather belts in the collection, alongside leather gloves and silk scarves.

“We wanted [the accessories] to both stand on their own and sit within the collection,” said Miller, whose inspirations for fall run from the gritty Shane Meadows film “This Is England” to Dylan Thomas’ poetry — Sienna Miller will star in a John Maybury film about the Welsh poet later this year.

For fall, the accessories’ color palette includes black and brown crocodile-look leathers; patent leathers in Oxblood, a burnished red; Flag, a rich blue, and Ebonised, a shiny black.

“The colors really lend themselves to winter,” Miller said.

Retail prices for the collection run from 85 pounds, or about $168, for a wallet, to 460 pounds, or $913, for the line’s largest bag, the Harlech. Miller said most of the bags were priced at around 300 pounds, or $592. Stores, including Harvey Nichols in London, Tracey Ross and Aura in Los Angeles, We One You Too in Washington and neimanmarcus.com, will carry the collection for fall. Miller said the pieces would stand separately from Twenty8Twelve’s ready-to-wear line in the stores’ accessories departments.

Vanessa James, brand product manager for Twenty8Twelve, declined to give a sales prediction for the line, but said she expected the collection would “grow organically.”

“We’re expanding accessories one step at a time; we want the line to grow naturally,” said James, who added that for spring 2009 the brand would add different leathers and more styles.

In line with the sisters’ aim that Sienna’s celebrity status shouldn’t be writ large on the collection, the accessories’ branding is minimal. One leather wallet has Twenty8Twelve embossed on black leather, with a barely discernible figure eight on the wallet’s gold stud. Other bags have chunkier gold hardware details, such as a clasp that looks like a door hinge.

“It feels quite industrial,” Miller said. “We actually looked in proper hardware stores [for inspiration]. We wanted a strong utility feeling.”

Miller added that she didn’t want the bags to be instantly identifiable as a brand, to avoid the “It” bag tag.

“I’m not a big fan of bling bags,” Miller said. “They’ve got to function. I’m not the kind of person who changes their bag every single day, so for me, less is more. [The line] concentrates on good quality.”

Meanwhile, Miller said the sisters’ clothing line, which launched for fall 2007, is “ticking along nicely” and added that a cropped tuxedo jacket had proved a particularly popular piece.

“We’re constantly learning, not only aesthetically, but from the point of view of being a new business,” Miller said.

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