Founded in 1998, Nancy Gonzalez began as a small, family-run Colombian handbag brand, specializing in exotic skins. The designer, for whom the company is named, drew inspiration from her native country, and her collection attracted the attention of buyers from Bergdorf Goodman. Soon enough, they came knocking, and inked a deal with Gonzalez.
Today, Gonzalez’s vibrant and meticulously crafted bags are one of the department store’s key accessories brands, and her collection is sold at more than 300 luxury retailers around the world, including Neiman Marcus, Saks Fifth Avenue, Harrods, Tsum, Lane Crawford and Net-a-porter.
On Wednesday night, Gonzalez and her son Santiago, who serves as brand president, feted 15 years working with Bergdorf’s. Held at the retailer’s BG restaurant here, the party included the store’s executives, staff and buyers, to name a few.
“I wanted to celebrate the anniversary with people who made the brand a success,” Santiago Gonzalez told WWD. “Genius is really being able to work with a group of people and collaborate correctly. I always get asked what is the success of Nancy Gonzalez? We are the number-three brand at Bergdorf, and it is in fact due to the collaboration with Bergdorf’s staff. Nancy Gonzalez has been a collaboration with the salespeople, the stock team.”
“The customers,” Gonzalez said, interrupting her son. “Our first account started exactly 15 years ago with Bergdorf Goodman, then with Neiman Marcus. They are all like family.”
According to the mother-son duo, the handbag brand has grown into a “multimillion-dollar” brand and an important player in the global accessories market.
While Santiago declined to provide sales figures — “it’s bad luck, ” he offered — the company is focusing on opening boutiques in Asia. With a global footprint that mainly consists of shops-in-shop, the brand has begun expanding its own boutiques, primarily in Hong Kong and Korea. But the label is looking at stand-alone stores in those regions, and according to Santiago, he’s beginning to consider other markets, including the U.S.
Part of the company’s success is linked to its highly technical knowledge of how to use exotic skins. Gonzalez uses crocodile to simulate hand-woven wicker, for example, while also manipulating the texture of the skins.
“We can do anything with a crocodile skin,” Santiago said, while showcasing a cobalt crocodile tote with a colorful parrot charm made from crocodile skins.
“Even his eyes are made from crocodile skin,” Santiago said, gesticulating. “No one in humanity can do this.”
With a constant stream of designs — 150 new styles per season to be exact — Gonzalez said she is preoccupied with her work.
“I’m thinking about it all day long,” she said, explaining that art and nature have been major sources of inspiration for her work. “I travel a lot, but I want to enjoy life.”
Although the designer has no desire to slow down, she underscored that she also has no intention of selling her business, which is “growing steadily.”
A pensive Santiago paused for the first time before speaking.
“Everything is for sale,” he said.
“I don’t agree,” Gonzalez replied.
“Everything is for sale at the right moment,” he said with a grin.
Supermodel @helenachristensen teamed up with longtime friend and designer @camillastaerk on a joint @paredeyewear collaboration. The lineup features three styles and 11 offerings, all of which embody a vintage feel. Get all the details on how they celebrated the collab on WWD.com. #wwdaccessories #wwdeye (📷: @slovekinpics)
“It’s a hard industry to keep motivated, as well, so finding different subjects and people is what makes it worth it – when you’re like, oh, I’ve met great people, I feel like I’ve done something good, and I feel proud of having done this,” said French actress Stacy Martin on being grateful for the variety of roles she’s take on. Read @ktauer’s full interview with Martin on her her latest film “Godard Mon Amour.” #wwdeye (📷: @danieldorsa)
After showing in front of the Eiffel Tower for his last two women’s ready-to-wear collection, it looks like @anthonyvaccarello may be heading to the Big Apple. Sources say the designer will stage his next @ysl show in NYC on June 6. Get all the details on WWD.com. #wwdnews #wwdfashion (📷: @aitorrosasphoto)
EXCLUSIVE: Two and half months after John Targon, cofounder and codesigner of Baja East, was hired as creative director of the contemporary division at Marc Jacobs, he has left the company, WWD has learned. Marc Jacobs International, which is owned by LVMH Moët Hennessy Louis Vuitton, confirmed Targon’s departure in a statement: “John Targon is a talented designer and we appreciate the work he has done here. Ultimately working together did not make sense for the brand and we wish him the best.” Read the story by @jessiredale, link in bio. #wwdnews
@theluxurycollection is officially launching a collection, tapping Sofia Sanchez de Betak for the capsule. Over 30 styles will be featured in the Chufy x The Luxury Collection, debuting next month at Bergdorf Goodman, The Webster, FiveStory and more. De Betak, known as “@chufy,” drew inspiration for the collection from her trips to Japan in the past year #wwdfashion
@lhd, founder and CEO of @thewebster, has teamed up with @lebonmarcherivegauche for the European launch of her ready-to-wear line, LHD. The launch will come with an exclusive pop-up opening today that’s set to run through May 20. Located on the second floor, it carries her debut Miami-themed resort collection, launched in November as see-now-buy-now. #wwdfashion