NEW YORK — Elie Tahari’s T Tahari label is adding handbags and small leather goods to its contemporary and ready-to-wear portfolio in an attempt to gain lifestyle-brand status.In partnership with licensee Envisage Group, the fall collection will hit stores this month, and will include shoulder bags, totes, hobos, clutches and wallets, with refined styling. This translates to a product that incorporates sculpted and textured materials found around the world, including Italy, Brazil and Asia. The collection, which is inspired by Tahari’s 2012 rtw line, which made its debut in February, mixes different leathers, Italian snake prints and custom hardware with rich hues of navy, plum and deep Tuscan red. With price points that hover between $198 and $328, the collection will be carried at department stores such as Nordstrom and Dillard’s. “It’s a European-style product at department-store pricing,” said Ron Donchez, a founding partner of Envisage. “The way the bags are finished, they will stand out in an overcrowded marketplace.”Chairman and chief executive officer Elie Tahari said T Tahari is meant to serve what he called the “emerging affordable luxury market.“The shortest distance between two points is truth,” Tahari told WWD. “It’s a straight line. Whoever is going to manage to bring luxury to the consumer is going to have a great business.”Tahari said he’s aiming for the new line, which encompasses 30 to 40 styles, to double its sales every year. “With the growing success of the T Tahari collection, this partnership with Envisage Group is the next step in continuing to build our T Tahari lifestyle brand and will allow our customers to further experience the world of T Tahari,” he said. Last month, the ceo went on a hiring spree, fueled by the growth of the contemporary division, which was spun off from the company’s namesake label in 2007. New faces include Debbie Elmore as president of T Tahari wholesale and Michael Celestino, who will serve as president of retail, and oversee operations of the company’s 32 stores.
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