Aldo Lopez might be considered the ultimate dreamer. Last year, Lopez decided to abandon his career as a high-profile lawyer and launch a luxury accessories line called Mos Milano for spring 2009, comprising jewelry, handbags and eyewear. Handmade in Italy by carefully selected artisans, the collection’s leitmotif is the infinity sign, discreetly embellishing the arms of the glasses and adorning diamond earrings.
The economy tanked in the months after the launch, and Lopez is fully aware that “it was a bad moment and 2009 is even worse.” But he continues to see an opportunity in the development of his concept. “Retailers want to experiment because they need to create interest and stimulate their customers. With us, they are freed from minimum purchases, versus constraining limits often imposed by big designer brands,” says Lopez, who remains confident in long-term results. “I know it’s going to be a very long process to establish our identity — and it may take up to 10 years — but I want this to become a small luxury maison, known for its true craftsmanship and classic-yet-contemporary accessories made by the best artisans in the sector.”
Mos Milano jewelry was snapped up by Pisa, one of Milan’s toniest jewelers, and also is carried at Quarter 206 in Berlin and Boutique 1 in Dubai, among other locations. Lopez points to the brand’s three categories as an “element of strength — more difficult to create but easier to communicate,” as, together, they convey a comprehensive message of style.
Indeed, product differentiation is the driving strategy for a number of accessories brands. In a dismal economy, this tactic is seen as a service to retailers and an opportunity to reach a wider customer base. For fall 2009, Furla launched its first men’s accessories collection, Valextra added a few men’s shirts and jackets to its accessories collection and Prada-owned footwear brand Church’s expanded its core business with a comprehensive collection of bags, small leather goods, umbrellas and scarves.
In November, Samsonite launched a new division, Samsonite Footwear, headquartered in Milan, to develop and globally distribute a shoe collection. “The goal is to further grow the value of the brand, which is known for its bags and travel accessories, through an extension in footwear with products marked by style and comfort, stemming from values such as durability and reliability,” said the company in a statement. Case in point: a blue-and-silver suede and nylon sneaker distinguished by Samsonite’s iconic logo stitched on the side. “The extension is synergic with our core business,” the statement reads.
Licensing agreements are also a means to enter new territories. Braccialini, known for its colorful patchwork bags and quirky totes shaped as London cabs or owls, has been leveraging a number of licenses to bring visibility to the brand. The latest venture is an innerwear line licensed to Como, Italy-based Frangi, which will bow for fall 2009. Frangi also has been producing Braccialini branded scarves for the past two years. As a first foray outside its core business, Braccialini launched its umbrellas, licensed to H2O, and Lorenzo Braccialini, in charge of marketing at the family-owned company, says this license continues to work “very, very well.”
Last year, Braccialini launched its first fragrance, The First, with Schiapparelli Pikenz and will introduce a higher-end scent at the end of the year. Licenses, says Braccialini, help avoid dealing with production costs, shipments and distribution, although the company invests in a design team that supports licensing.
“Licenses work only if you are completely hands-on,” says Braccialini. “And if you have a lifestyle to communicate.”
The firm also takes advantage of its parent company Mariella Burani Fashion Group’s synergies to provide additional merchandise. For example, MBFG’s Facco Corp. produces and distributes Braccialini’s jewelry, which was launched two years ago.
Breaking News: @louisvuitton's men's artistic director @mrkimjones is leaving the French fashion house after nearly 7 years. Jones joined Louis Vuitton in 2011, following a three year tenure as creative director of British luxury goods brand Alfred Dunhill. Jones is to exit Louis Vuitton after showing his fall 2018 collection for the brand in Paris on Thursday. Read the full exclusive story on WWD.com. Link in bio. #wwdnews #wwdfashion
For men’s fall 2018, @giuseppezanotti drew on elements from streetwear, sport, biker, combat and rock ‘n’ roll. Pictured here are a pair of shoes from the collection, featuring zippers, rhinestones, and silver hardware. Head to WWD.com to see a roundup of the accessories from Milan’s men’s fall 2018 shows. #wwdfashion (📷: Andrea Delb)
To celebrate the 25th anniversary of @ralphlauren’s snowboarding collection, the brand is mining its archives. The iconic brand is reintroducing vintage styles and dropping new designs for a color capsule that will be available in Ralph Lauren stores and @openingceremony on January 25. The capsule will consist of 10 pieces, including the Snow Beach Pullover, pictured here, which is a collector’s item that rapper Raekwon wore in Wu-Tang Clan’s “Can It Be All So Simple” video. #wwdfashion (📷: Tom Gould)
For @rochasofficial’s pre-fall 2018 collection, creative director Alessandro Dell’Acqua channeled the sophisticated and intriguing Catherine Denevue in the film “Belle de Jour.” Polished collarless coats, midi skirts, suits and ’60s graphic motifs were all featured in the collection, adding a sense of discreet luxury. See the rest of the photos on WWD.com #wwdfashion
“We tried to produce clothing of that couture quality, but the most daunting part was that we only had a matter of days [to do it],” said costume designer Lou Eyrich, who recreated Gianni Versace’s iconic looks for @americancrimestoryfx. Eyrich searched online retailers and vintage shops for original pieces from the design house and for @penelopecruzoficial, who plays Donatella Versace. Head to WWD.com to read how she created the Versace world. #wwdfashion
Only three months after her stellar debut catwalk season, @kaiagerber has inked her first big design collaboration –– with @karllagerfeld. The collection blends Lagerfeld’s Parisian chic aesthetic and the model’s signature West Coast casual style via RTW, accessories, footwear and more. The #KarlLagerfeldxKaia collection will launch in September with a series of events. Get all the details on WWD.com. #wwdnews #wwdfashion
Harrods plans to remove the famous statue of Princess Diana and Dodi Al Fayed from the bottom of the Egyptian escalators and hand it back to Mohamed Al-Fayed. “We are very proud to have played our role in celebrating the lives of Diana, Princess of Wales and Dodi Al Fayed at Harrods and to have welcomed people from around the world to visit the memorial for the past 20 years,” said Michael Ward, Harrods managing director. “With the announcement of the new official memorial statue to Diana, Princess of Wales at Kensington Palace, we feel that the time is right to return this memorial to Mr. Al Fayed and for the public to be invited to pay their respects at the palace.” More on the news, with reporting by @loreleimarfil, at WWD.com. #wwdnews