LONDON — Asprey has tapped a new creative director, accessories designer Bruce Hoeksema.
Hoeksema is the former president of Valentino USA, and founder and designer of the VBH accessories label. He will continue to design VBH, which is based in Rome. The designer had been consulting for Asprey over the past year, and designed two best-selling handbags for the brand, the Darcy bag and the 1781.
“He’s done a tremendous job with ladies’ handbags, and we’ve gotten a great response from the client base,” said John Rigas, chairman and chief executiveofficer of Asprey International. The Darcy bag, which is handmade, has an eight-month waiting list, he said.
“We’re very confident that Bruce can oversee Asprey’s four main product categories — leather, silver, jewelry and watches,” he added.
Asked about the company’s hunt for a new managing director, Rigas said, “We are very relaxed about the search, and will make an appointment prior to the fall.”
Hoeksema said his goal is to create “beautiful, chic, luxury pieces — which are not so easy to find today. Asprey has such an incredible name and heritage — and there is so much potential here,” he said, adding that he was equally passionate about the smaller categories such as china and crystal.
Hoeksema left Valentino at the start of 2001, and set up VBH, which stands for V. Bruce Hoeksema, in 1999. His high-end handbags, which are produced in Italy in limited runs, have a fan list including First Lady Michelle Obama.
In other Asprey news, the brand has opened a pop-up shop in Southampton, N.Y. The 1,500-square-foot store, at 45 Main Street, stocks gift items and summer china, crystal, silver and leather.
An Asprey spokeswoman said the brand wants to introduce new customers and service “our existing Manhattan customers who summer in the Hamptons. Asprey has always shipped so many gifts to the Hamptons, we think it’s a natural extension.” The store will remain open until Labor Day weekend.
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“Azzedine has been one of the biggest influences in my life. He has always been such a strong, loving, fatherly figure to me. I call him Papa. His designs are indescribably unique, they are pieces of art. He knew how to make the female form look its loveliest. I have so many memories of him; my favorite might be during my first show with him in Paris. He liked me and he wanted to help me get more work. He called all his friends at Kenzo and Comme des Garcons, and asked them to book me. They said, ‘But she can’t walk!’ And he said, ‘but she has such a great ass!' His friendship and support has been the great privilege of my career. I can't imagine life without him. Repose en paix mon Papa.” - @stephanieseymour tells @wwd. #wwdfashion (📷: @steveeichner) #alaia #azzedinealaia
Azzedine Alaïa, flanked by two of his closest friends, models Stephanie Seymour and Naomi Campbell.
He designed Seymour’s dress for her 1995 wedding to Peter Brant, and treated Campbell (who famously called him Papa), like a daughter. For more on the legendary designer, tap the link in bio. #wwdfashion #alaia #azzedinealaia