The newest shoes, bags and baubles are bold across the board.
This story first appeared in the May 18, 2009 issue of WWD. Subscribe Today.
Backstory: Of all the things on Juniper Rose’s résumé — designing sportswear for Earl Jean, Mary-Kate and Ashley Olsen’s children’s collection, as well as her own contemporary line — it was her attempt at writing a young adult novel, which inspired her jewelry collection, called Falconiere. “[The book] was about fallen princesses, and queens and kings turned evil,” says Rose, a Parsons grad who works out of Katonah, N.Y. “I was spending a lot of time writing about the clothing and the jewelry the characters wore, and a friend of mine suggested that I start to make one of the pieces.” Four months later, Rose is shopping around her debut collection, while her book remains indefinitely shelved.
Collection: Inspired by the armor and medieval garb of Rose’s fictional characters, hefty chain and chain-mail necklaces decorated with rhinestones, and leather cuffs layered with hardware are at the core of Falconiere, named after a person who trains falcons to hunt. And as the name implies, there’s nothing delicate about them. “I’m from a clothing background, so I wanted the jewelry to almost serve as a piece of clothing rather than a little accessory,” says Rose.
Stats: Wholesale prices range from $100 for earrings, $200 for cuffs and $395 for necklaces. Rose is currently meeting with buyers.
— Jessica Iredale
Backstory: Shira Entis (right) and Alex Bell — best friends from Brown University and both 29 — bonded over their love of flea markets, yet often found themselves without the right tote in which to haul home all their loot. “We [were] always so frustrated by not having the perfect flea market bag, something hot to look at, but also roomy, [and] we couldn’t stand amassing all those plastic bags,” explains Entis, a fashion designer in New York who, with Bell, a lawyer, agreed to launch an eco-friendly, market-ready line of bags before their next birthdays.
Collection: “It was incredibly important to us to make the bags as green as possible, and the materials had to be sourced in America,” says Entis. Construction was also key, so the totes — made from certified organic cotton and hemp canvas — have a boxy shape and sturdy handle. Next up? All (vegetable-tanned) leather bags, executed in a smaller size for a purselike effect.
Stats: Bags wholesale for about $200 and are available at fleabg.com.
— Sarah Haight
Backstory: Born in Venezuela and raised in Texas — she currently lives in Dallas — Rocio Ildemaro, 33, spent her 20s learning the art of bespoke shoemaking, shuttling between Italy and New York while developing what one might call a very thick skin. “I’ve had cobblers and workshop guys yell at me, throw things at me,” says Ildemaro with a laugh. Her private bespoke footwear line morphed into her namesake collection this year. Perfectionism, while perhaps an old-world Italian factory owner’s bête noir, is evident in Ildemaro’s work, which highlights precise seaming and a mix-up of skins like ostrich, suede, and snake.
Collection: The shapes range from booties and Mary Janes to d’Orsay pumps and straight-up stilettos, but a luxe sensibility runs throughout. Ildemaro prefers to approach her designs with a cheeky, personalized hand, as with the sexy black boot she crafted for her thirtieth birthday, aptly dubbed, “Happy Birthday To Me.”
Stats: Wholesale prices range from $250 to $600; the line is currently available at Gregory’s Shoes.
Backstory: Heather Keller’s approach to jewelry design has been fairly by-the-book. The former Rizzoli and Gloss.com editor, who says she’s “always been drawn to jewelry because it’s the one thing that you put on by choice,” enrolled in goldsmithing classes at the School of Visual Arts in New York City and started making pieces for herself and friends for fun. Now, Dama, named for the queen in the Greek deck of cards, is her full-time gig. She is launching it for fall.
Collection: Greece and New York City, where Keller has homes, are her biggest influences. Her 70-piece collection includes gold, silver and brass statement cuffs and necklaces, some done with a gear motif, meant to reflect New York’s machine-age modernism and Greek classicism.
Stats: The wholesale prices range from $175 for earrings to $8,000 for a diamond-encrusted necklace and the line is available at damajewelry.com.
Diane de Maria
Backstory: The granddaughter of French Surrealist painter Pierre de Maria, Diane de Maria — seeking inspiration in “the passing of time” — looked to her grandfather’s machinistic art to create a collection of luxury bags, emblazoned with various motifs based on his nuts-and-bolts patterns. “The human versus machine” was the focal point of her grandfather’s work, says de Maria, who is 32; this might sound like an aesthetic better applied to, say, a loft redesign than a handbag collection, but the imagery is both unique and elegant.
Collection: De Maria has divided the bags into six “families”: Greta, Bonnie, Louise, Colette, Marika and Lucie, in silhouettes that vary from a medicine bag to a slim tote. Fashioned from French calf and lambskin, the pieces are tested for color fading and water resistance. “The hardware is all personalized and made from gold-plated brass,” adds de Maria. “Even the zippers are polished.”
Stats: Wholesaling between $188 and $750, the collection is available at Beyond 7 in New York.