MILAN — There’s life beyond the shoe for Bruno Magli.
This Thursday, the Italian accessories company is launching its first full-fledged handbag collection produced under the supervision of managing director Alexander Zschokke, who was hired last year by Bruno Magli’s new owners, the investment fund, Opera.
In presenting the handbags for the first time, Zschokke said his team’s effort was to convey an “emotion” with the new look of the brand products.
“We realized the brand was connected to positive qualities, such as functionality and quality, but that it didn’t make you dream,” Zschokke said at the company’s new 5,400-square-foot showroom decorated in the signature Magli chocolate brown and warm red.
Zschokke, a former brand director at Salvatore Ferragamo and Bally, assembled a new creative team that includes Paris fashion designer Sharon Wauchob and Canadian shoe designer Franklin Elman. Industry sources said prior to the managing director’s arrival, the Bruno Magli collections lacked focus and had become a follower of trends rather than a leading player. Under the ownership of the Magli heirs, the company, which was founded by designer Bruno Magli in 1936, was a revolving door of designers, from Diego Dolcini to Bruno Frisoni and Ernesto Esposito.
Determined to give the collection a tight focus, Zschokke is banking on three main designs to steer sales come spring: the calf, python or crocodile ring bag with handles in sterling silver or leather rings and leather strips encircling its structure; a retro-inspired leather and satin structured bag featuring two lateral pockets with nickel snaps, and a functional, soft shopping bag in bright colors. The color palette ranges from candy pastels to powder pink and deep lilac.
While the shoes are all produced in-house, the company is manufacturing the handbags at three Italian small leather goods manufacturers.
The company hopes the handbag division, which currently accounts for 18 percent of sales, will grow to represent 35 percent of volume by early 2005. Retail prices range from $426 to $920, converted from the euro at the current exchange rate.
In the U.S., which accounts for 38 percent of the company’s sales, the brand is available at Neiman Marcus, Saks Fifth Avenue, Nordstrom and Bloomingdale’s, and at Barneys New York with the men’s division.The Bologna-based company, which last year reported sales of $81.9 million, also relies on a network of 57 signature stores and almost 500 retailers worldwide.
Bruno Magli opened boutiques on Madison Avenue in New York and in Moscow this summer. Zschokke said he is in negotiations for a new Milan space between Via Montenapoleone and Via Spiga, which will either replace the current unit on Corso Vittorio Emanuele or the one in Via Manzoni. With an investment of $22.4 million, Opera plans to bring the number of Bruno Magli stores to 100 by 2005.
The company also is launching a selection of ready-to-wear, such as napa or python biker jackets in azure with a soft touch and feminine sartorial dusters in suede with hand-pleated cuffs in dusty pink.
“The collection is limited to items that don’t require a fitting room, for the time being,” Zschokke added.
@kith is moving into children’s. The men’s and women’s streetwear brand has launched Kidset, a Kith kids line located in New York at 64 Bleecker Street. The line includes mini versions of staple Kith pieces like the Astor bomber jacket and the Kith box logo sweatshirts, along with a wall that can display up to 120 pairs of shoes from @adidas, @newbalance, @timberland and more. #wwdfashion
“I just wanted to create this fully rounded character, but I do think what excited me most was just the opportunity to give a group of people representation that I feel needs it. I like to do characters in projects that stand for something and Karolina definitely does, so that was really exciting to me,” @ginnygardner says of her new role in @hulu’s “The Runaways.” Gardner plays Karolina Dean, a queer superhero, which is a rarity for @marvel. Read more about Gardner’s character on WWD.com #wwdeye (📷: @dandoperalski)
@heriethpaul and @gracebol have a moment on the @victoriassecret fashion show 2017. See every look from the runway on WWD.com. Link in bio. (📷: @giovanni_giannoni_photo) #wwdfashion #victoriassecret #VSFashionShow
“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