LOS ANGELES — A month shy of opening a London boutique in Knightsbridge, their first ever, U.K.-based Elizabeth Rickard and Binith Shah — the founding designers behind the handbag and footwear label, Rickard Shah — are already contemplating a second door somewhere within driving distance of their hotel suite at the Chateau Marmont in West Hollywood.

“An L.A. store is something we’ve already been planning, even before this trip,” insisted Shah last week during their visit, when they met with press, a real estate broker and clients who already know of the fledgling British brand, among them Sarah Wynter, who came for a first look at spring 2004.

Projecting sales of just less than $1 million for 2004, split between bags and shoes, the three-year-old line also counts among its regulars Debra Messing, Natalie Portman and Brooke de Ocampo.

The brand’s embellished handbags retail from $590 to $4,500, but it’s with the coordinating heels that Rickard Shah aims to distinguish itself. Its couture shoe line utilizes a customized foot scanner the duo created with a German tech company. The process cuts the customary eight-month, three-fitting time line of traditional couture shoes to four weeks and one try. Couture prices run about 35 percent above the ready-to-wear shoes, which start at $395.

The line is available at Stanley Korshak in Dallas, Josephine in Chicago, various Nordstrom doors, Holt Renfrew in Toronto and Harrods in London.

Shah, a Seattle native, is familiar with intricate hand-beading and embroidery from his family’s private label business, while Rickard, who hails from the U.K., worked as a senior designer at Giorgio Armani and design director at Emanuel Ungaro before deciding to go independent — and away from rtw and into accessories.

Fall and resort feature sterling and gold lamé python skins and green, purple and fuchsia satins. Spring’s palette is softer (lilac, salmon and turquoise), with jewelry details. A larger white python clutch is edgier, as are colored alligator clutches.

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