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Matches Made in Heaven

There seems to be a cover to every pot when it comes to ready-to-wear designers collaborating with accessories makers. A look at some blossoming relationships.

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The couple: Eugenia Kim and Michael Kors

Hardly a monogamist, Kim also is pairing her funky hats with DKNY this season and has had past flings with Ralph Lauren, Diane von Furstenberg and Catherine Malandrino.

Flirtation: “I’ve known Michael for a long time,” said Kim, who for Kors made sporty yet chic canvas visors in white and pink, yellow and orange.

Matchmaker: Michael Kors’ senior vice president of accessories design, Richard Sinnott.

Match.com: “We did everything over e-mail and phone, so it was a pretty simple, direct collaboration,” said Kim.

The future: The jury is still out on whether the visors will be available at retail.

The couple: Swarovski and the Youngins

Sugar daddy: This accessories serial dater has been sponsoring up-and-coming designers for more than 10 years. This season, the brand is launching Atelier Swarovski, a collection of runway-ready crystal accessories designed by Rodarte, Phillip Lim and Doo-Ri Chung.

Dating tips: “We look at people’s past works and try to access creativity and appreciation of crystal, as it’s essential to use it in a striking way,” said Nadja Swarovski, vice president of international communications at the crystal company.

“Swarovski told me about the Atelier project a while ago,” said Chung, who will show her crystallized bracelets, necklaces and collars on her runway. “I submitted sketches and they really liked the direction.

Challenges: “When I think of jewelry, I’m not familiar with the language, so I brought in fabrics and got inspired by them,” said Chung.

The future: The $400 to $1600 collections will be available this spring at high-end retailers, including Colette, Maxfields and Corso Como.

The couple: Faraone Mennella and Carolina Herrera

Perhaps the most monogamous couple on the list, these two are peas in a pod when it comes to their runway relationship.

First date: “We were asked to do a few pieces for Carolina’s fashion show two years ago,” said Faraone Mennella co-designer Amedeo Scognamiglio. “And it went from doing some exclusive pieces at her boutique to becoming a consistent business.”

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Much in common: “We realized our clients and Carolina Herrera clients are the same,” he said. “They share the same style.”

The relationship: “We have earrings and brooches on the runway with diamonds, tourmalines, rubies — all cabochons,” said Scognamiglio. “They’re tough to sell in jewelry stores, but go so perfectly with Carolina’s gowns that they’re bestsellers at her stores.”

The marriage: According to Scognamiglio, the couple just signed a three-year contract solidifying the deal. Faraone Mennella will design, manufacture and provide jewelry for Herrera, while the collection, ranging from $5,000 to $20,000, will be the only jewelry in her stores. Also, everything on her runway will be branded Faraone Mennella for Carolina Herrera.

The couple: Kara Ross and J.Mendel

Flirtation: “We did a show during Oscar week with Gilles [Mendel] in L.A. and liked each other a lot,” said Ross. “We talked about doing something.”

Matchmaker: Mutual friend and stylist Mary Alice Stevenson.

The X factor: “There is an X motif running through the clothing and I made these half yellow gold-half gunmetal cuffs to coordinate with the colors of the clothing: lapis, hematites, greens and white jades,” said Ross. “It works with a lot of his colors.”

The relationship: “It was so fun,” said Ross. “He and his team are so great. It’s fun working with creative people with a similar aesthetic.”

The future: Retailing for less than $500, the bracelets will be available at J.Mendel boutiques and trunk shows as well as at Bergdorf Goodman. The collection is a starting point for Ross’ lower-priced line and future runway jaunts. “I would relish any other opportunity to work with him,” said Ross.

The couple: Brian Atwood and Katy Rodriguez

Matchmaker: Arianne Phillips, one of Hollywood’s premier costume designers and Rodriguez’s show stylist.

Love at first sight: “Different designers sent us look books,” said Rodriguez, a fashion week first-timer. “When I saw Brian Atwood’s shoes, I knew.”

High standards: “When we met with Brian’s people, they said he received 35 different show requests and he’s doing two shows,” said Rodriguez. “It’s a big coup for us.” (Atwood’s other show is Zac Posen.)

The future: “Hopefully, after this show, making collaborations will be easier,” said Rodriguez. “You have to prove you’re serious first.”

The couple: Sasha Primak and Erin Fetherston

Past fling: Primak worked with Threeasfour during fashion week in New York in February. “It was the first time working with designers,” said Primak. “We liked it.”

The courting: “Erin and I met and it was a great pairing,” said Primak. “We share an understanding of what makes a woman look feminine and refined.”

The relationship: The $10,000 to $30,000 baubles on Fetherston’s runway will include diamond pavé heart pendants, Art Deco earrings and bold rings from Primak’s new collection available at Sasha Primak retailers.

Clear skies ahead: The duo will begin an ongoing collaboration for next fall’s fashion week.

The couple: Erickson Beamon and Anna Sui

Long-term love: The designer jewelry brand has adorned every one of Sui’s runways.

Flirtations: “It’s always an exchange,” said Erickson Beamon designer Karen Erickson. “She had a concept and then it’s a give and take. She throws out an idea and then I give something back. It’s like volleyball.”

Final product: “We’re doing lots of brooches, which we don’t normally do for spring, and belts and bangles,” said Erickson. “We’re also using more plastic than we usually use.”

Playing the field: This spring, Erickson Beamon also will produce jewelry for Benjamin Cho and Temperley.

The future: Erickson Beamon for Anna Sui jewelry will be available online, in Anna Sui stores and at stores that carry her clothes.

The couple: Piaget and Marchesa

Flirtation: When Piaget heard Marchesa was looking for jewelry to complement its red-carpet gowns, the luxury firm jumped at the chance.

Past flings: Piaget most recently worked with Doo-Ri Chung on her spring 2007 show. The designer created limited edition watch straps, out this fall.

The future: The couple hopes the pairing will start a long relationship and is talking about collaborating again for fall. All of the jewelry and watches featured in the show will be available at Piaget boutiques in New York, and in Bal Harbour and Palm Beach, Fla.

The couple: Rachel Roy and John Hardy

A chance encounter: According to both designers, their collaboration was totally natural.

Relationship: Roy’s designs this season are modern and fluid, which meshes with Hardy’s understanding and appreciation of the organic form.

Inspiration: “It’s about the interplay of light and color in painting,” said Roy. “I love statement jewelry, and found in John Hardy beautiful, wearable pieces that simultaneously anchor the lightness of the clothing while echoing the light and patterns.”

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