By  on January 31, 2006

LONDON — Nylon, vinyl and techno canvas aren't words that set the average luxury customer's heart aflutter, but thanks to Stella McCartney, that may be about to change. The designer, famous for her love of animals and loathing of leather, has unveiled her first major accessories collection, a mix of man-made and natural fabrics with details such as heavy stitching, chunky chains, punk studs, and jet beading.

"I'm not trying to take over the world, but I do want to show that accessories can be made from a more ethical viewpoint — and be sexy and cool," McCartney said in an interview Monday. "The myth of leather — that every bag and shoe needs to be made from it — needs to be broken down. It's a bit caveman."

McCartney also said she believes there's a gap in the market for accessories made from non-leather alternatives.

"I don't think it's strange for a consumer to ask for a good-looking, non-leather handbag. It's sad there aren't 20 other fashion houses making non-leather products," she said.

The highly textured, brightly colored collection features handbags, purses, luggage, shoes, belts and jewelry. It will launch for fall. Retail prices range from $95 for some of the jewelry to $1,595 for the satin, or moiré and canvas, embroidered shoes. Dollar figures have been supplied by the company.

The line will sell in the Stella McCartney flagships in London, New York and Los Angeles, in addition to select retailers, including Selfridges and Le Printemps, starting in June.

Handbags range in price from $195 for the nylon Golborne bag, trimmed in black ribbon or velvet, to $1,395 for the vintage-inspired Appaloosa, made from shiny, high-tech strop patent fake leather.

"A bag is as important as a shoe, a coat or a dress," said McCartney. "Women rely on a bag to express themselves — especially in winter when we're all covered up. It's a statement piece that reflects a woman's personality, and it needs to be both individual looking and wearable."

To wit, McCartney said the bags all have inside compartments for keys, makeup, a wallet and phone. On the outside, the branding is subtle, and the logo is engraved on an antique-finished brass medallion. "I don't think my customers want to scream about having a designer bag," she said.

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