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.In tune with McCartney's love of horses, the nine handbag styles have all been named after different breeds: Appaloosa, Dartmoor, Morgan, Brumby, Palomino, Mustang, Falabella, Pinto and Golborne.
Footwear, of which there are 10 styles, starts from $395 for the leopard print satin shoe. McCartney said she's given her beloved high-heeled shoes new toe shapes, and addressed flat shoes.
"I'm like every other woman: I want a good flat boot for winter and a flat ballerina for summer," she said.
Prices of bags and shoes are in line with other designer collections and, in some cases, they're more expensive because of the material or treatment. "Often, the price that's put on the skin of an animal is not that high," she said.
Texture plays a major role across the entire collection, with materials such as velvet, soft patent, crackle patent, metallic vinyl, stonewashed denim or canvas, and techno canvas. Shoes and boots come in satin with glitter details, waxed canvas and vinyl.
Color, too, plays a big role in the new collection. There are deep clarets, cornflower and peacock blues, sea foam greens, and leopard prints.
In addition, there are 13 styles of belts, made from materials including chains, elastic, studs and velvet. There are three styles of jewelry made from precious metals including sterling silver, onyx, crystal and brass.
"The jewelry just evolved. We were playing with the details on the bags, and thinking, ‘Wow, that would make a great bracelet or necklace.' I love doing jewelry, and I think these pieces really complement the collection," she said.
The accessories line is produced in-house in Italy. As reported, Marco Bizzarri, chief executive officer of Stella McCartney, believes accessories will generate some 30 percent of the company's annual sales in less than three years' time. Accessories currently account for about 16 percent of annual turnover.
The company's sales are expected to exceed 30 million euros, or $36.3 million at current exchange, for the fiscal year ending Jan. 31, 2005. The company plans to release figures for the year ending Jan. 31, 2006, within the next week.In an interview with WWD late last year, Bizzarri said the reasons for launching the accessories line are simple.
"Our customers have been asking for it. There is a huge opportunity for growth here," he said. "We think we're in a unique position, and we're ready to exploit our strengths."
McCartney admitted that creating non-leather accessories has been a challenge.
"It has a lot to do with the mind-set of the artisans themselves, who have a history of working with leather. And even when they're making a canvas bag, for example, they're used to it having a leather trim," she said.
"Leather stretches, shrinks and is stitched in a different way, and often the machines they're using are adapted to leather," she added.
Animal-rights issues aside, however, McCartney said she hopes the non-leather element of the collection will be secondary to the style.
"Yes, non-leather is a point of difference for us, but I want people to buy this collection because they love it, because it's cool, and because there's a must-have bag or shoe," she said. "For autumn-winter '05, our thigh-high boots sold out, and I'm willing to bet that 90 percent of the customers didn't even know they were non-leather," McCartney said.
The company has rapidly been preparing for this collection. As reported, last year Stella McCartney reinforced its accessories team — poaching two Italians well known in the industry — in preparation for the launch. It hired Veronica Bertozzi as worldwide sales director. She was formerly the sales director of Iris, the Milan-based shoe licensee for labels including Chloé and Marc Jacobs.
The company also took on Caterina Seghezzi as product development manager. She was formerly fashion accessories coordinator for Dolce & Gabbana.
EXCLUSIVE: @tomford is opening its first-ever beauty store. The boutique, which opens November 20 in London’s Covent Gardens, was designed with the over the top glam Ford is known for. Read the full story on WWD.com, link in bio. #wwdbeauty #wwdnews (📷: Simon Wagner) #TomFordBeauty
New York-based DJ @harleyvnewton threw a party to celebrate the holiday collection of her dress and pajama line @hvn at the Ladurée Beverly Hills. It Girls @katebosworth, @rashidajones and more joined in on the fun, which included cocktails, croque monsieur sandwiches and a photo booth. #wwdfashion (📷: Owen Kolasinski/BFA.com)
For the holidays, @Burberry partnered with 20-year-old artist @blondeymccoy on a series of three outdoor murals in downtown Manhattan. The murals are McCoy’s interpretation of a Christmas eve party, the idea of charity and the spirit of family. His third mural, pictured here, is the most personal. The image depicts McCoy’s grandparents and father in London’s Trafalgar Square in the Seventies. “My work often features lots of sentimental objects.” #wwdeye
For spring 2018, designers applied bold colors and cartoonish motifs on everything from sneakers and belts to key chains. See all the top men’s accessories trends on WWD.com. #wwdtrends (📷: George Chinsee; Prop Styling by @rnasti; Market Editor: @luiscampuzano)
The @dior-sponsored @guggenheim international gala pre-party has a history of drawing cool-girl musical acts to serenade the crowd –– and last night was no exception. @haimtheband performed songs both new and old, and lured a star-studded audience with the likes of Rebecca Hall, Kate Mara, Mamoudou Athie and more. #wwdeye (📷: @lexieblacklock)
In a partnership between the @metopera and the @englishnationalopera, “Marnie” was born. The opera, with costumes sponsored by @mrporterlive, is an adaptation of the 1961 thriller by Winston Graham. Arianne Phillips, who created the costumes, is no rookie: She’s styled Madonna for her tours and created costumes for a myriad of films in the past. Read WWD’s interview with Phillips, where she talks about her inspiration for the opera’s costumes on WWD.com #wwdfashion
@barneysnyc took a different approach to their holiday windows this year. Instead of Christmas decor, Barneys tapped @thehaasbrothers to tell a story of positivity, gratitude and inclusivity via heartwarming silliness and humor. “It’s about kids and it’s about coming together and being family and loving each other,” said Simon Haas. #wwdfashion (📷: @joshuascottphoto)
Beauty influencer @kandeejohnson makes her foray into hair care with a collaboration with @ogx_beauty — making it the first time that OGX has teamed up for a product creation. The collab includes shampoos and conditioners in three scents. At 39 and a mom, Johnson is a different profile than the emerging social media stars, but is considered one of the pioneers of the digital beauty influencer world. Read WWD’s interview with her on wwd.com, including the strangest beauty product she’s ever tried #wwdbeauty