Zandra Rhodes’ bold, colorful fashions now have handbags to match.
The British designer, who has created looks for everything from the opera to British fast-fashion store Topshop, has inked a five-year licensing deal with Girari, a high-end furniture company based in Beverly Hills, that will make handbags for the first time.
Ten handbag styles made their debut at Rhodes’ London Fashion Week runway show last Wednesday. A complete collection of 20 styles wholesaling from $150 to $300 is scheduled to be ready in February to be introduced at the Fashion Coterie in New York.
Of the handbags featured on the runway, four were evening styles and six were day looks. The reaction to the show will determine if the day or evening division will continue in the full line. Strong patterns drawing upon Rhodes’ studies in textile design are a theme throughout the line, as are metal accents and pink and aqua hues.
“These aren’t going to be run of the mill,” said Darryl Aken, owner of Girari. “They are a little eccentric, not unlike Zandra, with some interestingly strong colors.”
Three principal members of Girari’s design team worked closely with Rhodes to integrate her aesthetic into the handbags.
“They were able to create designs that she liked,” said Aken. “There was just a connection.”
The handbags, which Girari will produce with the assistance of other manufacturers in North America, are crafted of leather and have textile linings. Rhodes’ script logo and details from prints used in her apparel will be incorporated in the bags.
Distribution of Rhodes’ handbags is expected to be targeted to better department stores such as Nordstrom, Barneys New York and Saks Fifth Avenue. Aken believes the handbags will have a healthy presence with U.K. retailers, as well, but said it’s too early to project sales.
This story first appeared in the September 29, 2006 issue of WWD. Subscribe Today.