By  on May 21, 2007

Smythson may be known for its fine stationery and leather goods, but the patrician ilk who shop the company will find something new in store come fall: fashion handbags.

The company has had some handbags in the past, but they were classic in style. The new bag collection is named Nancy, after inspirations Nancy Mitford — a British novelist and biographer, and Nancy Lancaster, co-owner of the influential British decorating firm Sibyl Colefax & John Fowler — and has more of a fashion edge.

The collection consists of two styles in Italian leather ruched in a quilted pattern: a soft self-frame shoulder bag silhouette with a small and medium option and a clutch. The leather-covered clasps are based on a vintage lock and the hardware connecting the handles to the bag is done in a pale gold metal. There are also small leather goods available in the colors of the line — taupe and black — including a French purse and a key ring.

The bags, which are made in Italy, range from about 495 pounds, or about $981 at current exchange, to 945 pounds, or $1,873. There is also the Chepstow, a zip-up, top-handle style, and a clutch bag from the crocodile-embossed orange leather Clementine collection.

"It's quirky British luxury with a sense of humor," said Samantha Cameron, creative director for the brand. "It's about quality. We're not a fashionable bag, we're a fashionable luxury goods brand."

Earlier this year, Smythson created its first travel collection, called Casablanca, that includes tan leather and a combination of pressed ostrich leather and linen bags for resort. The bags will carry over from season to season. Eventually, genuine alligator skin bags will be added to the mix, in addition to cuff links, set to bow next year, and writing instruments, in 2009.

Smythson is about to close its New York store in July for renovations and plans for a temporary New York store until the September reopening of the 57th Street flagship. The also firm is opening its first store in the Los Angeles area this summer, a 2,000-square-foot unit at Two Rodeo Drive in Beverly Hills.

There are plans to open three more stores in the U.S. next year.

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