By and  on July 7, 2011

Equipment

Originally founded in 1975, shirt specialist Equipment was revived last year with a women’s collection by Serge Azria, owner and chief executive officer of Dutch LLC, the Los Angeles-based firm that owns the Current/Elliott and Joie brands. For spring, Equipment is relaunching its men’s component with modern designs in its signature Fuji silk, crepe de chine silk, cotton voiles and slub cotton jersey and rayon.

“The reaction to the women’s collection continues to be amazing, and, as a result, everyone started requesting men’s,” said Azria of the line, which aims to combine French sophistication with a breezy California vibe. “It turned out to be a natural progression — there was a void in the men’s market.”

The initial spring collection takes inspiration from Seventies and Eighties Pop Art with vivid prints, stripes and plaids. Other styles in solids have military details, such as flap-front chest pockets and sleeves that roll up and tack. Retail prices range from $168 to $268.

“Overdesigning has been kept to a minimum. More isn’t always better,” noted Azria.

Insubordinate Lads

Despite the mischievous, masculine name, the designer behind the new bag line Insubordinate Lads is actually a 29-year-old woman named Rissy Woods. She and her English-born husband, Matthew, 36, who runs his own hedge fund, started work on the company in November.

“I’m inspired by English dandies in their heyday — people like Oscar Wilde and Beau Brummel,” said Woods, who handles the creative end of the company while her husband oversees finances. “But I’m redefining the look in a more sophisticated and cheeky way, using color and textured leathers.”

There are 14 styles in the spring collection, with each design available in various leathers or colors. Bag shapes include briefcases, city totes and vintage doctor’s bags, as well as an iPad case and document portfolio.

Materials include calf hair, pebble leather and crackled leather with corners trimmed in contrast studded leather. Another group is fashioned in linen canvas and trimmed with shirting fabric. Some bags have contrast shirting fabric on the interior, while others incorporate details from English brogue shoes as design flourishes. Retail prices range from $225 to $750.

Woods studied accessories design at the Fashion Institute of Technology, which was followed by work stints at J. Crew, Hobo International and Isabella Fiore.

“Women’s is such an oversaturated accessories market, but we thought there was a real niche for a men’s brand that was dressy but hip,” said Woods.

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