By  on July 8, 2010

Rebecca Minkoff is branching out into men’s wear.

The women’s designer, who got her start in accessories with the Morning After bag in 2005, is launching a line of men’s accessories for spring. Named Ben Minkoff, after her grandfather, the collection is inspired by his career as a fighter pilot in World War II. “Although he passed when Rebecca and I were young,” said Uri Minkoff, Rebecca’s brother and chief executive officer, “he left a big impression on us. We kept getting a lot of requests for a men’s line, and when we were ready, we thought we’d pay homage to him [by naming the collection after him].”

The collection features three styles of bags — map, mail and motorcycle — reminiscent of the U.S. Air Force in the Forties. The bags include signature Rebecca Minkoff details and hardware but are tweaked for a more masculine edge.

The line also will include wallets and billfolds made of leather and durable cotton fabrics including denim and waxwear — there’s even one in camouflaged leather with a cotton liner. There are cases for the iPad and Kindle, travel cases, weekenders and messenger totes. These bags are available in similar fabrics to the wallets and are offered in brown, gray, navy or hunter green. The small leather goods and bags will retail from $30 to $575. The collection also will include a line of men’s leather belts in a variety of finishes such as leather appliqués and oil-rubbed bronze hardware. These will retail for $35.

“You’re never quite sure that it will match your vision, but we’re very pleased with how it came out,” Uri Minkoff said. He said he expects the collection to appeal to the “male version” of the Rebecca Minkoff customer. In the future, the collection will be expanded to include unisex styles as well as more technically inspired pieces.

“The essential idea for the Ben Minkoff collection was that guys need cool, functional, versatile pieces with a timeless feel,” said Rebecca Minkoff.

The line, which will have a soft launch for holiday, will be targeted to department and specialty stores nationwide. Uri Minkoff said he hopes to place the line in 100 doors by spring. The Rebecca Minkoff collection is carried in more than 400 stores, many of which carry both men’s and women’s, so he’s hopeful that those retailers will add the men’s collection. Additionally, the Ben Minkoff collection will exhibit at Blue in New York later this month as well as the Capsule show in Las Vegas in August, Uri Minkoff said.

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