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NEW YORK — Like any well-connected socialite, Nicky Hilton knows how to make a proper introduction. She brought the Samantha Thavasa brand to the U.S. with her signature collection four years ago and now the successful Japanese company is venturing Stateside with a store here.
Slated to open close to fashion week in September, the Madison Avenue boutique will offer the Samantha Thavasa New York by Nicky Hilton collection, as well as the company’s other branded handbag lines.
The Samantha Thavasa Japan Limited brand consists of seven handbag collections and two jewelry lines under the Samantha Thavasa name, including Samantha Thavasa by Victoria Beckham and the higher-end Samantha Thavasa Deluxe. The bags retail from about $100 to $600 and range in style from python zip-top totes to the more girly Samantha Tiara line, for which Beyoncé Knowles poses in ads in Japan.
Samantha Thavasa is the brainchild of Kazumasa Terada, 36, who founded the company in 1994. Sales last year totaled $98 million and the company plans to go public in Japan this year. It also expects to open two more stores, in Los Angeles and Hawaii, within the next two years.
The Samantha Thavasa New York by Nicky Hilton collection will be sold through the Cynthia O’Connor & Co. showroom here. Though she declined to divulge projected sales for the year, O’Connor said that once the line is in 500 specialty doors, she will bring it to department stores.
With bodyguard in tow, Hilton spoke with WWD about her fall collection.
“I wanted to do a bunch of color,” Hilton said of the bags.
Her collection includes faux leopard totes with chain handles; east-west bags in cobalt and garnet in geometric embossed suede, and embossed ostrich top-handle totes.
She introduced small leather goods, including wallets and cosmetics bags emblazoned with the number seven. “It’s just a lucky number for me,” Hilton said.
Hilton also designed a dog carrier. “It’s for Tinkerbell,” said Hilton, referring to sister Paris’ famous Chihuahua.
The bags range from $37 wholesale for a cosmetics case to $358 for a Spaceship bag.
Both Hilton sisters do promotional work for Samantha Thavasa and will appear for a store opening in Tokyo’s Ginza district next month.
This story first appeared in the April 4, 2005 issue of WWD. Subscribe Today.
There are plans to advertise the Nicky Hilton handbags, for which Tobias Bushman, director of U.S. operations, said: “We are working on a new concept of advertising that no one has done yet. If you live in New York City, you will hear about it.”