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NEW YORK — Yohji Yamamoto and Mandarina Duck are wading into the retail pond with a 2,400-square-foot store set to open here in the fall.
The Y’s Mandarina Duck store at 98 Greene Street in SoHo, a collaboration between the avant-garde Japanese designer and the Italian handbag and luggage brand, will be the first U.S. store for Mandarina Duck.
“We are looking to open more Y’s Mandarina Duck stores worldwide in 2008 in Europe and Asia,” a spokeswoman for Yohji Yamamoto said.
Mandarina Duck wanted to inject some creativity into its streamlined and utilitarian collection. The firm in 2006 approached Yamamoto, who has shown himself to be amenable to partnering with other companies. Yamamoto has had a deal since 2002 with Adidas to design Y-3, a line of fashion-forward sportswear, footwear and accessories for men and women. A tie-up with Mikimoto for white and black pearl jewelry was announced in 2007.
Y’s Mandarina fall-winter 2008 line features handbags made from waterproofed leather, wrinkled leather, nylon and waxed nylon, rubber, canvas and glazed cotton in two main color combinations, black and gray and forest green and moss green. Black, white and brick red is used for small leather goods.
A hallmark of Mandarina Duck is its utilitarian characteristics, and the Y’s Mandarina collection has no shortage of them. Many handbags can be worn multiple ways, contain numerous pockets and internal and external pouches that are often detachable. White, brown and black cow leather backpacks and duffels have wheels, handles and straps.
Yamamoto redesigned the traditional duffel in an egg shape. The Big Beauty suitcase appears to have an external zippered pocket that is actually a cavity that holds a large cosmetics bag.
One of Yamamoto’s recurring themes, military garb, is evident in the collection’s use of cotton khaki and duffel shapes. The designer’s playful sense is also apparent in the lighthearted, cartoon-inspired graphics that line some of the bags. A black cow leather reporter’s bag is $430, a white cow leather messenger-style handbag, $640, and a big shoulder bag in black lamb leather, $870.
Mandarina Duck, based in Bologna, Italy, was founded in 1977 by Paolo Trento and Pietro Mannato. Besides handbags, luggage and small leather goods, Mandarina Duck has introduced sunglasses, watches and a cell phone.