On the brink of its fifth anniversary, A.L.C. is returning to the accessories arena with a line of handbags due out in early 2014.
“It feels like we planted the seed and our roots have grown,” founder Andrea Lieberman said. “It felt like the perfect brand extension. I work with leather all the time, and I love a handbag. I carry stuff everywhere. I understand all the different roles that bags play in the life of a woman. There’s a true sense of functionality that needs to be addressed, and I’m doing it the A.L.C. way.”
Previously, the ready-to-wear brand briefly offered jewelry, but it has since put the project on hiatus.
For the spring debut, six styles will be offered, ranging from the Lucas, a roomy duffel bag, to Saville, a compact zip clutch.
Keeping in line with the rtw designs, the collection is in a narrow range of shades. Black and white leather and leopard print are staples, with accents of navy and gray.
“I want to keep it focused right off the gate,” Lieberman said of the limited color palette. “At the end of the day, the majority of our [rtw] collection is navy, black, white. And we always embrace a little bit of leopard. I love a leopard bag — always.”
In addition to the leopard print, done in Italian pony hair, Lieberman uses a variety of European leather. The bags are currently produced in China, but the designer hopes that this will change as the project evolves.
“It’s a whole new arena with bags,” she said. “I’m growing and learning from it. Now, after going through this season and doing things overseas, I’d like to have [production] a little bit closer.”
Prices start at $445 for the Paloma cross-body in Spanish sheep leather and rise to $1,095 for a Lucas duffel in printed haircalf. The bags will be sold at Barneys, Intermix and Shopbop, as well as select specialty boutiques, beginning in early February.
Though Lieberman still has a few months until the collection hits the shelves, the designer has admittedly caught accessories fever, spending her limited off time tinkering with existing shapes for the fall collection and contemplating her next move.
“I’m an epic shoe fanatic,” she said. “There is no set moment, but we would embrace shoes with epic passion. Shoes are a completely different development, though. At the end of the day, I thought it was right for me to start with handbags.”