Heritage handbag brand Bienen-Davis is being revived. The label — founded in 1931 and sold at luxury stores including Neiman Marcus until it closed in 1976 — will return for fall.
The line’s reboot is spearheaded by Richard Bienen, a partner in Mark Cross’ revival, as well as creative director Meredith German, previously of Marc Jacobs and Reed Krakoff.
The line will launch at Barneys New York and with Matchesfashion.com in September and will be priced from $1,295 to $3,995.
The product has an eveningwear bent — constructed of jewel-toned silk satins, feathers, gold tone hardware and Swarovski crystals. Metallic hardware is plated in 24-karat gold.
The brand’s reboot has a particularly sentimental meaning for Bienen, whose great uncle founded the brand. He grew up in the fashion industry — his mother was Roy Halston’s design assistant.
“It was sold in Neiman Marcus, we have a couple of vintage pieces with the Neiman’s label inside. It was originally established as a luxury brand, positioned as the highest price point for handbags in stores back in its day,” Bienen said of the brand’s first iteration.
German said of Bienen-Davis’ design angle: “We were really focused on evening to begin with. The archive all of the vintage pieces is incredible and beautiful.”
Added Bienen: “We are launching with four styles, each one unique and very different. I think from the business standpoint, there is a particular opportunity within the evening handbag category, an opportunity to bring product that has a more chic approach — not too formal, not too conservative.”
Exhibiting a vein of its history, each Bienen-Davis bag comes equipped with a miniature mirror. “The original bags always had a change purse and a mirror,” said German.
All of the designs are manufactured in Italy, some in the same factories that the original Bienen-Davis brand used. “We were researching factories in Italy and came across one of the original makers who made the Regine bag in 1960,” said Bienen. “We’re making it with them again and it’s really great to work with the original artisans. We made a big effort on the product side — we knew if we were going to do this, we wanted to do it properly, do justice to the brand. If we are going to relaunch something, we need to do it even better.”