View Slideshow

“Can I offer you a cocktail?”

At about 2 p.m. on a Tuesday afternoon, Lela Rose is not offering up a stiff drink — though, as a consummate hostess, one trusts she could if truly desired — but rather, a first look at her new line of evening clutches. “We’ve styled them and done them as bags that will go out to cocktails with you,” said Rose. “Our woman is someone with a calendar filled with social events.”

The resort collection, which marks the designer’s first foray into the accessories market, includes four styles done in multiple color ways, each named after a popular cocktail: the Julep, a rounded minaudière; the Shandy, a soft envelope clutch; the Paloma, a rectangle minaudière, and the Collins, a top-handle frame bag. Materials include Plexiglas with lace inlay, python, stingray, and satin. Prices for the bags, which are all made in Italy, range from $895 to $1,695. “I didn’t want to come out and have the wrong quality,” said Rose. “With clutches, you really care about quality. That was really important to me. We also tested each piece to make sure there was enough function with all of them.”

The collection features intricate details, such as citrine lining and geometric closures. Several styles include a welded metal rose in lieu of a traditional clasp, an obvious nod to the designer’s name. “We do so many florals, but we don’t really use the rose to its maximum,” she said. “This felt like the perfect place to do it.”

Many of the clutches share Rose’s penchant for floral print, but are not exact matches to any of the ready-to-wear patterns, by design. “Our customer is someone who likes to dress head-to-toe in a full look, but we wanted to have a bit of a twist,” said Rose. “They really merchandise with the collection, but we didn’t want to it to be super matchy-matchy.”

Rose describes the collection as a natural progression for the brand, which does much of its designs on the “day-to-night” model. “These bags are great pieces to dress you up and make it look like it’s a complete look,” she said.

Stockists have yet to be confirmed, but Rose notes that retail response has been positive. For spring, she’ll have an even larger assortment of bags, which will be featured on her runway, though the emphasis will remain on clutches. “This season was about creating the shapes that we’re going to be married to for several seasons,” she said. “I think we’re really going to live in this clutch mentality for quite some time. Bags are an overly saturated market and we’ve always found it best to stay true to who our customer is and what she uses and what she’s looking for.”