In L’Wren Scott’s opinion, the best thing about her new handbag, the Lula, is not the sleek shape, or its XX-luxe leathers like python, croc and purple calfskin, but the way the bag sounds. “When you open it and close it, it makes sort of a ‘woosh,’ like the first time you ride in a nice car and the door closes very ‘woosh’ and you go, ‘wow,’” said Scott, on the phone last week from her home in France’s Loire Valley, where she was divining inspiration for her spring collection from the region’s one-of-a-kind light. “I’m working on colors,” said Scott. “And colors are so much about the light.”
While it lasted, at least. Three days later, Scott — who splits her time between London and New York unless the Loire light beckons — flew to New York for her personal appearance on June 8 at Barneys New York, the exclusive retailer for the launch of the Lula, which will be for sale beginning that day. Scott introduced a pouchette last spring but she considers the Lula her real entree into the world of accessories. The classic frame shape with top handles comes in three sizes (small, large and weekend) and is available in red or purple calfskin, black or pink python and bordeaux croc. Inside each bag is a matching clutch that can be snapped out and used on its own.
Scott launched her ready-to-wear collection in 2006 and said she’s had the Lula, so named for her mother who “loved a chic accessory,” in mind for a while. “I would always know when she was going out or if she just got back because even if she tiptoed in, I would hear her bag clip closing,” said Scott. The particular style she remembers was a custom-made, structured croc bag, which must have been a rarity in Utah, where Scott grew up. Presumably the new Lula versions are a little more luxurious than their inspiration. The collection is priced between $2,300 for a small calfskin style to more than $20,500 for a croc style. “For what you’re getting, they’re incredibly well priced,” said Scott. “It’s a forever bag.”
It would also seem that the Lula is being positioned as a label signature, along the lines of the PS1 by Proenza Schouler, though Scott said that wasn’t her intention. Still, as Daniela Vitale, chief merchant, executive vice president of Barneys, pointed out, “It is important that each brand have a strong point of view otherwise you cannot stand out. The accessory landscape is very competitive with a lot of great design. The L’Wren Scott bags will stand out.”
The handbags aren’t the only way Scott is expanding her reach. She joined Twitter last week and was up to 1,023 followers as of press time. It’s a wonder that number wasn’t higher given the massive exposure the designer received two weeks ago when Oprah Winfrey wore two custom L’Wren Scott dresses for her final three broadcasts. The pink dress Winfrey chose for the last episode was seen by an audience of 18 million people. Scott was as shocked as anyone to see her dresses on the screen. “When you’re asked to make special clothes for special people, you’re just always so excited to be asked,” said Scott, who has dressed Winfrey before. “But I didn’t have a clue what I was being asked for.” As flattered and grateful as she was to be included in such a ratings bonanza, it ends there. When asked if her Web site experienced an uptick in traffic or if there were any signs of the so-called Oprah Effect, Scott said she didn’t know. As for what the process of customizing designs for Oprah was like, Scott deflected: “I think we should just talk about the bags.”