LONDON — The Manolo Blahnik universe is expanding with the imminent launch of a capsule collection of six bejeweled clutch bags, WWD has learned.
The fall collection of bags are made from satin and crepe de chine, and decorated with magnified versions of the Swarovski crystal-encrusted buckles that appear on some of the designer’s footwear creations.
Prices range from $1,725 to $1,925, and the bags will be stocked at Manolo Blahnik units on London’s Old Church Street and in Manhattan at 31 West 54th Street. They will also sell at stores including Liberty, Harrods and Brown Thomas and in markets including Italy, Sweden and Germany.
“Every woman needs a jewel — something very special and beautiful. There is nothing more stunning than a feminine hand holding a gemlike object,” said the designer.
Chief executive officer Kristina Blahnik said the capsule marks the start of a new category for the brand, which had in the past created one-off bag designs to go with certain shoe styles but had never produced a full collection.
“It’s the first time we’ve focused the bags into a capsule collection with its own story,” she said, adding that a spring 2016 offering is already in the works, and the autumn models will carry into the next season.
Blahnik said, for the moment, the designs are evening-focused, and future collections will have different colorways and crystals, such as sapphires or rubies. The company is also looking at doing day bags as well.
She stressed there was no grand strategy behind the launch, and that the project had developed organically after she and her uncle forged ties with “an astonishing factory” outside Florence that was able to create “beautiful samples” based on Manolo’s designs.
“We saw a sample bag design with the Hangisi buckle, and it was screaming at us. We knew we needed to make bags,” she said, referring to the glittering rectangular adornment with a cross shape at the center.
Blahnik said the initial strategy is to keep global distribution limited. No bags will be available for sale online, and no major launch event is planned.
The brand had sold bags throughout the Eighties and Nineties, and over the years one of the more popular styles was the Petite, a small sack shape done in crepe de chine. Currently, it sells a simple envelope clutch with the Hangisi buckle.
As a child in the Eighties, Blahnik even recalls buying a “milky-colored envelope bag” from the brand with her own money. “It was the first object I ever (bought and) owned,” she said.
The launch of bags follows that of a limited-edition capsule collection of socks in collaboration with Falke in March. The socks cost 25 pounds, or $39, at current exchange, and were sold exclusively through the London-based Because magazine’s e-shop becauselondon.com.