Nancy Gonzalez is readying for expansion and is breaking with its own tradition to do so.
Known for its exotic skin handbags, travel goods and small accessories, the brand will introduce a range of cowhide leather bags for fall.
Prices for the leather designs are more than 30 percent lower than crocodile styles. Small bags are set at $1,850 and large ones at $2,950 — significantly below the brand’s typical $4,000 styles.
Gonzalez herself said the leather designs were part of a long-term plan set by her late son, Santiago Barberi Gonzalez. “We were talking about this together a long time ago and now it’s a reality,” Gonzalez said.
The accessories entrepreneur, based in Colombia, explained that leather can be applied to a greater range of designs than crocodile. “We have the opportunity now to have different shapes that we have not made before,” she said of the line.
For leather’s launch season, Gonzalez has developed the ‘Christy’ bag — a hybrid of a “work tote, travel bag, messenger bag and clutch – it sounds strange but it has a casual and elegant appeal at the same time,” she said.
The bag is constructed of leather hides that Gonzalez claims are sourced from the same tannery used by Hermès. As not to abandon exotics altogether, each design exhibits small crocodile embellishments.
While Nancy Gonzalez handbags have previously been produced in the brand’s own Colombia facilities, the leather bags (as well as a small portion of crocodile designs) are manufactured in Italy. “This allows us to expand faster and have shorter production times and delivery windows,” she noted of the shift.
Leather already appears to be a success for the company, accounting for 30 percent of fall orders. Leather designs will be stocked at Bergdorf Goodman, Saks Fifth Avenue, Harrods and Neiman Marcus, among other retailers.
Gonzalez hopes this departure in material will open a door to future innovation and newness. “We were limited a little bit because of the material. We want to offer different things in different materials — what is wrong with a really strong evening bag in satin? We want to be more open,” she said.