After more than 30 years crafting footwear, Stuart Weitzman is venturing into the handbag market.

This story first appeared in the December 9, 2009 issue of WWD. Subscribe Today.

The designer signed a licensing agreement with Mosaicon SpA, formerly known as Antichi Pellettieri Bags, to design, produce and distribute a handbag and small leather goods collection. The collection will be available early next summer at Stuart Weitzman retail locations, the Weitzman Web site and department and specialty stores worldwide.

The line retails from $395 to $595 and consists mostly of day bags that reflect the brand’s contemporary yet classic style. Sales projections were not available.

“Recessions have always opened up opportunities for people who like to be a little aggressive in their business,” said Weitzman on his decision to launch bags in today’s market. “When everything is fantastic, it’s hard to find a new opening. People are doing well with all they’ve got. When things changed last year, opportunities arose and we began to see a real demand for a price-value relationship. What we’re offering will have the same price-value feeling as our shoes do, and when you can sell in salons and be the lowest price as we are, there’s a real opportunity to build a strong business. Our bags are marketed with the same idea.”

John R. Wilson, president and chief executive officer of Mosaicon USA, will spearhead the initiative for North America. Other brands under Milan-based Mosaicon SpA include Coccinelle, Braccalini, Francesco Biasia and Mandarina Duck.

“Stuart Weitzman is obviously an iconic name in fashion footwear not only in the U.S. but worldwide, seeing incredible growth throughout the world,” Wilson said. “He obviously brings more of a U.S. presence for us, a more established brand in North America than the majority of our brands, and gives us more of a presence here.”