A tote from Vera Bradley's spring/summer 2018 collection.

Vera Bradley, best known for handbags and colorful, floral-patterned cotton quilted styles, this week showed an expanded assortment for spring 2018 at its Fifth Avenue showroom, reflecting ongoing efforts to evolve into a lifestyle collection.

“The biggest story for spring and summer is really our totes,” said Harry Cunningham, vice president of creative services for the brand.

For a touch of versatility, some of the totes are in canvas with glitter, so they double as beach bags or handbags, and totes with matching flip-flops are offered.

Flip flops come in patterns that match the handbags.

Flip flops come in patterns that match the handbags.  Courtesy Photo

Also new for next year: mini cross-bodies with drawstrings, “snack box” bags to carry wallets and mobile phones, and updated patterns on hard-side luggage.

“The other big story is beach-related travel-like backpacks,” Cunningham said. Previously, only school backpacks were offered.

Beach towels are another key category, and licensed products are a growing percentage of the business, with more swimsuit styles and colors for next year including one and two-piece suits and cover-ups. Swim is licensed to Mainstream Swimsuits Inc.

Among other licensed products, scrubs are manufactured through a licensing agreement with CID Resources; phone cases are licensed to Incipio Technologies; sunglasses are from The McGee Group; Vera Bradley bedding is created through a partnership with Peking Handicrafts, and hosiery is from Renfro Corp.

The brand is also innovating for functionality. Duffel bags, for example, convert to garment bags, and luggage flattens for easy storage.

A swim style from Vera Bradley

A swim style from Vera Bradley  Courtesy Photo

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