LONDON — Asprey has tapped a new creative director, accessories designer Bruce Hoeksema.

This story first appeared in the June 7, 2010 issue of WWD. Subscribe Today.

Hoeksema is the former president of Valentino USA, and founder and designer of the VBH accessories label. He will continue to design VBH, which is based in Rome. The designer had been consulting for Asprey over the past year, and designed two best-selling handbags for the brand, the Darcy bag and the 1781.

“He’s done a tremendous job with ladies’ handbags, and we’ve gotten a great response from the client base,” said John Rigas, chairman and chief executive officer of Asprey International. The Darcy bag, which is handmade, has an eight-month waiting list, he said.

“We’re very confident that Bruce can oversee Asprey’s four main product categories — leather, silver, jewelry and watches,” he added.

Asked about the company’s hunt for a new managing director, Rigas said, “We are very relaxed about the search, and will make an appointment prior to the fall.”

Hoeksema said his goal is to create “beautiful, chic, luxury pieces — which are not so easy to find today. Asprey has such an incredible name and heritage — and there is so much potential here,” he said, adding that he was equally passionate about the smaller categories such as china and crystal.

Hoeksema left Valentino at the start of 2001, and set up VBH, which stands for V. Bruce Hoeksema, in 1999. His high-end handbags, which are produced in Italy in limited runs, have a fan list including First Lady Michelle Obama.

In other Asprey news, the brand has opened a pop-up shop in Southampton, N.Y. The 1,500-square-foot store, at 45 Main Street, stocks gift items and summer china, crystal, silver and leather.

An Asprey spokeswoman said the brand wants to introduce new customers and service “our existing Manhattan customers who summer in the Hamptons. Asprey has always shipped so many gifts to the Hamptons, we think it’s a natural extension.” The store will remain open until Labor Day weekend.

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