NEW DESIGNERS

Byline: Alexandra Bellak / K.R.

Triple Threat

NEW YORK — Good things come in threes for Kerri Linden, Denise Donadio and Merry Keller.
The trio has launched a new handbag collection for spring. Trillium, which is named for a three-leafed lily, is the result of their collaboration on design, sales and marketing.
Donadio and Keller have been in business since 1993 with a successful showroom, Meridian, that represents accessories designers. Linden, a designer of Austrian crystal jewelry, enamel hair accessories and scarves, is in the Meridian stable. She’s also had her own business for four years and continues to produce her own line.
“Kerri had the eye, the fashion sense and the drive to start a handbag line,” said Keller, “and after consulting with our buyers and getting feedback from the public, we felt the time was right to launch a new line.”
“We wanted to create bags that were functional, stylish and reasonably priced, and bags we would wear,” added Donadio, who carries the Michella model. She projected first-year sales at $500,000.
The styles are packed with such features as zippered compartments, outside pockets, a built-in mirror and adjustable handles.
Inspired by the Tuscan hillside, each style bears a woman’s name and comes in soft colors such as mocha, tan and caramel, as well as navy, slate and black. The line features day and evening bags made of waterproofed Italian cotton, PVC and fake leather. The collection is produced in the Far East.
“These bags are made for the modern woman with a strong fashion sense,” said Keller. “They can be worn from the office to an evening party.”
Wholesale prices range from $18 for a water-resistant cotton handbag to $32 for a fake leather style to $46 for a striped linen tote.

Silver Lining

NEW YORK — Mary Schubart carved out a niche for herself while carving waxes for her own line of jewelry.
The Long Island-based designer launched the line bearing her name in January at the Accessories Circuit at the Plaza hotel. It comprises sterling silver and 18-karat accessories.
“I had been planning to start my own company for a while and design more high-end jewelry for myself,” she said. She was in the industry for 15 years before starting her own venture, including doing bench work for Lisa Jenks and Mark Spirito, and designing for Berry Jewelry, a moderate costume line.
Schubart works mostly with sterling silver, hand-carving each piece of her 250-piece collection. There are 20 different patterns, each with a coordinating bracelet, ring, earring, necklace and belt buckle. “Renaissance brocades, Islamic mosques, Spanish tiles and Gothic stained glass are just some of the things that inspire me,” she said of the elaborate work.
With a casual elegance and a sleek, sculpted appeal, Schubart’s patterns resemble swirls, paisleys and soutache influenced by countries she has visited and historical artistic designs.
While she works out of her Amityville studio and travels to Manhattan to show her line, Schubart is currently in search of store space in SoHo.
Wholesale prices for sterling range from $20 for stud earrings to $200 for chunky bracelets and belt buckles. The collection is sold at Elements Gallery in Chicago, the Deering Gallery in Beachwood, Ohio, and Zaltas in Rye, N.Y.

Coming to America

NEW YORK — KWM Exclusives has taken flight here with an eclectic mix of innovative European high-end accessories.
Open for a year, the showroom, at 38 East 76th Street, is owned by Belgian-born Wolfgang Mockel. KWM shows jewelry, candlesticks, picture frames, tablewear, scarves, shawls and evening bags.
So far, the showroom carries Parisian designer Philippe Ferrandis’s costume jewelry and home furnishings; Switzerland’s Dominique Robadin jewelry; British designer Coleman Douglas Pearls’ pearl and gemstone accessories and bridal collection; Algerian-born Gerard Tremolet’s scarves, handbags, and vests, called Lesage; Nathalie Hambro’s sculptural handbags from France, and handbags by a collective of Belgian designers.
“It all happened by accident,” said Mockel, who worked with friends in London, developing their accessories company. “When I moved to New York two years ago on a whim, I met European designers seeking American representation.”
He started his business in his living room.
Now, Philippe Ferrandis is one of KWM’s hottest selling lines. Working with resine, Swarovski crystal, glass beads, and silver or gold plating, the line is dramatic and elegant, Mockel said. The Jaiper collection is Moroccan-influenced, making use of agathes, an amber stone, and bronze medallions.
“There’s an Yves Saint Laurent appeal to the line,” Mockel said. Ferrandis’s jewelry is sold at Neiman Marcus and Saks Fifth Avenue.
Dominique Robadin’s prominent jewelry, at Saks, is grouped in three different collections. Her porcelain line is 24-karat goldplated, linking chunky dangling pieces with silk ropes. The wood collection is combined with metal studs and chain links as well as gold. And the metal collection has an urban, upscale appeal, Mockel said.
Wholesale prices range from $40 for earrings to $210 for a heavy necklace by Robadin.

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