LANE INKS BAGS DEAL

Byline: Karen Parr

NEW YORK — Costume jewelry designer Kenneth Jay Lane is moving into handbags via a licensing deal with M. London Inc., a manufacturer here.
“I’ve been looking for a while for a good handbag manufacturer,” he said. “Handbags go well with my jewelry and with a lot of boutiques and specialty stores I sell.”
Lane has had handbag licensees in the past, but not in recent years.
The handbag line will make its debut for the spring season, with deliveries set for the end of February, said Stuart Gustin, chief executive officer of M. London.
“Here is a name that is legendary, but is indigenous to the accessories field,” said Gustin. “Kenneth understands jewelry, handbags and where we want to go. I don’t have to go to an rtw designer who says, ‘We’re using this material in our dresses and think it would look great in handbags.”‘
Gustin said the renewable licensing deal is initially set for three years. For the first collection, there will be three or four groups, with an emphasis on leathers from the U.S. or Europe.
One group will be constructed looks for day or evening. Another will be buttery soft leather for daytime. A third group is an evening line that will have compartments and pockets.
Lane said the bags will have “some touch of jewelry, but not just stuck on.” The jewelry will be an integral part of the clasp or the handle.
“We’ll have a signature Kenneth Jay Lane look,” he said. “I don’t license things and just put my name on them — I really work on the design completely.”
Logos won’t “hit you in the head,” he said, but will be on the inside of the bag or on a zipper pull.
Next fall, the line will expand and will include small leather goods. The wholesale range for the bags will be $70 to $150.
M. London is an eight-year-old firm.
For this new venture, M. London has salespeople strategically placed throughout the U.S., in Dallas, Los Angeles, Miami, Atlanta and New York.
There will also be a showroom in the New York accessories market, but the company has not chosen the spot.
Lane said he does not yet know whether the handbags will be sold on the QVC television shopping channel, where he sells his jewelry line.
Gustin projected first-year wholesale volume at $2 million to $3 million.

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