Byline: Wendy Hessen

NEW YORK — After nearly a five-year lapse, Adrienne Vittadini is getting back into the handbag business. Adrienne Vittadini Enterprises Inc. has formed a joint venture with Italian handbag manufacturing executive Francho Franchi to produce and market a collection of bridge handbags and small leather goods that will make its debut for spring 1998.
The last Vittadini handbag collection was on selling floors in spring of 1992. It was produced by the now defunct Mutterperl handbag firm, which was closed in November 1992.
Franco Franchi is also president of Franchi Accessories, a three-year-old firm that manufactures and markets handbags under the Franchi label and for private label distribution.
Doris Johanson has been named president of the Adrienne Vittadini handbags division. She reports to Franchi, who has been named chairman and chief executive officer of the company. Prior to joining Franchi, Johanson was president of Evan-Picone Footwear.
Reached in the Franchi Accessories showroom here, she said the line will encompass a “much broader price range than the Franchi collection, which is more item- and fashion-driven.”
“This venture is a great combination between the Adrienne Vittadini design staff and Francho’s extraordinary sourcing capabilities,” Franchi said.
The Vittadini handbag collection will wholesale from roughly $36 to $158 and be distributed to department and specialty stores worldwide. The line will be manufactured in Italy and the Far East, incorporating all leather and leather combined with a variety of other fabrications. The collection will make its debut at the November accessories market in a new showroom on the 10th floor at 320 Fifth Avenue.
The first-year projection for the collection is $3 million.
Adrienne Vittadini footwear is also produced via joint venture with makers Ian Wright and Gil Fields. Vittadini has accessories licenses for eyewear through Viva International Eyewear, cosmetics bags through Designs on Travel and scarves through Accessory Street.
Adrienne Vittadini Enterprises is part of Marisa Christina.

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