Byline: Marc Karimzadeh

NEW YORK — Finding that certain must-have handbag is a priority for many luxury businesses to help achieve monumental sales growth. Just ask Carla Fendi, who learned a lesson or two about the profitable power of handbags after the “Baguette.”
The Rome-based president of Fendi came to New York on Thursday to personally introduce the Ostrik, Fendi’s newest handbag, to clients and friends at the firm’s Fifth Avenue flagship.
“I like to see the expression on customer’s faces when they are trying something on,” she added. “You get a direct reaction. It is a verification of what you have created.”
The Ostrik handbag, designed by Silvia Venturini Fendi, the company’s style director and Carla’s niece, is inspired by the shape of an oyster. Each has a main zipper opening on the top and a second zipper on the side leading to an additional pocket, “so you can easily find what you need immediately, like sunglasses or a cell phone,” Carla Fendi said.
Among the styles, which retail from $450 to $4,500, is a suede bag adorned with suede threads and wooden beads; a leather bag with self-flower, and a tooled and embossed leather bag available with a gold metal plaque. Fendi said: “The Ostrik has a completely different spirit from the other bags. I like the idea of mixing metal and leather. It’s different and unexpected.”
The event attracted some 200 clients, including New York socialites, such as artist Ann Dhuong, Countess Consuelo Crespi, Fe Fendi, Jill Roosevelt, Courtney Arnot, as well as Jaqui Lividini, Saks Fifth Avenue’s senior vice president, fashion merchandising.
“When Fendi launches a new handbag, it’s an event,” said Lividini. “It’s always good for business when they do.”
Handbags account for more than 50 percent of Fendi’s total business, which is estimated at $253 million annually. The Ostrik currently has a waiting list of 100. Fendi shrugged off any suggestions that the luxury business is in a slump.
“The tourist business is down in most countries,” she said. “But because women are traveling less, they are also spending more at home, and they are seeing the same people over and over again. So they need to change outfits more often, since they can’t get away with wearing the same things anymore.”

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