SAMSONITE’S SNOWY SHOW AT BERGDORF

Byline: Leonard McCants

NEW YORK — For Samsonite designer Gigi Vezzola’s appearance and trunk show Thursday, Bergdorf Goodman provided the usual accoutrements: models to present the clothing, tasty little hors d’oeuvres to sate customers and champagne to induce them to spend a little more. The retailer also devoted a window display to the collection along Fifth Avenue.
Mother Nature, however, crashed the event, bringing a snowstorm as her guest and dropping a wet blanket on the festivities.
“We were worried that no one would show up,” said Robert Burke, vice president, fashion merchandising for the Bergdorf Goodman.
A generous crowd did manage to brave the elements, meet the designer and purchase items from the spring collection, but Vezzola’s late night flight and concerns about arriving at the airport in time forced him to leave the trunk show early.
In the end, the designer could have stayed to clean up. His Amsterdam-bound flight did not depart until about 2 a.m. Friday morning, he said.
“It’s really OK,” he said. “It was a big opportunity for me. Plus, it’s important to know what people need for travelling.”
The visit also celebrated the first Samsonite collection at Bergdorf’s and the second collection overall for Vezzola since he assumed design control of all Samsonite Blacklabel collections. He will oversee the direction of the Samsonite Travelwear label and a new Blacklabel Worldproof collection launching for fall.
“I think Gigi shows a lot of promise with the [Blacklabel sportswear] line,” Bergdorf’s Burke said, noting that the line currently available is different from the Blacklabel Worldproof collection. “It’s a welcome addition to Bergdorf’s on our modern sportswear floor.”
Bestsellers from the trunk show included beige suede pants with top stitching that retail for $825 and a leather jacket with a wrap belt that sells for $1,310.
“We were very pleased with the quality of the garment, the fabrics, the styling and the price point,” Burke added. “It’s one of those lines where everything comes together.”
Vezzola was named creative director of Samsonite Blacklabel last August, taking over the design of the luggage company’s men’s wear, in addition to his existing role as designer for its women’s line.
He assumed control of the men’s line from Neil Barrett, who had helped reinvent the brand as a fashionable apparel resource for men’s wear over the past year. Barrett dropped his consulting gig at Samsonite last fall to focus his attentions on his signature men’s and women’s collections.
Prior to manning the women’s launch, Vezzola worked as an assistant at Krizia and Dolce & Gabbana, where he was chief design assistant.

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