IT’S IN THE BAG
IRIS TOPLETZ’S PASSION FOR HANDBAGS IS REFLECTED IN THE ECLECTIC ASSORTMENT OF LINES SHE REPRESENTS AT THE MART.

Byline: Holly Haber

Iris Topletz has handbags in her blood, and also on her mind. Having grown up listening to her mom tell stories of selling bags to little stores in Texas for the since-shuttered Dallas Handbag Co., Topletz now has her own tales to tell.
The sales representative has built an impressive stable of handbag lines in the seven years she has owned her showroom, called Iris T., at the International Apparel Mart in Dallas. While Topletz carries belts, fur scarves and a couple of jewelry lines, handbags are her passion.
“I love handbags,” she said. “They never make you look fat. They always fit. And they always make you look good.”
Looking good is certainly easier when your handbag has the fine leather and sleek lines of a Francesco Biasia or the colorful original art of Angela Frascone — the top resources in Topletz’s showroom.
Francesco Biasia offers leather and straw handbags made in Milan in fashionably classic silhouettes, including soft sacs and structured bags with molded bases. They wholesale from $63 to $185.
Frascone is known for the witty prints she paints exclusively for her line. By covering the prints in protective resin, Frascone creates structured top-handle bags with high-sheen, colorful sides. The artwork spans from warm and fuzzy images to fashion trends, including cats, dogs, cowboys, geishas and graffiti. Wholesale prices start at $30 for a cosmetic bag, and most handbags average $66 to $85.
“This is a fun line,” Topletz said. “All this does is make you happy.”
Iris T’s newest addition is Plinio Visona, a stylish Italian line that just started showing in the U.S. this year. The line offers fine leather bags in two-tone, woven and molded styles. Some can be reversed to printed silk. Prices span from $108 to $215.
J. Tiras’s crystal minaudieres in classic shapes or novelties, including apples and panda bears, priced from $98 to $315, are popular among buyers in search of glittery items.
Cem, which is back in business after a six-month hiatus, offers a range of bags made of intricate woven and metallic leathers, printed paper and straw priced from $30 to $89. Cem’s sibling is Cee Klein, a moderately priced line of plaid fabric, multicolored woven and leather bags which wholesale from $11 to $39.
The other inexpensive bag line in the room is Vanessa, which offers sequined and beaded satin evening bags which wholesale from $12 to $35.

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