MONICA TAKES BENDEL’S BY STORM

Byline: Melanie Kletter

NEW YORK — Henri Bendel was infested with a buzzing swarm of paparazzi Wednesday as Monica Lewinsky celebrated her new spring bag line with an in-store appearance and trunk show.
Looking trim and coiffed, Lewinsky seemed in good spirits as she greeted shoppers and posed for photographs.
“I am thrilled to be here,” she said, flashing a wide grin to the clicking cameras.
A long line of customers, mostly women, waited patiently to have a few seconds with the woman whose affair with President Clinton nearly forced him out of office.
“I just had to see her,” remarked one customer waiting in the seemingly endless line. The line, called Monica Lewinsky, includes fabric purses and tote bags, some of which feature cute trimmings and bright colors.
Her bags were first launched at Bendel’s during Thanksgiving, and the line flew off the shelves, with the entire offering of 100 bags selling out in about two weeks, said Ed Burstell, Bendel’s vice president and general manager.
“We are really happy with how the line is going,” Burstell said Wednesday amid the swelling crowd on Bendel’s fourth-floor atrium. “We started with a single bag, and now we are offering an entire line for spring.”
Retailing for $128 to $198, the spring line features about a dozen styles. Based on the early success with the bags, Lewinsky may expand into other categories, such as small leather goods, according to Burstell.
“Monica has been lovely to work with,” he said. “She is very straightforward and has a quick sense of humor.”
While Lewinsky had earlier said she was purchasing fabric retail for the bags, Burstell noted that she now gets fabrics from “a variety of sources.”
At the trunk show, 200 of the 250 bags were sold. A portion of the proceeds will benefit the Pediatric Cancer Foundation.

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