NEW YORK — A slew of accessories firms got in on the fashion week action this year, holding events and soirees all around town. Kate Spade held a preview breakfast, where it showed its new offerings, including uniforms for the new Song airline.
Among the wide range of accessories on display at Spade were coated linen, printed leather and embossed lizard handbags, as well as styles such as metallic mesh and satin plated bags that could be worn for evenings on the town.
“The idea this spring is happy elegance,” said Spade. “There are a lot of great sherbert colors and clean shapes. People don’t want the bag of the season anymore. They want special things, and bags that individually appeal to their personality, mood and style.”
Some firms used fashion week to celebrate company milestones. Jewelry firm Erickson Beamon held a bash at Barneys to honor its 20th anniversary and the launch of its new diamond collection, while Lambertson Truex threw a fete at its 17th Street showroom for its fifth anniversary. The Erickson Beamon crowd drew celebrities like Chloë Sevigny and China Chow, as well as designers such as As Four and Tara Subkoff from Imitation of Christ, while industry veteran Dawn Mello, Bergdorf Goodman chairman and chief executive officer Ron Frasch and John Bartlett stopped by to celebrate with design duo Richard Lambertson and John Truex.
Tocca didn’t hold a runway presentation this year, choosing instead to show its new creations at an informal showroom affair, and handbags were on the menu. Among the new offerings are bright colored handbags in fabrics such as suede and leather, some of which have a patchwork motif.
“We are really focusing on building up our handbag business,” said Gordon Finkelstein, president of Tocca. “This category is now about 6 percent of sales, and our plan is to increase it to 10 to 12 percent of sales in 2004.”
Meanwhile, World According to Jess, the budding handbag label by Jessica Alpert-Goldman, went downtown via the Jersey Turnpike when she showed her spring on a “runway” above the Bowlmor Lanes. The models were styled identically trashy as Jersey Girls — think Uma Thurman in HBO’s Hysterical Blindness — showing four groups inspired by Jersey locales such as Belmar and Newark. The tongue-in-cheek styles included seemingly see-through handbags with faux contents painted across the front, a houndstooth dog carry-all for Fido’s head to pop out and whimsical box bags “wrapped” as a gift.
Milliner David Mason showed his spring collection with a romp at downtown joint Opaline, with hats on show including a sparkling pink exaggerated fedora, a black and red Twenties-style cloche that extends beyond the wearer’s eye, and a crocheted whale-shaped hat “biting” into a pink lobster.
And Lilly Pulitzer, the Palm Beach-inspired contemporary line, launched its jewelry collection at an informal fashion week presentation at Bryant Park, featuring charm bracelets and bold necklaces made with crystal, beads, shells and some semiprecious stones, as well as big rings, cuff bracelets and pendant necklaces in silver.
“The jewelry is designed to work with the apparel,” said Virginia Lindquist, president of G. VanOsdol LLC, which is making the Lilly Pulitzer collection under license. “It’s all about color.”