NEW YORK — Isaac Mizrahi, who pioneered the concept of high-low fashion, is at it again.
Mizrahi is going into bridge handbags with a collection called Isaac Isaac Mizrahi. The bags will be produced by Accessory Network Group, the firm based here that last year relaunched luxury American accessories firm Ghurka and acquired Le Sportsac.
Mizrahi designed handbags for his ready-to-wear business that closed in 1998 and he continues to do so in his collection for Target, with which Accessory Network is collaborating.
“There’s lot out there and the only way to substantiate couture is to somehow democratize it right now,” Mizrahi said of his decision to do higher-priced bags in addition to the Target styles that average $20 at retail.
Abe Chehebar, chief executive officer of Accessory Network, projects the line to do $1 million to $2 million in sales in its first year. The bag collection, which shares the name of Mizrahi’s existing shoe line licensed by The Fashion House, bows at Saks Fifth Avenue and Bergdorf Goodman next spring with prices ranging from $395 to $795.
“Isaac is one of the rare designers that was successful in creating a master class presentation of his brand,” Chehebar said. “[He] can implement his designs and ideas for the designer level, as well as the mass level. There’s a lot of cross-shopping going on now and [Mizrahi’s] direction was visionary.”
Mizrahi likened current consumer tastes to food.
“If you were creating a meal and everything was foie gras and truffles, everyone would barf,” he said. “[On the other hand] if all you ate was pizza, you’re going to want caviar after a while. It’s the same with clothes and decor….Halston began to see the light, but he couldn’t do it because society wasn’t ready for it. It feels right to me now.”
Mizrahi is revamping footwear for next spring and he thought handbags would complement the category. In March, Mizrahi switched licensors to The Fashion House, which also now produces a new upscale Isaac Mizrahi shoe collection that bows next spring with prices starting at $500.
Samples weren’t available at press time, but one thing is certain: The bags will be bright.
“There’s a spot in the market for a very colorful product,” Mizrahi said. “[Handbags are] not like a dress or a skirt, that in a bright color [makes] you look fat or ridiculous in. For me, it’s a self-fulfilling prophecy: If you wear pink, you’ll have a pink day.”
Mizrahi also designs a custom dress business for Bergdorf’s, as well as a men’s sportswear collection.
“A woman thinks a lot about shoes and bags, as they work together,” Mizrahi said. “It’s something I’ve always thought about and wanted to do.”