ASPREY’S HIT: Sales of handbags at Asprey since Katie Hillier started applying her talents are noticeably up, says the historic London company. Since the accessories designer created her first collection for the brand for fall/winter 2012, sales of leather goods are up 21 percent and handbags are up 39 percent in the period April 2012 to January 2013.

 The summer of 2012 saw Hillier collaborate on the Private Collection, 38 one-of-a-kind, ultra-luxe handbags, which sold out faster than expected. The collection has been revisited again for summer 2013 just in time for the annual influx of wealthy Middle Eastern and European clients to London.

 Before their arrival, a database of Asprey’s high net worth clients is sent a digital invitation with a special pass code to access a preview of 15 of the 41 bags that have been created this year. None of the styles can be purchased online or in advance, so private appointments are set up in the VIP suite of the Bond Street store.

“Working with Asprey is so different because there is no limit or compromise,” Hillier told WWD. “I can really go to town on skins and materials and not worry about keeping the price down.”

 Prices start from 20,000 pounds (about $30,250 at current exchange) for simple color block bags in exotic skins, while decorative bags with semi-precious stones and appliqued exotic skins start from 30,000 pounds ($45,380). Handbags embellished with precious stones will sell for between 60-100,000 pounds ($90,760 to $151,270). Each of the bags will come with a sterling silver plaque that is hallmarked and numbered 1/1 to prove its uniqueness.

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