CURRENT BAGS: Kate Spade has tapped stylists Emily Current and Meritt Elliott — also founders of cult denim label Current/Elliott — to design a capsule handbag collection for the brand. The Westward by Emily and Meritt for Kate Spade New York collection will bow in August, and contains six styles ranging in price from $245 to $1,295. Kate Spade’s president and creative director, Deborah Lloyd, said, “We loved the idea of partnering with Emily and Meritt. They have such a great spirit and epitomize the chic, West Coast vibe. This collaboration really was about our girl stepping out of her normal comfort zone and hitting the road.”

This story first appeared in the July 11, 2011 issue of WWD. Subscribe Today.

ISSA’S NEW OWNER: Camilla Al Fayed has purchased a controlling stake in Issa, the London fashion label that made headlines worldwide last year when Kate Middleton revealed her engagement wearing one of its dresses. Al Fayed, a daughter of Mohamed Al Fayed, the former owner of Harrods, has taken a 51 percent stake in a new company set up to develop the Issa brand globally. Issa was founded by the Brazilian designer Daniella Issa Helayel, and was funded by her until now.

Al Fayed’s title will be chairwoman and she will oversee the commercial expansion of the brand. Helayel, who holds a 49 percent stake in the new company, will remain as creative director. “The investment will help to grow the business and take it to the next level,” said Helayel. “I looked at a lot of investors, and Camilla came with the best fit. She has the infrastructure behind her, she’s well connected, and she will open a lot of doors.”

Al Fayed told WWD that she invested in the business for a number of reasons: “I believe in Daniella’s creativity; she is a friend; I admire her passion and drive, and I see potential in making Issa a global lifestyle brand.” Al Fayed added that Issa could well be the first of a series of investments.

Helayel said Issa will launch its first e-commerce site in the next few weeks, and plans to open a stand-alone store in London soon.


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