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FAST FRIENDSHIP: Margherita Missoni’s collaboration kick continues with luxury handbag-maker Ximena Kavalekas. Based in Milan and Miami, respectively, the designing mothers met through a common friend in January. Over lunch at Missoni’s home, their simpatico relationship quickly led to a limited-edition version of Kavalekas’ top-selling Mandolin 2.0 bag, Missoni’s favorite style within the python accessories collection manufactured in Tuscany.

“I love challenging myself by experimenting with designing for new categories,” said Missoni, who also worked with Splendid for sportswear, Yoox for children’s sleepwear, Away for luggage and Pottery Barn Kids for home, among other capsule collections. “I thought I’d take a stab at bags.”

The structured boxy shape comes in bold colorblocking in three exclusive colorways — Capri, a mix of ocean blue, pool green and hibiscus red; Portofino with emerald green, burnt tangerine and purple, and Sardinia in white and natural skin. Three-hundred of each colorway will be produced and numbered. After launching at Paris Haute Couture Week during a buyer and press reception at Caviar Kaspia on July 4, bags will retail for $2,400 through Moda Operandi, the Webster and Kavalekas’ web site. More stores are expected to confirm orders.

“Ximena’s idea was that the bags should elaborate on my personal style, so I suggested daisies. ‘Margherita’ means ‘daisy’ in Italian,” said Missoni, of the 3-D laser-cut appliqués in multiple colors.

Very much a mutual process, they honor the collaboration with star-themed embroidery in a zigzag pattern that combines their initials. The bag’s suede-lined interior features a pocket, and a detachable strap transforms the clutch into a crossbody.

“She’s a kind spirit, and her fashion sense is unique. I respect her vision and share her passion for craftsmanship and innovation,” said Kavalekas of her foray into collaborations, though she’s issued the Mandolin 2.0 in custom colors for Bergdorf Goodman, her first wholesale account, and the style’s namesake restaurant and boutique in Miami, a popular haunt for the fashion crowd. “The moment we met we knew that we wanted to do something together, and a lot of emails and calls crossed the Atlantic both ways during this short period of time.”

Both designers consider collaborations an invaluable tool for each to achieve prominence and autonomy. Missoni, who left her family’s firm to spend more time with her children, prefers to focus on adapting her aesthetics to other brands, while leaving production and distribution to her partners on collaborations. They’re already toying with a follow-up act.

“Ximena’s brand identity is strong. I’m particularly fond of working with niche brands that do one thing well and really excel at creating an incredible product,” she said.

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