December 29, 2007
WWD: Top 12 Designer Handbag Brands of 2007
WWD recently published their top 12 picks for 2007, and I am so disappointed. I mean who did they interview? Label whores? When I think of last years best sellers, or even memorable bags that could have been found on the lists of thousands of handbag fans, I wouldn’t pick a bag by some of the designers below. Coach number 1? How can that be. And Ralph Lauren? The only bag that comes to mind is the birkin-looking Ricky bag. I have nothing against the brands below, I’m a fan of a couple, but I don’t think this list is very accurate.
1 - COACH
Number of respondents who selected this as a handbag brand with which they were familiar: 76 percent The $2.6 billion Coach hopes to double its volume to $5 billion over the next four to five years. In October, Lew Frankfort, chairman and chief executive officer, identified handbags selling for more than $400 as the company’s “fastest-growing price segment.” The company opened its first Coach Legacy store in October - one-quarter of the merchandise is exclusive to the new format, and the average price point is $425. President and executive creative director Reed Krakoff told WWD the prototype is a way for younger fashion-savvy types to experience the world of Coach.
2 - LOUIS VUITTON
American artist Richard Prince’s buzzed-about spring collaboration with Marc Jacobs for Louis Vuitton handbags was unveiled during Paris Fashion Week. Prince worked plenty of variations on the famed logo. “I started silk-screening the monogram,” he told WWD in October. “I started stamping it. I took it apart. I cut it up. I splashed it around. I tried to abstract it in a way that you would still be able to recognize it.” The French fashion house has taken a bold approach to its latest ad campaign by featuring former Russian president Mikhail S. Gorbachev as one of its new models.
3 - GUCCI
“If you want to own something unique that isn’t like what everyone else has, Gucci is the way to go,” commented one respondent in the survey. In May, WWD reported Gucci had tapped Mert Alas and Marcus Piggot to shoot an ad campaign solely dedicated to the season’s must-have accessory: the Indy bag, a rigid frame-style single handle that features the engraved Gucci script logo, tassels with bamboo detail, metal plates and studs. The PPR-owned fashion house has been pushing the bag, which helped boost sales of Gucci Group’s leather goods by 11 percent for the second quarter through June.
4 - DOONEY & BOURKE
The Norwalk, Conn.-based brand boasts a lower price point than many others in the top 12, with prices that range from $20 to $625. The company has been working to expand its consumer base by tapping young spokeswomen such as Emma Roberts, Mischa Barton, Lindsay Lohan and, most recently, “Heroes” teen sensation Hayden Panettiere. In her new role as spokeswoman, Panettiere was allowed to create her own “dream bag”: Known as the Hayden bag, it is a large leather shoulder bag with puffy pleats and buckle closure, available in black, brown, red and white.
5 - PRADA
“It’s always hip to wear Prada, no matter what - the fashion value of this brand always stands out,” said Pedraza of the Luxury Institute. Nylon bags, ruched leather bags and others featuring the giant Prada logo are among the latest looks. With regard to luxury handbags rising in price and demand, a Prada spokeswoman told WWD in February, “Besides the growing demand for fine leather goods, there is also the complexity of several models, continuous design innovation and, last but not least, an increase in certain costs that cannot be reduced if you want to preserve the level of quality.”
6 - KATE SPADE
No matter that husband-and-wife team Kate and Andy Spade exited the company this past summer (they remain on as board members), consumers remain attached to the brand name. Most likely, people associate the brand with its signature nylon handbags, but it is much more diverse: Latest looks include patterned and striped bags, leopard-print clutches, unstructured hobos and leather totes. Deborah Lloyd, Banana Republic’s executive vice president of product design and development, was recently tapped to become co-president and creative director of the brand.
7 - BURBERRY
Though its signature plaid remains a staple in Burberry’s handbag collection, Christopher Bailey is pushing accessories into a new realm. The fall collection consists of nylon quilted looks, gemmed clutches, quilted leather satchels with studded hardware and more. In November, WWD reported Burberry’s first-half revenues rose 14.5 percent to 449 million pounds, or $899.5 million, from 392 million pounds, or $725.5 million, with some of the fastest growth coming from nonapparel categories. One of the biggest drivers behind sales was accessories, which grew 35 percent year-on-year.
8 - FENDI
It’s an ongoing parade of “It” bags for Fendi, owned by LVMH Mo
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