As we commence the oh-so crazy NYC Fashion Week, I have been thinking a lot about conformity, trends... Of course I tout individuality consistently, so it will be of no surprise to you that my anti-running-with-the-pack views are exacerbated during this time. I will be attending several presentations/shows and will absolutely follow Style.com, but I promise to only write about those who really standout from the crowd. Anyway, I also will continue to write daily regardless of my ridiculous schedule and I will attempt to focus this week on finding product that you can't find everywhere, that you may not have heard of and that may just inspire you to step outside of your own personal style box...
To start off the weekend with a bang, I want to talk about what I call the NON-IT-BAG. I am so tired of the Birkin, the Stam, the Spy and the Muse...no brand names required. I am more interested in inspired design, artistic vision and ultimately a consistent and distinctive point-of-view. Now don't get me wrong, obviously the aforementioned bags didn't attain their "It" status with a lack of creativity and talent...clearly they are "Its" for a reason. I am more concerned with the fact, that you see them on everyone and now even on every street corner. When the street vendors started carrying decent knock-offs of the Balenciaga City Motorcycle Bag, I completely lost interest and decided to attempt to always search for the unique and yes, untouched. Of course this is never easy and I do find myself being a hypocrite from time to time, but still I always seem to find the bag no one has or no one has yet embraced thoroughly.
The first line that I want to feature is not hard to find, Sissi Rossi. Barneys brought the brand to the US in a big way and it has become a staple in their Co-op world. I bought my first bag in 2007, still adore it and get tons of compliments on it. They are known for their richly pigmented "Tinto In Capo" (garment dyed), butter-soft skins and an understated design philosophy. They don't evolve to be on trend...I always feel that they create what they love. Most of the bags are under $1,000 because you aren't paying for someone's BIG name, but the quality is unbelievable and each bag is beyond functional. Luxurious, so stylish and big pops of color that will allow you to shine...the perfect Non-It-Bag.
You may or may not have heard of the unbelievable fab evening bag brand, Celestina. Both Net-A-Porter and Vivre carry it in a small way and it has been written about before. That said, it is still so under the radar. Celestina Maristela-Ocampo introduced her eponymous label two years ago with signature, structured clutch bags, handmade from indigenous, natural materials. She works with abalone shells, semi-precious stones, mother-of-pearl and shagreen to name just a few and the effect is pure art. Each bag is special, artisinal...each like a gorgeous piece of one-of-a-kind jewelry...never trendy...always perfect. My new fav luxury site CoutureLab has the best and most inspired selection. These little gems will set you back from $1,000-$1,500, but again, you must look at them as investments in your uniqueness. You drop $2,000 on the new Lanvin It Bag, just to blend into the crowd, so I say let it all hang out for half that price...
CoutureLab also has their very own Non-It-Bag collection and it rocks. My absolute favorite is the Giraffe Print Bag, constructed of pony skin and embossed leather. The color and detailing are to-die and at about $1,200 it is so much more interesting than anything else you will find. It comes in 2 colors, brown and cream, though both have the amazing cherry red skin as the contrast. Love this bag!!!!
Last but never least is Jamin Puech. Any self-proclaimed fashionista that doesn't covet this brand is a fraud. Again, each bag is so special, so one-of-a-kind feeling that they never go out of style. They are like carrying art or wearing art I should say. MarissaCollections.com has the best selection online, but I always say you have to touch and feel each bag...see them up close and personal to truly appreciate the creativity and craftsmanship, so go to the Nolita store for a true fashion experience. They too hover around the $1,000 mark, but again girls, you are investing in the most precious resource...you!!!
So ladies, I hope I have challenged you a bit to think about your style options. Do you really want to see yourself on every street corner or do you want to be the trendsetter. It isn't hard to do...you just have to be creative, to search for you inner stylista and to embrace your individuality. Accessories are the easiest way to let your unique light shine. What a boring place this world would be if we all looked just alike!!!!