Lust Have Angel Shoes

Fashion Classics: Chanel 2.55

The Chanel 2.55 bag was created in 1955 (February, to be exact, that is how it got its name) and is still one of the most iconic luxury handbags. The bag is best recognized by its diamond or herringbone shaped quilting, and the pocket on the inside flap was known to be a secret place where Coco Chanel used to keep her love letters. At the time, most women carried their handbags in their hands, so the chain strap allow them to carry to bag on her shoulders. This is one of the many ways Chanel revolutionized women’s dress, including her simple, practical jersey pieces and the fact that she was an advocate of women wearing trousers. There are two versions of the lock on the 2.55, the Mademoiselle lock which has a rectangular shape, and a version with interlocking C’s. The Chanel 2.55 bag continues to be one of the best-selling handbags for the brand.

Money bags: accessories are bringing in the cash for top brands by Rosamund Urwin

Clothes may be the stars on the catwalks but it’s the clutches and heels that bring in the real bucks. Rosamund Urwin on accessorising all areas

In a beige hotel room a shamrock-green bag hangs from a lamp. Scattered across every surface are necklaces, sunglasses, perfume bottles, belts and bracelets. On the carpet is a high-heel assault course, perilous to anyone crossing in the dark or drunk. The room looks like the aftermath of many a girl’s getting ready session — except all the accessories are Chanel.

Although the fashion house’s spring/summer advertising campaign features supermodel Stella Tennant and rising stars of the catwalk Ondria Hardin and Yumi Lambert, it’s this model-free image that has captured the imagination. And in the latest Dior ads the label’s handbags get equal billing to actress Marion Cotillard. In one shot Cotillard stares lustfully at a bag; in another, she’s turned her back on it, as if irked it is stealing her limelight.

These ads reflect the ever-increasing importance of accessories to fashion houses. Forget the clothes on models’ backs: bags and perfume are the major moneyspinners in luxury goods. No wonder Hermès — purveyor of the ultimate arm candy (one of its Birkin bags costs between £6,000 and £100,000 and Victoria Beckham has 100 of them) — reported a 26 per cent jump in profits for last year, to €1.12 billion.

And it’s not just the fashion titans reaping the rewards of our obsession. English accessories-only labels — such as handbag designer Anya Hindmarch and cordwainer Nicholas Kirkwood — are proving that you no longer need a ready-to-wear collection to grab attention or to start building a superbrand.

“Margins on accessories tend to be much higher than those on ready-to-wear,” explains Imran Amed, founder of the Business of Fashion website. “That’s probably because a bag is something you carry every day, so consumers may be willing to pay more, whereas people don’t like wearing the same dress twice. And from a planning perspective bags and accessories are easier to manage because they don’t have sizes — you don’t need to make sure that the right dress in the right size is in the right shop for the right customer.”

Moreover, accessories are more accessible. And now — while budgets are squeezed — labels want to attract every customer they can. “Anyone looking to buy into a brand can buy a bag,” says Amed. In other words, you don’t need the figure of a Victoria’s Secret model to look good carrying a Charlotte Olympia clutch.

In the past, accessories-only labels, which lacked catwalk shows, struggled to receive anywhere close to the press coverage of clothing brands. So even Louis Vuitton — best known for its bags — produces clothing collections.

But accessories designers such as Anya Hindmarch are now carving another path. For her show at London Fashion Week last month, Hindmarch’s team built an intricate set using 50,000 dominos. In the ultimate in handbag theatre (which you can watch on the label’s website), as the dominos tumbled, next season’s totes and clutches were revealed.

Meanwhile, the new king of the high heel Nicholas Kirkwood has shown his business nous by teaming up with British ready-to-wear labels Erdem and Peter Pilotto for their shows, getting his shoes on the catwalk, into the press and into the hearts of stiletto-obsessives.

His efforts were rewarded in January when he became the first accessories designer to win the British Fashion Council/ Vogue Designer Fashion Fund, beating high-profile labels Mary Katrantzou and Roksanda Ilincic. It will give Kirkwood £200,000 to grow his label, as well as mentoring from a bevy of senior figures in the industry, guaranteeing him propulsion into the style super league.

So now more than ever in fashion, it’s all about the money bags and the golden slippers.

From the Standard, click here.

Bling Alert, Armani 2013

Note, keep nails tidy and short.

Autumn/Winter 2013, Hottest Shoes/Boots

The Above, Hmm, I don't think this is the most flattering look, In fact socks with sandals, steer clear although on International Catwalks.

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