A quartet of new accessories designers to spice up your spring look. By Erin Wylie
Ah, spring…its name alone implies buoyancy, rebirth, and the chance to molt those wooly winter layers and redefine our pre-summer sartorial vision. No matter where you are in the wardrobe game, refreshing your favorite pieces from last year is a snap when shuffling in a few fresh accessories, especially shoes and handbags from these four new stars on the rise.
You can almost hear Liam Bowden and Katie Smith breaking into fits of giggles as they name their handbag designs, each respectively referred to as Mr. So-and-So. Mr. Stuffintye, for example, is a fetching rust suede bag with a neon yellow drawstring, and Mr. Foldabakabit is a gathered black bag that cuffs down to reveal a neon interior. The pair met at school in their native New Zealand in 2001 but only conceived of designing two years ago—a remarkably short time to have perfected such a cool, conceptual range of bags that are entirely handmade of leather, a material chosen for its pleasantly sculptural feel. While they are avant-garde in their shapes and trimmings, there are no signs that they'll give up their enchanted-forest whimsy anytime soon. When asked what's so deadly about ponies they replied, "Deadly Ponies are a pair of slippers that are made from Shetland Pony, when these slippers are worn they begin to attack other slippers, so the first pair could be termed 'deadly.'" Naturally. For more information go to www.deadlyponies.com.
"I am constantly observing people and friends—what they are wearing and how they wear it—and this gives me inspiration to reinvent what will always work in one's wardrobe," says Keller designer, Kelly Clark. The timelessness of her designs is immediately apparent: Her concise vision (two shoe styles to be exact) draws heavily from the vintage shapes of the '40s. There's a pair of brown leather lace-up boots that are cuffed down to reveal a tan and white interior, and an updated jazz shoe with cut-outs, both of which we guarantee will look amazing with everything you already own. Born in a Philadelphia suburb, Clark says that she's had about a million fashion-related jobs: she attended F.I.T. and then worked as a stylist, fashion assistant at Unis, and currently consults with fashion companies. "The line to me represents living in New York," she says. "It gives me an outlet to create and reinterpret the pieces I know and love." For more information go to www.kellerny.com.
Raised in California and Hawaii, it's no wonder that Alexandra Cassaniti's debut collection was inspired by the prospect of running away to the beach. She uses surfing terminology, "I go back and forth from New York to L.A., depending on the swell," and takes comfort in the knowledge that "it's always summer somewhere." She's a free spirit, but one who proudly claims her collection is all about making pieces that are "functional, comfortable, prudent, and true." And, fortunately, what she wants to make, is just what we want to buy: canvas tote and bucket bags that have natural leather details, and come in two prints, paint splatter and "pink eye." The aesthetic is informed by seminal '80s surf/skate brands like Vision Streetwear and Body Glove. Trust us, that's a good thing. Simple cork wedge sandals and heeled clogs acknowledge that a girl can't spend all of her time on the beach—they're the perfect summer-in-the-city shoes. In fact, the collection has already been picked up by the best independent shops on both coasts: Opening Ceremony, Ooga Booga, Curve, and I Heart, to name a few. For more information go to alexandracassaniti.com.
Established in 2001, Cathal McAteer created the menswear brand Folk so that he could "make the clothes that all of my friends like to wear." Shofolk, the men's and women's footwear collection, shares that ethos as well as the clothing line's casual, preppy-meets-earth-spirit aesthetic. All of the shoes are handmade and look it: visible seams, natural leathers, and quirky details ensure that no two pairs are exactly alike. That's because McAteer believes that, "there is room for more good design and quality at a reasonable price." For spring, the inspiration deviates from the usual magpie and looks to attract more tailored sophisticates. The standout 'Bee' sandal for instance, looks like a cross between an oxford and a gladiator. Guys should be on the lookout for the Ingmar, a two-tone suede Birkie-like sandal; the Alaric, a white oxford-sneaker hybrid with a bright red-rubber sole; and the Louis slipper, a leather slip-on with slashed suede sides. For more information go to www.shofolk.com.
A quartet of new accessories designers to spice up your spring look.