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October 3, 2013

Emerging Accessories Labels to Watch

By Laura Walkinshaw

perrin paris_mainWhen it comes to making money, luxury accessories brands are leading the way with signature pieces that can instantly update an outfit – be it a scarf, a pair of shoes, or a clutch bag. And with demand for accessories continuing to rise, now is the time for new names to make an impact.

With the help of our style editor Drew Taylor, Elite Traveler has picked out emerging accessories labels that are destined for big things.

Every season, designers from all over the world showcase their latest collections in the industry’s most fashionable capitals, watched eagerly by fashion editors, stylists and celebrities waiting to pick out their most-wanted pieces.

While old favorites continue to impress with their designs, up and coming designers seize this opportunity to get the eyes of the fashion industry on their best creations yet.

Collections recently showcased in London and New York have put rising accessories designers firmly on the radar of fashionistas, with Chelsea Paris’ bold and unusual shoe designs grabbing the attention of all the right people at London Fashion Week, and Sarah Flint’s 1940s-inspired creations gaining interest when she unveiled her spring/summer 2014 shoe collection at New York’s Carlyle Hotel.

Style bible Vogue has also helped to put other designers on the map, including Daniele Michetti, who won in the accessory category of Italian talent scouting contest ‘Who is On Next?’, delivered jointly by Vogue Italia and Altaroma, while handbag designer Paula Cademartori made it to the finals of the competition in 2011, and was named in Vogue Italia’s list of 140 Emerging Designers.

For some, ‘making it’ as a designer in their own right comes after years of working for some of world’s most prestigious labels, including Tonya Hawkes, who spent almost a decade at Donna Karan (eventually becoming VP of shoes and accessories) before launching her own collection. Similarly, the careers of other emerging accessories designers we’ve featured have worked for the likes of Gianni Versace, Burberry Prorsum and Yves Saint Laurent.

But all of these emerging accessories labels have one thing in common: the drive to succeed, set trends and make some of the most talked-about accessories in the fashion world right now.

Read on to find out more about the designers who are on their way to becoming household names.

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Daniele Michetti


With a rising reputation as a “shoe guru”, Daniele Michetti is well on his way to becoming a firm favorite among stylists and fashion editors, who love his quirky and distinctive designs.

After working as a designer and product manager at Santoni for a decade, collaborating with the likes of Burberry Prorsum and Yves Saint Laurent, Michetti emerged with his debut line of shoes in 2009 – and went on to win the talent scouting contest ‘Who is On Next?’ in the accessories category the same year.

Four years on the designer is gaining traction with his unique shoes, which feature edgy details including studs, textured leather and bold colors. Hollywood actress Gwyneth Paltrow is among the long list of celebs spotted wearing Daniele Michetti sandals, while singer Katy Perry was pictured sporting boots from the Italian designer’s line in ELLE UK Magazine.

Always at the height of fashion, Daniele Michetti’s fall / winter collection includes thigh-high and cut-out boots, which are set to be huge this season.


rauwolf_‘Futuristic’, ‘statement accessory’ and ‘unexpected’ are all words that have been used to describe Kristine Johannes’ line Rauwolf, which has taken the fashion world by storm with a distinct, architecture-inspired collection of handbags.

Made from Plexiglass, Johannes’ space-age designs are a modern and architectural take on luxury, with geometric shapes, reflective surfaces and unique color combinations.

Like diamonds with their sharp lines and mirrored surfaces, the clutches are as far away from the traditional leather handbag as you can get, yet have a glamorous, chic feel to them that has put them on the radar of just about every fashion editor.

Made lighter and more spacious by hours of work by German-born, New York-based Johannes, this is an accessory label that’s destined for big things.

Paula Cademartori

paula cademartori2Since joining the Gianni Versace fashion house as a Junior Accessories Designer, the career of Brazilian-born Paula Cademartori has gone from strength to strength, with her collection of coveted handbags propelling her to the forefront of the fashion industry.

When Cademartori was named in the list of 140 Emerging Designers of Vogue Italia in 2009 and launched the Paula Cademartori brand with a collection of handbags at Milan Fashion Week in the following year, it marked the start of her epic rise as an accessories designer.

Today her Italian-made handbag collection has gained the “it-bag” status, with every fashionista in town eager to get their hands on one of her timeless and colorful creations, and leading fashion magazines ELLE and Vogue featuring them in their shoots.

Tonya Hawkes

tonya_black and white_After almost a decade of experience as a designer for the famous Donna Karan label, Tonya Hawkes made a move that changed her life: leaving the fashion the capital of the world for Bologna, Italy for a job offer she couldn’t refuse.

Although Hawkes returned to the States after two years, again to work for Karan, she found herself back in Italy a year later, at which point she set about designing her own bag collection.

Today, her imitable, luxurious clutch bags are fast becoming a staple among fashion editors, who love them for their originally and personality, while they have been spotted in the outfits of stars such as Alicia Keys.

Made from lambskin, viper snake and other high-quality leathers, and featuring details such as oversized studs, these 1950s-inspired mini trunk bags are a modern twist on the classic clutch – and are set to get even more popular.

Perrin Paris 1893

perrin paris_462Although the Perrin Paris brand has been around for more than 100 years, the accessories label relaunched internationally in 2006 with Michel Perrin, the great-grandson of the founder, and his model wife Sally at the helm.

Seven years on, the French brand’s leather accessories are gaining traction in the industry, with unique clutch bags – which feature bracelet and glove details – and carefully crafted gloves spotted on fashion editors and stars such as Drew Barrymore, Cher and Fergie.

The opening of two boutiques Stateside, in Beverly Hills and most recently New York, signal the rise of Perrin Paris as an international brand, but this business is dedicated to staying true to its roots and keeping it in the family; this year, Michel and Sally’s daughter Chloe Perrin joined as brand director in New York.

Still, with its unique clutches becoming ‘must-haves’ for fashionistas, the only way is up for the Parisian label.

Sarah Flint

Hayworth_Peacock_02 1Since breaking onto the scene with her debut eponymous shoe collection, Sarah Flint has won praise for her classic, feminine silhouettes which signal the return of 1940s chic.

The up-and-coming designer, who studied at the prestigious Ars Sutoria school in Milan and worked for Diane von Furstenberg, draws inspiration from 1940s silhouettes and the delicate design details of Japanese origami, which translate into ladylike aesthetics and beautiful stitching.

Featuring elegant cut-outs and chic embellishments, Flint’s handcrafted, luxury collection has already been snapped up by retailers across the US, while the designer has recently launched her e-commerce site.

While still relatively unknown, Flint’s timeless, ultra-wearable designs are destined to make her a fashion staple in the luxury market.

Chelsea Paris

chelsea paris_Said to be a favorite among stars including Rihanna and Kirsten Stewart, Chelsea Paris is a label that’s getting noticed for its bold color combinations and unusual designs.

Nigerian-born Theresa Ebagua is the designer behind the sculptural masterpieces, who takes inspiration from her native roots with her SS14 shoe collection, which features African tribal prints and influences from the 1920s Art Deco era, while incorporating oriental details.

Firmly on the radar of leading fashion magazines, as well as celebrities including Rose Byrne and Debra Messing, Chelsea Paris offers ultra-wearable designs that’ll get you through the day and night – while making sure you look effortlessly chic.

Reve by Rene

reve by rene_Possibly the most creative high-end eyewear label in the luxury market right now, Revé by René is the creation of American designer René Chu, which recently launched in Hong Kong.

Her signature ‘Make Me Meow’ collection is a quirky, yet glamorous take on sunglasses, which come with removable, magnetic cat ears so the wearer can decide how to wear them. Meanwhile, the ‘Beautiful Monster’ collection has screw-on talons, which transform the specs from sophisticated to extraordinary.

The designs of Los Angeles-born Chu have already been snapped up a growing group of stockists, including Colette in Paris, while the release of her sunglasses collection was met with huge demand.

The former model recently added another model to her range, too (the aviator), signaling that this is one eyewear designer we’ll be seeing a lot more from.

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