TIME & PLACE: Friday, September 11, 2009, 1:00p.m.
35 West 36th Street – the studio/showroom/factory
To clarify, Be & D = Designers Be Inthavong and Steve Dumain.
The intoxicating smell of expensive leather hits you when you get off at the 10th floor at the West 36th Street showroom [the workroom is right there, in the back].
The first thing we spotted was the black grommet GARBO bag which started the Be& D craze @ 4 years back. Clients range from wealthy society ladies and their teen daughters to household names of starlets who make the pages of IN TOUCH on a weekly basis. Most recently, GOSSIP GIRL’S Serena (Blake Lively) is seen carrying the same Be & D Cosette satchel in Green Python (below), $1490, which you can pick up exclusively at Saks Fifth Avenue.
TOP STYLES FOR SPRING
About ½ of the styles are made from lamb, and there’s some washed denim – a continuation of the mixed media program from the beginning.
Steve was on hand to preview the collection to the press and launched right into the trends. He jumped nimbly from editor to editor in the small showroom highlighting some of his latest styles as the editors kept piling in.
TOP TRENDS FOR SPRING
#1.The return of the bucket bag
#2. The fanny pack
#3.The twist hobo
#4. The little black square bag with a silver chain that “reminds me of the Alien movies in the eighties”.
#5. Faded Denim. Don’t even think eighties distressed denim this is as Rachel Zoe would say, “on a whole other level”. This denim is soft and has a soft cloudlike quality to it.
The bags have a sculptural quality, which is explained by the fact that Steve studied sculpture before he teamed up with Be and got into handbags. We loved them all but our fave was the WOODSTOCK bag in elephant gray a style carried over from spring ’09.
Another great pieces is the relaunched Garbo tote pared down for spring/summer with the big nickel studs on the sides.
FE: What’s your biggest selling point?
STEVE: My concept was to make luxury that was serious but still really light-hearted and fun. I don’t ever want someone to feel stodgy about their fashion.
FE: Who’s wearing you? What’s the line’s big strength?
STEVE: Women 18 – 80. We’re very tactile – it’s either super soft or super bumpy.
My background is in sculpture, international finance. I lived in South America and created vintage luggage.
FE: We haven’t had a chance to meet Be. What is his role?
STEVE: Be comes from a family who made silk in Laos for 20 years. He came here when he was 10. He did jewelry with his mother, and worked in textile design. The family was selling silk to Loro Piana.
We started 5 ½ years ago out of our loft in Brooklyn. We were literally shipping Bergdorf out of our loft, no elevator!
FE With your background, it sounds as if you have the business side covered.
STEVE: My dad covers that and so does Be’s.
NOT JUST BAGS, the SHOES and BELTS
There are the “butta soft” shoes in everything from flats to neutrals, some of the best with the house’s now-famous grommet work.
The shoes are made in Italy, this season is the first time there’s a shoe cruise collection.
The belts in Steven’s office caught our eye and we left proudly wearing our new Hermes orange skinny belt that we renamed “the Cartier Love bracelet” belt.
Steven enjoys a good collaboration and he and Be have teamed up with some of the best in the business.
Past collaborations include: Diane Von Furstenberg and Ruffian. Going forward, there are projects with Doo Ri and Rachel Roy. We look forward to seeing the results!
To view more styles from Be&D, visit www.beandd.com