Designer Laura Vela's motto is "a woman's handbag is the most personal part of her wardrobe. It should be a refection of herself; both inside and out." Uh oh, Kim Kardashian, if this is true, Kanye West may be telling you something not very pretty about yourself. West's Christmas gift to his fiancée was a $10,000 Birkin Bag from luxury design house Hermés, which West then commissioned the artist George Condo to decorate any way he chose. Condo painted a portrait on the pricey bag of a zaftig reclining nude, that vaguely resembles Kardashian, surrounded by three surreal figures with their faces distorted by evil grimaces. One fanged character is depicted passing a glass of red wine (we hope) to another, whose head is sectioned after a figure from Picasso's cubist phase. Amidst all this a green faced male character leers lewdly from the sidelines. Hey, it's all in the eye of the beholder, right?
For women who are more sartorially sure of themselves than Kardashian, and who don't want their handbags to look like a Dorian Grey portrait gone awry, Vela's smartly styled handbags are a sophisticated alternative. Vela's pieces are created with the highest quality leather sourced from Italy, Argentina and Spain. She is attuned to redefining luxury through global influences that she reinterprets into edgy, minimalist designs. Vela's SS14 "Ramble On" collection was inspired by the nomadic lifestyle she lives throughout the world, as well as a correlation between travel and the personal development of character. The designer seeks to imbue her creations with the emotions drawn from Parisian architecture and the landscapes of Buenos Aires to bring a uniquely cosmopolitan aesthetic to the collection.
Underlying Vela's conviction of personal reflection and character is the idea that the free spirited woman who chooses her handbags exudes a "chic and effortless style". The pieces in her "Ramble On" collection each reflect the source of their inspiration. The "Pari" tells a story of Paris romance, "Trope" of summer evenings in St. Tropez, and "Mia" the distinctive feel of Miami sunsets. The bags are all constructed with a combination of exotic skins and leather. The "Lucci", a "bowling" bag, is made with authentic python and soft calfskin leather that features dual carrying options with top handles and a detachable/adjustable shoulder strap. The "Jules Geneva" is a messenger style bag made with calfskin and python, and also features the dual carrying option. The collection also features elegant clutches and a sleek shoulder bag, the "Lola" that is streamlined and fitted with a heavy duty silver clasp.
Vela's bags are stocked by Henri Bendel on 5th Avenue, and as of last month, the bags will also be available at the Wink NYC boutiques here in Manhattan. Vela presented the "Ramble On" capsule collection with a trunk show at Wink's Prince Street location recently, and despite a night of inclement weather, attracted a coterie of devoted as well as new fans of her designs. Wink's boutiques have long been the go-to place for stylish New Yorker's who seek something more than the cookie cutter designs offered at the large department stores. They are particularly noteworthy when it comes to the curation of the accessories they sell. Their jewelry all has that one-of-a-kind feel, the type of delicate and sparkly bling coveted by girls of any age. Vela's sleek designs fit in perfectly with the edgy glamour the boutiques are known for.
129 Prince Street
New York, N.Y. 10012
212 334 3646