This spring, in honor of the label’s fifth anniversary, designers Be Inthavong and Steve Dumain are reintroducing their now iconic (and much copied) rock-chic satchel, with whipstitching, updated hardware and the addition of a shoulder bag style – already on the hit list of fashion-loving It girls of the bold name variety.
“The Garbo launched the beginning of the hardware craze,” Dumain told The Fashion Informer during a recent visit to the duo’s midtown Manhattan showroom of the bag that put them on the fashion map. “But two years into it, everyone had done their version of the studded bag – from big designers to down-market lines – so we ran the other way.”
For Be & D, numerous celebrity-named bags followed (the Ava, the Crawford) as did numerous celebrity clients (Liv Tyler, Mena Suvari, Charlize Theron, Leighton Meester, Blake Lively, Rihanna, Eva Longoria and Penelope Cruz, to name a few), along with the recent addition of shoes, belts and small leather goods.
Along with re-embracing the Garbo, Be & D have evolved their newer styles for spring, including the Belleville hobo (available in a turquoise eelskin and washed champagne python), the Cosette (fashioned from crinkle white patent or a two-tone Aztec weave leather) and the aptly named Kan-Kan tote, which pre-dates Prada’s ruffled bag by (ahem) several seasons.
Most of the exotic skins in the line were designed with the help of a small tannery in upstate New York, in keeping with Inthavong and Duman’s desire to use local manufacturers whenever possible (all Be & D merch is sewn in their own Manhattan atelier and Garbo’s metal studs are always applied by artisans working in-house).
The duo’s beloved studs also turn up on the corset-like Garbo belt and new-to-the-line wallets, while spring’s shoe styles walk the line between sexy and ladylike, thanks to floral Ikat prints and elegant silhouettes paired with refined platforms and seductive, tough-meets-tender cut outs.
“Spring was inspired by the idea of the sky and the land, or two minds coming together,” said Inthavong, who hails from Laos (Dumain, meanwhile, was raised on a horse farm in upstate New York). Hence the “tribal fisherman” theme of one shoe style, and the gold bottom that adorns each pair – a nod to Laos’ Buddhist temples and a good luck symbol, thought to ward off bad vibes.
Certainly, Be & D have had nothing but good vibes as of late - their handbags have appeared in several episodes of “Gossip Girl” - and it’s a lucky streak that will surely continue when the new line hits shelves next season.
Photos courtesy Be & D