MILAN (AP) — Perhaps the "It" bag's star just burned too bright. Those must-have handbag wonders, which flew out of stores before dropping into sudden oblivion, have given way to something more enduring: signature bags.
Iconic bags have been around since fashion fused with celebrity — Hermes has the Birkin, Fendi the Baguette, Gucci the Hobo, and so on — but now they are becoming a cornerstone of brand strategy, acting as a flagship item. These are bags so exclusive and enduring they have become emblematic of the label they bear.
Ferragamo launched its own entry into the category this week with the Fiamma, named for founder Salvatore Ferragamo's late daughter, who was the force behind Ferragamo's first handbag collection in the 1970s. Designed by Massimiliano Giornetti, the satchel-styled bag takes elements from a 1990s Fiamma Ferragamo design, including a top handle and a locked flap, for a creation meant to be both functional and aesthetically appealing.
"Handbags are something of a collector's item, something you can pass down from generation to generation, so it really has value. It is something that also represents a brand," James Ferragamo, grandson of Ferragamo and the brand's director of women's leather goods, said by telephone Tuesday, ahead of a dinner launching the new bag. "We want to maintain this in our collection for many years to come."
The Fiamma comes in three sizes, from a mini-version appropriate for the evening to a larger carryall, and has many iterations, from leather, python, crocodile, stingray, calf and fox. The price ranges from $1,650 to $27,000.
Ferragamo underlined the intergenerational aspirations for the bag, reflecting the company's three-generational family history, with an online short film project featuring mother-daughter and sister pairings from iconic families, including Mariel Hemingway and her daughter Langley Hemingway Fox, that is posted on the brand's website.
Mariel Hemingway said she had no trouble signing on to the project. She's a long-time fan of Ferragamo, and appreciated the family tie-in and the chance to work with her daughter. The role of fashion in everyday life hit home for the actress and, more recently, mental health advocate during a recent speaking engagement in Washington, D.C., when she kept getting compliments from strangers on her shoes — a pair of two-tone sandals with a silver buckle by none other than Ferragamo — from the decidedly non-fashion crowd.