If you were expecting Chanel’s Fall 2014 collection to be posed in a Target near you for the brand’s fall ads just because of the supermarket runway show, you were wrong. Karl Lagerfeld has gone in a workout direction for Chanel’s seasonal ads, choosing to focus on the sporty side of the collection (including tons of sneakers) instead of the grocery-themed details. With that in mind, the ads feature brand favorite Cara Delevingne and Binx Walton, a boxing gym and approximately one zillion of Chanel’s pre-fall and fall handbags. (more…)

Well, that didn’t take long. Only days after announcing that Christophe Lemaire would be leaving the brand to focus on his eponymous collection, Hermès announced on Thursday that Nadège Vanhee-Cybulski, most recently the head of ready-to-wear at The Row, will take over as its womenswear creative director, according to Women’s Wear Daily.

It’s not immediately clear what Vanhee-Cybulski’s appointment will mean to accessories fiends; at Hermès, more so than at most other brands, there is almost a church-and-state separation between what goes on in ready-to-wear and how decisions are made about the brand’s iconic, immensely profitable leather goods, silks and accessories. The 36-year-old Frenchwoman won’t oversee handbags, but her aesthetic will no doubt influence those who do in certain ways.

Vanhee-Cybulski has spent the bulk of her career at Maison Martin Margiela, Céline and The Row, which, as the New York Times’ Vanessa Friedman points out, gives a strong indication that Hermès is committed to pursuing the expansion of its ready-to-wear business in the most restrained and dignified of manners. Get ready for more ultra-luxurious minimalism, which is, of course, a look that translates extremely well from clothes to handbags and accessories.

In the world of big-name leather goods, shifts in strategy rarely come as a surprise. There are rumors and whispers of declining sales, or, alternately, talk of the designer becoming enough of a star in his own right that he or she doesn’t need the brand anymore. That’s why designer Christophe Lemaire’s exit from Hermès, announced yesterday and reported by Women’s Wear Daily, caught so many people off guard. (more…)

Louis Vuitton has always had one of the more comprehensive websites of the major handbag brands – it’s always had e-commerce, and even for pieces not sold online, prices and color options were generally available for shopper’ perusal – but it’s never been one of the more functional of fashion’s branded sites. Thanks to Nicolas Ghesquiere and his new vision for the brand, all that has changed. Please say the appropriate thank-yous to the deity of your choice. (more…)

It’s hard to successfully sue anyone for ripping off a clothing design in a US court, but Balenciaga is prepared to give it a shot. The French company alleges that American mass apparel brand Steve Madden has purposefully ripped off the most recognized portion of its super-successful Motorcycle Bag with the intent of confusing consumers, and it’s prepared to prove so in court, according to The Fashion Law.

Kering, which owns Balenciaga, is suing under “trade dress” laws, which are a subtype of trademark protection that doesn’t require a piece of design to contain a logo or clear branding in order to be protected. Instead, when a design itself is distinct enough to signal a brand identity to consumers, its creators are then eligible for protection from knockoffs. Balenciaga filed for trade dress protection for the front pocket portion of its Motorcycle Bags in 2007, and now the brand intends to use it.

As The Fashion Law points out, this isn’t the first time that Balenciaga has filed against Steve Madden; in 2009, Madden ripped off a pair of Balenciaga runway shoes and eventually paid an undisclosed sum to settle the lawsuit after two years of litigation. Madden later dismissed the lawsuit as “stupid,” but we have a feeling he might feel differently about this one – because of the long-filed registration and the ubiquity of Balenciaga’s Motorcycle design, it seems like the brand has a strong case.

We weren’t able to find any examples of the bags with which Balenciaga took specific issue, but it isn’t hard to imagine them. Lots of brands have bitten Balenciaga’s signature bag in the decade-plus that it’s been around, and changes in the brand’s management style over the last 18 months may mean that they’re looking to make an example of Madden for all others who might think that imitation is the sincerest form of flattery.

Any young fame-seeker worth his Twitter followers knows that if something works once, it’ll probably work again. With that in mind, erstwhile Birkin (“Birkin”) destroyer and photographer Tyler Shields is back and making more waves with his lofty, arty thoughts on consumerism via more photos of an Hermes (maybe) handbag in a compromising position. (more…)

We hadn’t heard that Coach had poached a Vice President from Louis Vuitton, but the news came to us yesterday by way of a The Fashion Law post detailing Louis Vuitton North America’s new lawsuit against the American leather goods stalwart and one of its newest executives, Joon Ma. Apparently there’s some bad blood between the handbag giants. (more…)

In case you needed to find a reason to justify an upcoming weekend shopping spree, I have some good news: buying something fancy will make you happy, and in the longterm, it may actually even be cheaper than therapy. (Ok, I made up that last part.) (But it might be! The math depends on what kind of insurance deductible you have. So, you know, take it up with the fine folks of Blue Cross.) (more…)

Handbags occupy a unique place in fashion; they sit at the crossroads of art and commerce, and if brands want to succeed, their livelihoods often bends on how good they are at getting consumers to buy their bags, which have a much wider potential market than designer clothing. As it turns out, one of the best ways for designers to manipulate a customer into doing just that is to snub them in stores, according to some forthcoming consumer research from the University of British Columbia. Maybe that’s why service is so rude. (more…)

Fashion is an industry of rarity, but the news late last week from Mulberry may be the rarest thing we’ve seen in recent memory. On the heels of former CEO Bruno Guillon’s exit, the company has announced it will return to a price structure similar to the one it used before he took the helm of the brand two years ago. In real-world terms, that means one very important thing to bag lovers: Mulberry’s bags are about to become significantly less expensive. (more…)

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