Will the likes if SpongeBob Squarepants and Hello Kitty start retailing for thousands of dollars? It could be. The New York Post confirmed this morning that luxe handbag designer Carlos Falchi has teamed up with New York accessories mogul Steve Russo in a multi-million dollar design partnership. Russo has made his mint from selling backpacks, kid's purses and other back to school supplies emblazoned with cartoons like the Muppets and SpongeBob. Falchi has built his own legend status back in the 70s by outfitting the likes of Mick Jagger with flashy patchwork patterns and exotic skins and currently has a following that includes Eva Longoria Parker and Sienna Miller. So what will this unlikely duo do?
The Post reports that Falchi and Russo have inked a five year accessories deal that will guarantee the Falchi label owners at least $120 million in sales. That's a lot of Hello Kitty! But according to Russo, the new enterprise will be completely separate from his other kid-friendly line. Russo has reportedly been planning a New York-based luxury circuit for some time, and has even tapped Mickey Ateyeh, formerly of Hermes, to serve as president of the new company. The company, which Russo is calling, Artisan House, has reportedly already set its sights on another luxury label to purchase—the famously jeweled handbag line, Judith Leiber. Although Russo did deny this claim to The Post, he did say he was quietly shopping for strong American accessory labels. "There's a lot to be said for home-grown, American brands — especially if the designer is still in the business," Russo said.
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And despite his penchant for playful designs in his own company that's made him millions, Russo assured the luxury-loving public that never the twain shall meet, adding Artisan House will have "very little in common" with his overseas manufacturing plants that produce his kid-centric line. "(T)hese are totally different businesses when it comes to design, production and distribution," he said. For now, Russo will be dedicating all his efforts to expanding the Falchi label in their New York Garment District digs. But he did make sure to mention that Artisan House may use Russo's sourcing offices in Hong Kong and Shanghai as it expands into somewhat lower priced lines for retailers like Bloomingdale's and Lord & Taylor next year.
Article and Photo Source: The New York Post