Abbe Held, co-founder of Kooba was at Neiman Marcus on Michigan Avenue in Chicago on October 15th, and I had the opportunity to meet her and find out more about the brand. She was so warm and open that we became fast friends discussing something we both love – handbags! The story behind the bags is that her mother and she simply could not find exactly what they wanted in handbags, so they decided to make them themselves. They knew what they wanted, so with her mother's maiden name "Kooba" and Abbe's fashion background they started the brand 11 years ago.
My eye was immediately drawn to a simple black leather bag (Daphne) with a large tie, which I liked because it does not have a lot of hardware. She showed me a smaller suede version (Toni) in luscious berry suede. "See, you can remove the handle and it is a nice clutch," she told me. Now I was loving the smaller version of this bag, too! Decisions, decisions! I was hard pressed to choose only one of these bags that I liked.
I asked Abbe what is new for fall. "We are doing a lot of these bucket bags with a large drop. This olive green one is one of my favorites (Bryce) and lately I have been carrying it around all the time," she told me.
I noticed that the shapes all seemed to fit on a woman well, are light weight, easy to carry and easy to get into, which is so important. No one wants to be rummaging and unable to find something in her handbag! Kooba handbags are both functional and fashionable.
This fall Kooba offers a wide variety of textures. There are snake embossed leathers, one in a beautiful mauve color (Winona, pictured upper right), rich suedes, printed animal print fabrics and some shiny quilted nylon totes! There are a lot of sizes and styles to choose from, and the detail is always subtle, never over the top, so you can keep Kooba bags for may years. Abbe told me the Kooba design team is constantly innovating, looking at vintage hardware, studying furniture and are in touch with what women want in a handbag. Based on what I saw, I'd say the result of their work, under Abbe's creative direction is quite a success.
— Carol Calacci
Photos: Second City Style