Thursday, June 16, 2011


June 15th, 2011 Time & Life Building, Sixth Ave. NYC

Presented by InStyle &  HANDBAG DESIGNER 101


Words/Images Judith Ecochard

Our reviews of Dooney & Bourke 3x a year (or so) collections are so popular that we had to attend the festivities last night that honored the MAN of that company ---founded in 1975 and really---now--- an iconic American brand.

Classic American style never goes out of style, and it's no wonder that the 15+ years of employ by employees was the norm for that company..."an amazing loyal collaborative partnership..."between them, retailers and customers---all feeding into the creation of bags, season after season ---that are collected by many.

The immensely talented nominees of Handbag Designer Awards were all winners.

On Air Talent-Style Expert Pamela Pekerman (r) 

Well dressed Feet

FYI: 1200 hundred submissions this year---narrowed down to thirty--- in several categories.
Green nominee

Swarovski Elements nominess

We cannot imagine how tough it must have been for the distinguished panel of judges to pick the winners---including the panel member,  rightfully popular, and recently awarded himself--- by the CFDA-Hal Rubenstein...of InStyle Magazine.
Hal Rubenstein (r)

Michael Fink-Savannah College of Art & Design/Dean of the School of Fashion 


We started our night during the cocktail hour on the 8th floor of the Time & Life Building on Sixth Avenue---where we got some pics of attendees...accessories...

---practically inhaling 2 bottles of sponsor VitaminWater that were delish (zero calories too)...

And had a glass of the refreshing bubbly (aged in stainless steel so lacking the yeast of Champage-more of a clean palette)--- from the fun Italian wine company VOGA Italia---also a sponsor.

Many of the D & B team were on hand to celebrate...

Many of the handbags/satchels from collections past and present---were highlighted.
We think this vintage D & B is ready for a comeback

Iconic Giraffe Print

The displays of the nominee bags were constantly mobbed---we got in some clear shots...and also took images from the slide show...



The ceremony itself was really well paced---bravo to the production team directed by Melissa Hall.

Hosted by the talented, down to earth---- and very glam Emily Blumenthal who created these awards as well as Handbag Designer 101...we think she matched well with the also very glam Swarovski Crystal opulently encrusted podium...

The program began with some intro remarks by Ariel Foxman, Managing Editor of InStyle---including his take on his own outfit vs that podium...and how his mag's readers are all about the three "H's"-Hollywood, Hair and Handbags...

Green Award nominees

Handmade Nominess

Fab Handmade

The partnership with Handbag 101 was "a no brainer."

There was a lovefest video about his reads' influence---deserved too---featuring a who's who in the industry from retailers and designers (and with over 10 million pairs of eyeballs on a monthly basis---who wouldn't go all swoony on those numbers).

Emily Blumenthal herself remarked on the international and national diversity of participants including the eventual two award winner gal from Brazil, the 69 years young Neide Ambrosio M. Souza who confided "...this is my last chance to make long as my girls who make my bags are taken care of, that's all that matters to me." Via a translator, fyi.

Martins de Souza (L) all bags Pretinha Artes Loacres

Some winners:

Red Carpet Ready Evening Bag: Clara Kasavina & Misha Berger USA---Clara Kasavina---in biz for 30 years!

Best Student Made Handbag Inspired By The Colors of VitaminWater: Kaitlyn Doherty USA

Best Handmade Handbag: Olivia Yoo Kyung Sohn: OLIVIA Y. SOHN, South Korea-sponsor Singer Sewing Company and Nora Abousteit, founder of BurdaStyle

Best Green Handbag: Belinda Pasqua: The Sway, Australia--aponsored by Timberland where "environmental, sustainability is the heart ans soul of our make green things beautiful."

Most Socially Responsible Handbag: Neide Ambrosio Martins de Souza: Pretinha Artes Lacres, Brazil -sponsored by Sebastian Professional

Best Use of Swarovski Elements: Lorna Nixon, Lorna Nixon, UK-sponsored by Swarovski Elements who really sponsor so many emerging designers, fashion events, non-profits etc...deserved their own sparkling award.

Artisan House Award by Isabella Fiore: Shavani Suhag, AVOCADOE, India: presented by Steve Russo, Founder & CEO of Artisan House that owns Isabella Fiore & Carlos Falchi---that "provides a true platform for designers to make something of their talents."

Iconoclast Award Recipient Peter Dooney-accepted by SVP of Sales, Dooney & Bourke Bob Goodwyn-who intro-ed the non-narrated video that wonderfully detailed the hands on craftsmanship of the brand, with segments on several handbags from start -to-finished product...

And added his own observations, referencing the founder's total involvement in his brand, his clear vision of what he wanted his handbags to look like... a West Point military bag as a design influence...and the unique materials used including a patented water repellant leather.

Best Handbag in Overall Style & Design: Fabiola Pedrazzini: FABIOLA PEDRAZINI, Italy---who accepted after the very funny accessories maestro Carlos Falchi joked about the competition on display here..and how his digitally printed pants faded behind the podium.

AUDIENCE FAN FAVORITE: with over 122,116 votes on (about a third of the votes fyi)---the charming Neide Ambrosio Martins de Souza

WE LOVED: Winners got internships, capsule collections, sewing machines, future September issue profiles in Instyle...etc. Impressive how the industry was so generous.

CODA: we heard it all night in various forms...words of wisdom..."Be true to yourself."