NEW YORK, United States — On Tuesday night, the dusty pink room at the Swiss Institute on Wooster Street, a popular New York Fashion Week presentation venue, recalled the inside of a rosa-lined Mansur Gavriel handbag. There, New York-based accessory designers Rachel Mansur and Floriana Gavriel hosted their first proper New York Fashion Week presentation, featuring a host of new styles and products. “We’ve never had the opportunity to express the brand visually because we sell out of the bags so quickly,” said Mansur, minutes before the doors opened. “We don’t have a store, we just have Instagram. So we really wanted an opportunity to physically visualise it.”
The big news of the evening was that the designers — best known for their mania-generating, contrast-color bucket bag, first launched in 2013 — are introducing shoes for Spring 2016. The entire range of suede mules, slides and sandals — available in five heel heights, four silhouettes and 16 colour combinations, from cobalt blue suede to vegetable-tanned leather — were displayed on department store-inspired shelving.
“We wanted to be able to present the variety of colour and product that we have, so we came up with this concept where everything could look clean and stand out,” Gavriel explained. Shoes were a natural extension for Mansur and Gavriel, the winners of the CFDA’s 2015 Swarovski Award for Accessories Design, who spent several seasons developing the styles in their typically measured way of working. (The duo famously spent two years refining their first two handbags — a tote and a bucket — before bringing them to market).
While footwear was the big news last night, the label introduced new bag styles as well, including a structured circle bag, a voluminous top-closing clutch and a flat clutch. Rendered in colours like minty green and navy, or covered in vintage Alexander Girard fabrics sourced from textile company Maharam, this was the stuff of which long-waiting fans’ dreams are made.
Gavriel and Mansur also designed the retro shift dresses worn by the models. But don’t expect a full ready-to-wear collection just yet — or a retail store for that matter. “In the future,” Mansur suggested on a move into clothing. While sales have increased 350 percent over the past year, the designers still believe in proceeding with caution.