Sneak Peek: Carmen Steffens Fall 2010
In their home of Saõ Paulo, Brazil, Carmen Steffens is the name to look for when it comes to luxury leather. On August 12, Carmen Steffens will debut their Fall 2010 collection, which boasts a mix of handbags and leather boots, heels, and flats. Founded in 1993, this is Carmen Steffens third year in the U.S. and they're eager to showcase their newest fashions to the American market. “We’ve learned what the customer wants, not only in Brazil, but in the world, said President of the U.S. territory, Mark Willingham. “This collection is a true reflection of American and western European tastes.”
The lookbook, which isn't released to the public until next week, features an array of pieces. Known for their sexy aesthetic, Willingham says the latest collection by Carmen Steffens is “hot, but not over the top.” Hot and over-the-top might be words used to describe the brand, which has no fear when it comes to accessorizing with fur, hardware and mixed uses of metallics. The Brazilian brand carves a niche in the luxury market by opting for unique, one-of-a-kind pieces, over simple staples that other retailers might be known for. “Our customer is a woman that doesn’t blend into the woodwork,” said Willingham. “If you don’t want someone asking you where you got that handbag or those shoes, don’t buy Carmen Steffens.”
The Fall 2010 collection includes basic black hobo bags with chunky gold hardware, sleek metallic clutches, bejeweled closures and brown and black furs. The shoes range from strappy tan wedges to evening pumps in a muted pink. Since it is autumn, the line also boasts lots of boots, in shades of black, tan and chocolate and in a variety of styles. From understated to statement-making, there's a bag or shoe for practically every gal.
Worn by the likes of Mariah Carey and Eva Longoria, women known for their spicy exotic looks, it's no surprise they jump at the chance to grab a metallic clutch or pop on a thigh-high boot by the brand. Although Carmen Steffens is still building their American presence, their reception in Brazil has always been news-worthy. Their shows and parties are covered by Brazil's Vogue and ELLE magazines and Willingham said, “In Brazil, anyone that is anyone is wearing our product.” However, the fact they're growing may work to their advantage. Their customers, Willingham said, enjoy the fact that they're discovering something. They want to know that what they're wearing is unique.
Unique is right. Unlike other retailers that stock inventory of product, Carmen Steffens makes everything to order. Everything. If a Paris store wants four bags, they get four bags. The exclusivity of their designs is a major draw to luxury shoppers, who would hate to bump into someone wearing their same design on the street. The tight distribution combined with the high price point, makes an investment in Carmen Steffens a guarantee that you're wearing a piece that most of the world has not seen.
Right now, Carmen Steffens has 167 stores in 13 countries around the world, including Brazil, Spain, France, Australia, South Africa, Canada and the U.S. with their flagship in Los Angeles. Although Los Angeles is their only American store, they have plans for openings in two U.S. cities, New York City and Miami, in the next six months.
On August 12, the line will launch online and in stores and the U.S. web site will feature an online fashion show, highlighting select styles from the collection on models.