Want to see what the Etienne Aigner label is up to these days?
Founded in 1949, the company was known for structured bags of the finest leather and natural linen. Tiny by today's 'pack your life in it' bags, they became the cornerstone of an empire. The Hungarian-born Aigner learned his craft from fashion masters Christian Dior and Christobal Balenciaga. Like Gucci, there's a refined equestrian feel to the hardware of the early bags, and you can easily see how the small scale could balance out the ballooning skirts of the New Look of the 50's. When the American market opened up in the jet-setting 60s, Aigner was the go-to designer of quality leather goods.
Jump forward about a gazillon years and we find the Etienne Aigner brand ready for a massive re-examination. The bags have been modernized without losing an ounce of the classic charm that made the label iconic. Small details mean a lot with this company. Creative DirectorDaniela Anastasio Bardazzi has a keen eye for comfort, right down to making sure that every bag's exposed edge is folded over for a smoother look. A gorgeous little square bag had an ingenious cell phone pocket right on top, a boon to people like me. I like to toss my phone into my bag and then have to spend valuable time digging for the elusive little gadget. I'd gladly fork over $400 to anyone who could save me the trouble.
Complementing the company's accessory tradition is a new line of luxe separates. Etienne Aigner's RTW Apparel Consultant is Tawfik Mounayer, who worked with Bardazzi at Isaac Mizrahi, has created a line of clothing that works well with the shoes and bags, and takes vary little effort to wear. You can do soft/hard edgy by pairing a perforated leather racerback top in black or putty with airy marble printed silk drawstring pants. A sporty track suit style top is embellished with the softest suede and goes perfectly with a waxed leather a line skirt or a tailored short. Mr. Mounayer understands that today's woman hasn't got time to worry about her look. He offers his customer a pleat waist dress with flowing handkerchief hem that floats around her ankles to wear to the office or out dancing.
The new Etienne Aigner is in tune with the dominant trends, but tweaks them for a new softness. There are no spikes on the sensual suede loafers. The leather cuffs have a world traveler flavor with their tusk closures, and there are pretty bangles to ladder up your arms. There's nothing jarring or loud, nothing that screams 'label!'.This is luxury; an alluring softness that invites you to touch, and they're investment pieces as well. Etienne Aigner whispers alluringly of wealth, femininity, and romance. Kind of like what Grace Kelly would wear if she woke up in 2013, or like YOU if you felt like channeling that ladylike spirit.