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Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Designer Insider: At the Studio of Kooba's Abbe Held


I was invited to visit the design studio and showroom of Kooba and designer Abbe Held to take a peek at this season’s hottest handbags:

The design room walls were draped in colors upon textures of leather swatches. Lauren, a member of the design team was applying antiqued studs by hand to a leather piece at her desk. Photos were not allowed as the concepts being worked on in this room were in the very early stages for next season, and many of the staff had not even been allowed in the design studio yet! While some of the staff apologized for the messy state of the room, it actually had a gloriously creative, busy quality. (It was also much neater than my design studio).


I was led into the showroom upstairs. The collections of bags were artfully arranged in a well-lit room to show off their textures at their best angle. Abbe Held, the design director of Kooba entered the showroom looking refreshed, if a bit camera-shy.

The fall collection showed studded styles in rich, deep hues of forest green and eggplant. Abbe’s personal favorite of this delivery was the Alex Bag in Eggplant. For holiday, she liked the bags in brighter colors of red.

My personal favorite out of this group were the Jagger pieces. Well placed zippers allowed the bags to open up into different silhouettes in unexpected ways, and adding practical additional volume to boot.

The Kooba startup legend describes the relationship Abbe and her mother Bonnie. The two of them founded the company together. She warmly describes her mother as muse, partner and “best friend”. What most people don’t know is that her eight year old daughter is also starting to inject her creative input, but she is Mom’s biggest fan.

What is ahead for spring 2010? The Kooba team is working with neutrals, ruffle details and fabric treatments for when the weather thaws out.

Thanks for inviting Ms. FABulous to visit Abbe!


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