Tuesday, December 08, 2009

First Raleigh, now Ocracoke: Kate Spade honors N.C. with handbags

A couple of years ago, our sister blog reported that high-fashion handbag maker Kate Spade had honored Raleigh, the state capital, with a line of inspired handbags.

"The capital of North Carolina, Raleigh is a city known for its warmth and vitality, said Kate Spade's website at the time. "What's less known is that it was a center for modernist architecture from the late '40s through the '60s. Crafted from haircalf and woven into our custom pattern, the Raleigh group is a bit of textured luxury.

So what's left to remember of that period in Raleigh, other than the bags? The best-known structure is probably Dorton Arena, designed by Matthew Nowicki. But there are also a slew of homes in Raleigh, including the Kamphoefner House designed by Henry Kamphoefner at 3060 Granville Drive and the Matsumoto House designed by George Matsumoto at 821 Runnymede Road.

The bags, similarly, have the clean lines of the midcentury modernist movement. But they don't come cheap. The least expensive of the three, at $695, is the Raleigh Suede Small, a woven soft pony and suede bag trimmed with calfskin patent leather in charcoal gray or chocolate brown.

Now, the designer has gone a few hours east of Raleigh for more inspiration. Ocracoke Island has a couple of bags in its honor. [Lowercase type-face is straight from the KS website.]

"part of north carolina's outer banks, okracoke island is reached only by ferry, which only adds to the island's quiet splendor. in 100% cotton canvas coated with a shimmery finish and leather handles and trim, our stevie satchel is resort-ready. a zip-top closure and tie detailing make it a lovely mix of femininity and practically. simply slip in your essentials for a day at the office (or choose to play hooky and head for the shore)."