designer q+a | slideshow | Oliveve handbags | spring 2011

words_dena rochelle

I’ve been thinking about these beautiful bags every since I got my hands on them at the Steven Alan LA showroom a couple of weeks ago. The cool shapes lured me downtown to see them in person and the buttery soft leather had me at hello. I tried on every style they had on display and was in complete awe over how lovely and light they are. These bags are incredibly comfortable and a much-needed change for a girl who is starting to feel the physical effects of having an oversized luxe handbag obsession. The way I see it, I have two choices: weekly massages to work out the kinks or acquire some Oliveve bags… or maybe a little bit of both…

The NY-based label, launched for Fall 2010, is the vision of Lynn Rosetti and Kristi Zoldi. The design duo—BFFs + fashion industry veterans—drew on over 20 years of experience in sales + merchandising for labels including Anna Sui, Botkier, Foley & Corinna, Stephen Sprouse, Jill Stuart, Loeffler Randall, and Steven Alan. Bucking the trend for flashy hardware and embellishments, Oliveve is all about the gorgeous leather and mostly unstructured silhouettes. In their words, “the tightly edited collection has the sumptuous ease of your favorite slouchy, worn-in tee shirt.”

These are the lightest, most comfortable silhouettes I’ve seen in a long time—while maintaining amazing pricepoints (all under $500) and superb quality. I was instantly smitten with the smaller totes: Clementine and Holly [see lookbook slideshow after the interview]. But as an avid fan of larger bags, I’m in L-O-V-E with the Flynn tote [shown above in Sky blue], which is actually a great midsize satchel.

You’d think that with access to all of these beautiful handbags, the designers would be switching all the time. But these ladies have their faves. Kristi doesn’t put her black Flynn down and Lynn is all about the black lamb Izzy. Without further ado, here’s what Lynn and Kristi have to say about their fabulous line:

D~ What inspired you to create a handbag line?

L+K~ “We were looking for SOFT bags that were not loaded with studs, zippers and chains! We wanted to create bags that looked cool without trying too hard. We also wanted to work together again. We have merchandised so many collections for other designers over the years and we thought it was time to create something ourselves.”

D~ Which styles and colors are you most excited about for spring 11?

L+K~ “We love our small bags like the Dottie convertible cross body/mini backpack [above left] and the Holly drawstring [see slideshow below]. Our simple clutch, Penny is sort of wonderful too… just small, soft and easy.  The embossed snake-print on lamb is just gorgeous leather. Has a bit of shine and has our favorite colors—black, gray and white!”

D~ What’s in your bags?

L~ “BlackBerry, iPhone, Sirius stiletto radio, wallet, four lip glosses, giant safety pin key chain, and lots of cough drops.

K~ “What do I NOT have! Necessities: BlackBerry, Burt’s Bees medicated lip balm, wallet, car keys, cheesy romance novel, and band aids/Neosporin in case one of my kids gets hurt.”

D~ What are you working on and/or most looking forward to from the upcoming fall 11 line?

L+K “We are really into some new ‘distressed’ leathers from Italy.  We are still focusing on lamb… it is just the softest thing. Some amazing animal prints too… the collection will be a bit grittier for fall. There is a new tote sample that we just finished that we are both in love with… So big and so light!”

Oliveve is available at select specialty stores including By GeorgeHarvey Nichols Hong KongSteven Alan, and Bloomingdales, and is represented by The Steven Alan Showroom. Follow them on Twitter @Oliveve to be notified when these beauties are available for purchase. And enjoy this slideshow of some Oliveve Spring 2011 lookbook shots:

[slideshow id=OliveveHandbagsSpring11lookbook w=385 h=542]

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