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Mary Norton on Melrose Place just received its pre-fall collection, so we hustled over to check it out. With calves hair and metallic drop leather pumps, zebra print clutches and Karung purses, it's easy to call this collection exotic luxury.
Norton got her accidental start when one stressful evening she fell asleep and dreamt she was fashioning handbags out of feathers. As a result, she started hand-making purses as a form of release. One afternoon a visiting a friend asked if she could sell them in her beauty salon. They sold out in 45 minutes. Before she knew it, Norton was getting orders by the hundreds and attending trade shows, learning as she went.
Now, Norton produces her collections in Italy with top craftsmen. She thinks consumers are experiencing a shift of consciousness and want to know ‘the story of their product and its origin.” Nothing in her collection is mass-produced and many pieces are one of a kind, so you won’t see yourself coming and going.
The collection maintains Norton’s style but also speaks a stronger statement as to what the brand is shaping into. Norton realized her handbags were being identified by their elaborate tassels and decided to incorporate then onto more of her pieces. Now, they come in gold, pearl, even leather.
Our favorite stand-out piece would have to be the patent python print handbag with genius hardware: on one side it's rhinestone encrusted for evening and the other side is matte metallic for day, but with discrepancy subtle enough to maintain the consistency of the design.
Shopkeepers also gave Racked the heads up that for spring ’09 Norton will be getting more serious about heel heights and bringing them up to 100-110 mm. But we’re getting ahead of ourselves. pre-fall is now, fall collection comes in August.
· Mary Norton [marynorton.com]