New York–Rafe fans can breathe a sigh of relief. After a brief hiatus, the beloved handbag line is back on the scene, now as part of the growing Jones Group family of brands.
Designer Rafe Totengco didn’t have much of a hiatus, however. Last season, the designer was tapped as the creative director of Nine West handbags, a brand also owned by Jones. He will be working on his own line as well as Nine West going forward.
“It’s been a very busy time for me but it’s great to be able to bring my Rafe label back,” says Totengco. “We’re targeting the same types of stores as before and keeping the same aesthetic and pricepoints (retails range from $195 to $495 for handbags and totes, including wood and mother-of-pearl minaudieres with silk tassels). “Retailers have been asking for the brand and it’s great to be back!”
The Spring 2012 line took Totengco to his Filipino roots, featuring leather and canvas bags mixed with traditional woven fabrics and ikat prints.
“Ethnic and tribal is such a strong trend for spring and it’s being interpreted via many different cultures, so I figured, why not go back to my roots,” says Totengco, pointing out some photos of the Philippines taken on his recent trip to his native homeland.
Materials include an abaca fabric from the Philippines called Tinalak, which is painstakingly woven by hand by the Tiboli tribe.
And Rafe, if you’re reading this, we’re patiently waiting for the return of your footwear line!
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