Top Designers Emphasize New Shoes, Handbags in Fall ’12 Collections

Designers from Rodarte to Rachel Roy are nixing collaborations in order to bring the profitable business of accessories in-house for fall.

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This fashion week, we can't help but take notice of how many young labels have added shoes or handbags to their fall offerings, nixing collaborations with other brands in order to bring a highly-profitable category -- accessories -- in-house. Rachel Roy proudly unveiled these chic suede heels at her Fall '12 presentation.
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The Mulleavy sisters have collaborated with the best shoe designers in the business, from Nicholas Kirkwood to Louboutin (remember the sharp studded stilettos?). But the ladies are offering their own signature shoes for fall, complete with Plexiglass heels filled with sand.
Courtesy of No.21
Alessandro Dell Acqua previewed a new shoe collection for his cheeky diffusion collection, No. 21, in the line's pre-fall look book. Here, a classic pump shape finished with a sparkly embellishment.
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Next week, Roland Mouret plans to unveil his first-ever shoe collection at Paris Fashion Week. As the designer told WWD, the shoes will "have a masculine feel, a daytime attitude, and are not too precious."
Courtesy of Brian Atwood
It was just a matter of time before shoe designer Brian Atwood added handbags to his repertoire, and his new collection of clean, geometric handbags and clutches perfectly compliment the brand's modern heels and platforms.
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Rag & Bone has established itself as a force to be reckoned with in the contemporary footwear market, but has struggled to find a similar niche with handbags (unlike its price-point cousins, Alexander Wang or 3.1 Phillip Lim, who have had major success with bags). For fall, the brand introduced a range of smart leather satchels based on military "helmet bags."
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Super-luxe leather and reptile-embossed handbags were introduced on J.Mendel's fall catwalk. We especially liked an oversized "doctor bag" edition.
Ashley and Mary Kate Olsen launched their line of ultra-luxurious (and crazy expensive) handbags for The Row last year, but have announced plans to roll out an affordable line of leather bags in the fall for their younger franchise, Elizabeth and James.
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J.Crew may have gone in the opposite direction for fall -- collaborating with pump master Manolo Blahnik on a line of colorful heels -- but the move emphasized the power of shoes in a brand's arsenal.
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