Kokomo Tribune; Kokomo, Indiana

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May 11, 2014

Fashion: Ferragamo launches signature Fiamma bag

MILAN (AP) — Perhaps the "It" bag's star just burned too bright. Those must-have handbag wonders, which flew out of stores and into sudden oblivion, have given way to something more enduring: signature bags.

These are bags so exclusive and enduring, that they become emblematic of the label they bear.

Iconic bags have been around since the fusion of celebrity with fashion -- Hermes has the Birkin, Fendi the baguette, Gucci the Hobo bag, and so on -- but now they are becoming a cornerstone of brand strategy, acting as a flagship item.

Ferragamo has launched its own entry into the category this week, the Fiamma named for founder Salvatore Ferragamo's late daughter who was the force behind Ferragamo's first handbag collection back in the 1970s. Designed by Massimiliano Giornetti, the satchel-styled bag takes elements from a 1990s Fiamma Ferragamo design, included a top handle and a locked flap that is meant to be both functional and aesthetically appealing.

"Handbags are something of a collector items, something you can pass down from generation to generation, so it really has value. It is something that also represents a brand," James Ferragamo, grandson of Ferragamo and the brand's director of women's leather goods, said by telephone Tuesday, ahead of a gala dinner launching the new bag. "We want to maintain this in our collection for many years to come."

The Fiamma comes in three sizes, from a tiny one appropriate for the evening to a larger carry-all, and has many iterations, from leather, python, crocodile, stingray, calf and fox. The price ranges from $1,650 to $27,000.

Ultimately, the costumer will decide what bag becomes iconic.

"I think people want something that endures," said Alison Minton, a fashion blogger and handbag enthusiast who chronicles her passion for accessories on her blog accessorygeneration.com. "I think people don't want to buy a new bag every season, but want a bag that is stylish, and well-made and is going to last."

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