Accessories designer Eugenia Kim—best known for her iconic hat designs—has a lot on the horizon these days. Her most recent project? An expansion into handbags for the Spring/Summer 2017 season, with totally beach-approved styles in a classic summer material: straw. We caught up with Kim on her new range, being in the biz for almost 20 years, and what she has planned next.
Eugenia, why did you choose to expand into handbags?
After the launch our shoe collection, bags seemed like a natural progression. As the leader of straw hats, with it being our largest category for Spring/Summer, straw bags felt like a logical next step. I wanted to create fun bags that were niche and specific to the brand.
Tell us about the inspiration for the first collection.
The inspiration for Spring/Summer is Cuba, past and present, so straw bags felt meaningful within that theme. The Flavia hat-shaped bag is inspired in part by my ongoing obsession with surrealism. Like Magritte’s “Ceci n’est pas une pipe” (This is not a pipe), the Flavia, though shaped like a hat, is not a hat.
Will you debut seasonal collections?
Due to the success of the handbag capsule collection, we added felt hat-shaped bags for FW17, and, for SS18 we have increased styles for a full range of handbags.
What must you always carry with you?
I’m a minimalist in terms of what I carry in my bags: my salmon pink Céline wallet, iPhone, keys, and Nars Annabella red lipstick.
Where will the bags be sold?
Net-A-Porter and Shopbop amongst many other major department stores and boutiques.
You’ve been in the business for almost 20 years. What’s it like looking back?
I’ve started looking back through the archives, which at the beginning consisted of Polaroids, and it’s crazy to look at the kind of things I did back then—feathered mohawks, haircut hats, oversized cowboy hats—that were so specific but special, and how I have become the hat designer that now dresses the heads of such a wide range of women. Also, how I’ve grown as an accessories brand with bags, shoes, and scarves.
What else are you working on?
This past week, I finished designing the SS18 shoes and SS18 handbags. The shoes are fun, colorful, individual, and the most “Eugenia Kim” collection to-date. For the bags, I’ve designed new shapes in a bunch of fun colors. I’m going to be working on the SS18 Hats next week.
Do you see yourself expanding into more categories?
Absolutely! The current strategy for growth for my company is to expand beyond hats in an organic way. The goal is a culmination of the Eugenia Kim brand and energy, a specific type of fun minimalism that seems suited for many other categories.