Being Anthony Luciano

tom_kolovos_wordpressnewAristotle famously declared that “man without a city is either beast or god,”  by which he meant that communal participation is the defining characteristic of being human.

So when Anthony Luciano, the New York based accessories designer whose newest collection of lux handbags is flying off the shelves at Neiman Marcus, responds aphoristically in an email that “I’m not participating in the recession,” you have to  wonder if he is some glib beast whose head is stuck in the economic sand or, quite possibly, the incarnate deity that  every retailer could use  at the moment.

Anthony Luciano

Anthony Luciano

“I can only expand,”  he wrote in another email exchange, ” by saying I believe that even in tough economic times people are still drawn to beautiful and unique things which is what I do best. I have, of course, put more price conscious items into the line to attract a more discerning client but I will always do special custom made lux accessories.”


Eureka. Who needs any more bedazler logo crazed “status” bags? Who ever needed those in the first place?  In his current collection, Mr Luciano’s uses soft waxed and hand painted python to remarkable effect, producing, for instance, weightless hobo carryalls with over exaggerated leather tassels and irresistibly soft clutches with feminine floral touches. The waxing and painting produces solid colored  surfaces that remind one of licorice or liquid, even. Colored python skins have a subtlety akin to watercolors.

Even in July of last year someone had the good sense to point  out to Women’s Wear Daily that “if you want people to part with their money, they have to feel like they are getting something for it.” One wishes more retailers and designers shared WWD’s and Mr. Luciano’s insight. People don’t want basics in a down economy. They already have plenty of those. And they’ve already had it with  items whose prices bear no relation to craftsmanship.

9-117 Purple Python
Even  if you’ve only recently started pinching your pennies, giving you something for your money is not a new concept for Mr. Luciano. Inside each of his handbags you’ll find he has sewn in a penny, his trademark since he started his company in 2000. “It’s an Italian tradition. When you give a handbag or wallet as a gift you should put money in it first for good luck.”

WHERE: Neiman Marcus Michigan Ave on Thursday October 8th and Friday October 9th
WHAT:  Meet Anthony Luciano and  watch him construct pieces by hand on the selling floor. Take the opportunity to collaborate with the designer and choose from a variety of hand picked frames from his vast collection to create a custom bag.  Anthony will help you choose the perfect leather and sketch a design and make your unique piece.

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