Men’s Buzz: Harrys Ups Accessories Line… Chie Mihara Takes on Men…

Open Season
Spanish footwear designer Chie Mihara, known for her women’s collection, is now putting her stamp on the men’s market. After testing three styles in spring ’08, an expanded 10-pattern collection will be available for spring ’09 via the designer’s Website, Chiemihara.com, her new Tokyo boutique and at wholesale. Mihara said she took inspiration from the women’s market in creating the series of open-toe shoes for men, which include a lace-up snake gladiator with cutouts at the toe and heel and a sandalized oxford (at left) detailed with an ostrich toe band. Produced in Spain, the $350-to-$370 shoes are made of leather, suede, snake and ostrich.

In the Groove
Cypress, Calif.-based Vybe Inc., producers of juniors’ brand Groove, is launching a companion men’s line this spring under the GRV label. According to the company, the collection, which includes laidback looks inspired by the Southern California lifestyle, is designed to appeal to the boyfriends of Groove’s female fans. Included in the mix are leather flip-flops, boat shoes and athleisure styles. Set to launch in January at independents, chains and department stores, GRV will retail for $29 for sandals and from $70 to $100 for athletics.

Extra Billing
Harrys of London is stepping into the accessories market this fall with the debut of a collection of small leather goods. The offering includes a belt, portfolio/notebook, passport holder and wallet, available in Italian calfskin, patent leather and alligator. The introductory collection will launch exclusively at the company’s recently opened London flagship and on its Website, Harrysoflondon.com, followed by a wider rollout to wholesale accounts in fall ’09. Retail prices range from $140 for a passport holder to $2,270 for an alligator belt.

Sartorial Elegance
Men’s Italian fine clothing brand Isaia is adding a companion footwear offering this spring. Produced by Italian manufacturer Branchini, the collection features 21 styles in vegetable-dyed leather, including a derby made of a single piece of leather and featuring hand-stitching at the heel and lace area; a monk-strap with pointelle detailing at the toe; leather and suede wingtip brogues; and a split-toe loafer and laceup in tumbled calf. Retail prices will range from $795 to $995. The collection, set to arrive in better department and specialty stores in February, will be distributed through New York-based Isaia.

Matched Set
Dr. Martens, a division of Portland, Ore.-based Airwair USA, is making a move into the accessories market with a new line of belts, wallets and bags for men and women. Licensed to Arlington, Texas-based Tandy Brands, the accessories will adopt familiar design elements from the footwear, including vintage leathers, iconic stitching details and unique logo treatments. Set for a March delivery, the belts will retail from $35 to $50; the wallets from $25 to $40; and the bags from $50 to $200. Distribution will mirror that of the footwear line.

Earth Day
G.H. Bass
is looking to reduce its impact. The brand, a division of Port Washington, N.Y.-based Harbor Footwear Group, is set to unveil its new Earth collection, featuring men’s and women’s styles that use eco-friendly leathers produced in energy-efficient tanneries and assembled with water-based cements. In addition, components feature post-industrial waste materials such as outsoles made of used tires and reconstituted insole boards. Even the packaging is made of recycled materials and printed with soy-based inks. Included in the spring ’09 mix are sandals, casuals and sneakers (at left), retailing from $59 to $75 for men’s styles and from $49 to $65 for women’s. Slated to deliver in January, the Earth collection is targeted to independents, catalogs and department stores.

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