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Isabella Fiore Spring/Summer 2010 Collection — Finding Inspiration In Mosaics And Tattoos


There’s an anecdote that captures my love of Isabella Fiore handbags perfectly. When I was fresh out of college and paying my proverbial dues as an Editorial Assistant at a major fashion magazine, I became obsessed with Isabella Fiore’s handbags. We had just featured a Bohemian-flavored, intricately embroidered shoulder bag in the magazine, and I was smitten with it. I’d go “visit” it in the fashion closet and stare at it as if it were a puppy in a window and I an eager 5-year-old.  Of course, at the time, I could barely afford lunch at the overpriced building cafeteria, much less a designer purse. So I took to eBay, hoping I could eventually score a deal on a gently used Isabella Fiore bag. I was relentlessly driven in my quest, scouring through auctions day and night. And then, after months of searching, I spotted a gently used Fiore handbag that practically screamed my name: it was a chestnut brown leather shoulder bag with handy pouch pockets on either side and a stunning butterfly embroidered along the front, with the thread’s strings extending across the butterfly’s wings. I became obsessed with winning the bag. It had a butterfly design, for goodness’ sake! It was destiny! And so, after a battle to the death with several different bidders (we’re talking the type of strategic bidding that feels like a chess tournament match), I won my coveted bag.

Three years and a child later, I was still proudly carrying my Fiore handbag around. But, as we know, all good things come to an end. My handbag met its maker (so to speak) at the hands of a pesky piece of gum. True story. I remember meeting a friend for lunch at a crowded restaurant and, not having a chair on which to prop my bag (or even a chair handle to hang it on), placing it gingerly on the floor. Turns out some cretin had spit his gum out and left it laying on the floor (seriously, who DOES that?!)— and, just my luck, the gum wound up on my bag’s lovely butterfly threads. Great. Countless hours and three bottles of Goo Gone later, I’d removed most of the gum, but it never looked the same. For a while, I tried to convince myself that it still looked fab but, of course, someone would always tap me and say something along the lines of, “Oh no! There’s a little something on your bag!” and point to the threads which remained crusted with the slightest bit of gum. Eventually, I had to declare a time of death for the bag, mourn its loss, and move on.  But I always remember the sheer amount of time I spent giving that bag CPR after the gum debacle, tending to it like a neurosurgeon would a patient.

When I laid eyes on the new Isabella Fiore Serena bag (pictured second from top), I had that same warmth on my heart that I experienced when I saw my beloved butterfly tote. I found myself staring at it and thinking, “The places we’ll go! The people we’ll meet!” The rounded indigo-colored leather tote features a Bohemian-flavored embroidered design along the front that reminds me of Kashmiri textiles in India, but the colors used and the starburst-esque motif is reminiscent of Byzantine paintings and stained glass art. Even the the braided tan leather strap is exquisite.

Another standout in the Spring/Summer collection is the Amalia clutch (pictured at top), which features a curved edge and an intricate embroidered design that emulates the folds of a Chinese hand fan. If you visit the official Fiore site (IsabellaFiore.com), you’ll see model Veronica Webb carrying the Amalia in a sexy, romantic video showcasing some of Isabella Fiore’s Spring/Summer 2010 handbags.

If you prefer a cleaner, more basic silhouette, the Leila hobo (pictured third from top) is an excellent choice since the embroidery here runs along the curved sides of the slouchy silhouette.

Just remember to steer clear of anyone bearing sticks of gum!
Isabella Fiore Once Upon A Tattoo Amalia Clutch, $295; Isabella Fiore Mosaic Serena Tote, $495; and Isabella Fiore Oversize Mosaic Leila Hobo, $450. Available at BergdorfGoodman.com and NeimanMarcus.com. Visit IsabellaFiore.com for more information.

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