Monday, April 20, 2015

CAPPELLI STRAWORLD, the last straw

As the songs goes, "It's an end of the world as we know it". At the very least, it is the end of CAPPELLI STRAWORLD ( a division of Dorfman Pacific Hat Company) as we know it. Bonnie Rubel, who took over the company's reins from her father many moons ago, who in turn had taken them over from Bonnie's mother and grandmother, is retiring. Her replacement is Lucy Sanchinelli, who has a long history of designing handbags.
The spring/summer 2016 collection, which she finished last week with the help of her twin sister Nicole, will be her grand finally to the fashion world.
Nicole center and Bonnie on the right

 For those who think that design is all glamor, here is a reality check. The factories are freezing and we dress for warmth. We had both lunch and dinner at the factory for a number of days.

Bonnie with vintage CAPPELLI bag designs hanging in the background

Bonnie with Mr. Sun with who has produced CAPPELLI designs for over 20 years.

Bonnie invited me to help merchandise her s16 COLLECTION, so I spent the past week with her and Nicole, it was a great experience. They truly are an amazing duo. Their attention to detail, their reworking of every bead, every color strand, until the bag was 'right', either design wise or cost wise. Yes, it was draining and exhausting, but it was an honor to be part of their last hooray!
In a world where so many collections are rehashed, reinterpreted or plain knock-offs, CAPPELLI STRAWORLD always endeavored to be original and different.

The sample maker crocheting a new s16 sample

Nicole left and Bonnie right choosing each bead for a new handle.

The beginning of an original CAPPELLI handbag

Bonnie, wearing a knit beanie for warmth, and her back up team

Nicole, the artist behind the brand and myself
Another shocker was the reaction of the Chinese at Bonnie's departure. The Chinese, who tend to be poker faced, were crushed at her final departure. From factory owners to samples makers, there was not a dry eye in the house.
Sadly, I doubt if any factory will give a" rats ass" when our times comes to say adieu.
I kind of wish that I had had the opportunity to work closer with Bonnie the past 6 years.

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