August 27 2014

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10 posts tagged "Mandy Coon"

Mandy Coon Is Back in Business With New Accessories and a New Perspective


Mandy Coon

If you’ve been missing Mandy Coon since she left the ready-to-wear scene in 2012, you’re in luck. “I think I got to a point where I was just running a business, which was not really what I wanted to do,” said the designer, who hasn’t presented a collection for the past three seasons. But Coon has not thrown in the towel, rather, she’s now focusing all her efforts on an accessories range.

“I wanted to be able to focus and get really obsessed with something, and I love, love, love working with leather.” The former model decamped from Manhattan to the Catskills full-time more than a year ago. There, Coon cut her teeth in leatherworking—a craft with a pretty daunting learning curve. “It definitely took a lot of mistakes,” she laughed. “I watched videos, read a lot of books, and tried to learn from people who do the really traditional stuff. Then from there, I’d just find something I really wanted to make, and then that would be my task: I would just learn how to make that, and I would screw it up a lot until I got it.”

From that perseverance—and with plenty of Italian leather—Coon began developing her latest range of bags, belts, necklaces, and harnesses. She credits her new upstate digs with bringing the contrasts that have long distinguished her work [see bunny bags in badass black leather] to the fore. Also on the horizon? An expanded color palette. “I’m starting to try and incorporate more color, so maybe that,” the noir-loving designer said. While inky hues are still the order of the day for Coon, they make the appearances of rich cobalt and brilliant emerald all the more impactful.

Coon is keen to shake off the less-than-cosmopolitan connotations that in many circles still dog the idea of ethically produced, handmade pieces. “I think there’s still kind of a stigma,” she says. “I’m trying really hard to make things fashion-forward.” And indeed, from her textured bucket bags and strappy harnesses to her bondage-tinged totes and the aforementioned lapins in leather, Coon’s pieces are more Dover Street Market than farmers’ market—a marriage of the hard-edged and the handcrafted. “Just like [with] what they’re eating, I think people are starting to think about who’s making it and where it’s being made, if care is put into it or if it’ll fall apart,” Coon mused. “I think that’s important.”

Mandy Coon accessories, priced between $125 and $1,125, are available at

Photo: Courtesy Photo 

Do-Gooding In Technicolor


Art and design go hand in hand with fashion, so no surprise to find plenty of style-world names on the invitation to next week’s Museum of Arts & Design gala and auction. Waris Ahluwalia, Tyson Beckford, and Mazdack Rassi (founder and creative director of Milk Studios) are a few of the evening’s co-chairs, and Mandy Coon, Kevork Kiledjian, Kate Lanphear, and Robert Geller all among the host committee members. This year is the Fluorescent Ball, where all things eye-popping are in, from the artworks in the silent auction (like a neon-bright surfboard by Rogan Gregory to Dan Flavin-esque fluorescent-tube art pieces by Julian Lwin, Tapp Francke, and Lite Brite Neon) to the dress code for the night.

Also lighting up the scene: the just-announced celebrity co-chair of the evening, Community and Mad Men actress Alison Brie (left, with an appropriately fluoro-clad Estelle, at Diane von Furstenberg’s Spring ’11 show). Arts education—the beneficiary of the gala’s proceeds—is close to Brie’s heart. “I’ve always been a fan of arts education—my mother works in education, and that’s always been a big priority in my family,” Brie told from the set of Five-Year Engagement, the romantic comedy she’s filming with Emily Blunt. (Plus, of course: “Tyson Beckford’s gonna be there so you know it’s going to be a fun time.”) As for her fluorescent outfit for the evening? “The dress I was thinking of wearing is a Lela Rose bright orange one. Her use of color is fantastic,” she says, describing the shade as “neon-ish.” “I’ve definitely been to some neon after-hours parties in L.A. where I’ve really gone all-out. I don’t know if I’m going to go quite as…uh, whimsical.”

For tickets and more information, visit

Photo: Billy Farrell /

A New Class Toasts Its Fashion Week Benefactor


You might expect otherwise from a winery, but there are no booze-goggles at Ecco Domani: The California-based vintner has a long history of clear-eyed perceptiveness about young fashion talent. Its Fashion Foundation awards have been supporting emerging designers with much needed grant money for years, and many of the industry’s now established names—Derek Lam, Alexander Wang, and Proenza Schouler among them—have benefited from its largesse.

This year’s crop of winners (for womenswear, Bibhu Mohapatra, Mandy Coon, Marcia Patmos, and Maayan Zilberman and Nikki Dekker for their line The Lake & Stars; for menswear, Kyle Fitzgibbons for Native Son; for accessories, Pamela Love; and for sustainable design, Tara St. James for Study NY) was on hand to celebrate last night, along with alumni like Lam, Erin Fetherston, John Patrick, Carly Cushnie and Michelle Ochs, and editors and style setters like Julie Gilhart and Sally Singer. One of last year’s winners, Prabal Gurung, presented Bibhu Mohapatra (above, with Lam) with his award. (“His love and my love for Bollywood has cemented our friendship,” the Nepal-born Gurung, who worked for the Indian designer Manish Arora after graduating from New Delhi’s National Institute of Fashion, confided.)

“It has really pumped me with such a rush,” Mohapatra said of his latest accolade. “This award not only gave me confidence, but it also gave me some extra funding to make my product that much better.”

Pressed for advice to the young designers, Gurung modestly demurred. “I am still in the process of rising,” he said, “and I don’t think I am in the position of giving advice to anyone. What I can say is be true to yourself and trust your instincts because you have to just believe in yourself.”

Photo: Ryan McCune

The W Hotels Scout Out The Next Big Things


For any budding fashion line, finding funding is nothing short of a godsend. “It was the best Christmas gift,” Mara Hoffman raved about being selected for the W Hotels’ Fashion Next program. “I found out in December right before everybody headed off for the holidays.” Along with fellow colleagues Tess Giberson, Mandy Coon, Frank Tell, and Michael Angel, Hoffman toasted their selection in a penthouse last night at the W’s Times Square location. There was much to celebrate: The lucky few won a coveted sponsorship of their Fall 2011 show at the Box in Lincoln Center.

Going two seasons strong, W’s fashion director, Amanda Ross (above, with the designers), once again spearheaded the effort. “We wanted a group where each designer had their own sense of style—it’s a mix of sophisticated and bohemian—but were at similar points in their careers,” Ross explained. Young labels hoping to win Ross’ eye for the next installation will have to catch her hop-scotching around town for New York fashion week. Aside from styling for her friend of 20 years, Gregory Parkinson, she’ll be fitting in “as many shows as she can.” “I just hope there isn’t a snowstorm,” Ross said, half-jokingly. “Otherwise we’ll all have a tough time planning what to wear.”

A slushy winter or not, it appears New York is still the place to be. “I’ve been coming here off and on for the last 12 years,” said Texas native Mandy Coon. “As a young designer, it’s the most comfortable because the community here is open to new ideas.” Would she ever decamp to a designer-luring European city, like London or Paris? “I wouldn’t,” Coon declared. “For me, it’s all about this city. There’s a lot of momentum here.”

Photo: Billy Farrell /

Mandy Coon Bugs Out


Mandy Coon’s bestiary gets a little larger this season. The New York-based designer and Ecco Domani winner scored a hit with her much-loved (and often copied) bunny bag and channeled jellyfish for her seasonal print last Spring. Now for Fall, she’s skipping the fluff and fish in favor of the flies. Coon will debut a small collection of fly jewelry, made with Made Her Think’s Meredith Kahn, at her February 12 show at Lincoln Center. (It’s a new, bigger venue for the label, and signals another step toward the big time.) At a preview yesterday, Coon explained that she’s an avid collector of vintage bug jewelry and came across an early American bug brooch, which set her thinking about her own accessories. Her brood grew to include a ring, a necklace, and two brooches in gunmetal and rhodium, with Swarovski crystal details. As in art, so in life—is Coon an appreciator of in-the-flesh insects, too, we wondered? “Not so much,” she said with a laugh.

Photos: Courtesy of Mandy Coon