Ever so often in fashion, a dynamic duo comes along that march to the beat of their own drum. Dolce & Gabanna, Bagley Mischka, Proenza Schouler, Erickson Beamon now add Be & D to the line up. Be Inthavong and Steve Dumain are the design duo behind the wildly succeful luxury shoe and handbang label Be & D. I discovered their label earlier this year on Gilt Groupe and fell in love. I immediately reached out to them for an interview. Their collection is truly unique. Unexpected shapes, hardware that spice up ruffled bags and shoes so vivacious that they seem to come alive. The designers know what women want and deliver a fabulous collection season after season. Their statement bags are carried by Hollywood’s elite. With names like the Garbo, a traditional bag with studs and hardware; the Kan Kan, a romantically ruffled bag with an attitudes of studs dividing the ruffle in the center. All Be & D bags have the signature hardware accents I had the opportunity to conduct an email interview with the visionaries behind the brand.
What was the inspiration behind your latest collection?
Our inspiration for Cruise 10 was travel and truly feel what is would be like to go on a cruise.
Take us through your creative process? How do you decide what to include in your collection?
We often start with materials that we are responding to – colors and textures. Then we work on shapes – sometimes we take something that we’re already doing well with and re-work it to make it new for her closet and for the collection and sometimes we want something completely fresh and exciting.
There are so many unique pieces, how do you narrow your selection to the final collection and how do you choose which ones to showcase?
Our selection process is either how emotional we feel about the piece balanced by how commercial certain pieces will become.
What type of woman do you create for? Do you have a specific muse in mind when designing? If so, who?
We design for a mindset rather than for a women’s age. We design for a customer who is living life, enjoys herself, confident and knows her closet.
What is most important to you when designing, style, trend, fashion or wearability?
Actually all of the above.
What influenced you to get into design? Did you have any mentors?
Be: I first wanted to design when I was in junior high school. My high school art teacher really encouraged me to hone my sketching and drawing skills.
Steve: I have been drawing and making sculpture for as long as I can remember. My biggest mentors for design though have honestly been my friends and peers in school and life here in NYC. They are artists from all fields…music, film, painters, sculptors, actors, etc. These guys are the fuel for my creativity.
How can those who purchase your brand incorporate pieces from your collection into their everyday look?
Our brand can be incorporated in any way. The customer must simply try them on!
What would you say is the must have piece in your collection and why?
We love all of our pieces. But we would say our Garbo Tote from our Fall/Winter 2009 is a MUST. It’s really our signature rock’n roll and heavy metal chic bag. And, we love how it can be worn as a messenger bag also.
Tons of celebs including have been wearing your brand. Who else are your clients? Do you know who is buying them or is it a mystery until you see it in the magazines?
To honest, we haven’t kept track of who’s wearing our bag. We are very proud and honored that so many customers buy Be & D, whether they are celebrities or a cool housewife.
What is your number one style advice on maintaining the classic and chic image?
Know your body and know what works for you. Also, invest in an item that you can wear years from now–whether it be a watch, a handbag, shoes, or a piece of jewelry.