Dissing the Designer: The Search for the Unknown Label

March 18, 2007 • Magazine

Dissing the Designer: The Search for the Unknown Label

Dissing the Designer: The Search for the Unknown Label

Sun, 2007-03-18 05:00

Rachel Yeomans

Visiting my parents’ home in rural Wisconsin is always a wonderful break from the hectic life in the big city. It’s also the perfect opportunity for my parents to make their regular requests before my arrival. My father always asks for the city’s specialty pizza, my sister begs for caramel corn and my mother anticipates urban fashion news. However during one recent visit back home, my mother gave me some shocking fashion scoop of her own — in the shape of several fabulously-crafted and adorably-lined handbags. And even more shocking, these handbags, introduced to me under the label “emilie mâ€?, were purchased at none other than the local TJ Maxx for an average of $15! More shocking still, I have not been able to find one handbag from this label anywhere in the city. For such great styles at shockingly low prices, this was a find that desperately needed to be found.

After a little research, I discovered that emilie m is a private label distributed by Mondani, who touts other more commonly-known lines such as Rampage, Hype and Adrienne Vittadini. According to the Mondani show room in New York, to my utter disappointment, emilie m is only sold out of stores owned by TJX such as TJ Maxx and Marshall’s. Since the only TJ Maxx I could find that carried emilie m was the one my mother bought hers at in Wisconsin, I started to plan a return-trip when the woman I spoke with at the show room gave me an interesting bit of news. Mondani handbags are very similar in style to emilie m, and are more widely distributed and can be found at stores such as Bon Ton and JC Penney. Unfortunately for me, neither of these stores is accessible within the city limits. And I admit, a part of me was relieved to not have to suffer through the swallowing of the boutique-shopper pride to enter into a store that I haven’t shopped at since I needed school supplies. Yet to my rescue came the Internet, and then there was eBay.

Now at the conclusion of my handbag quest, there are currently three emilie m’s sitting next to my Kate Spades and Francesco Biasias. I admit, emilie m and Mondani are no Yves Saint Laurent or Ferragomo, but each is has its own unique look and is completely different than any other handbags this “collectorâ€? has across, making them a relief from the usual discounted designer look-alike. They have also drawn twice as many compliments than both my Biasia and my Spade. And for only $15, I’ll keep making room for them in my closet.

So on my next trip to Wisconsin, I will make sure to bring with me pizza, caramel corn and fashion news — and I will make sure and return the proud owner of a recently-purchased emilie m handbag.

Finds on a Dime

A. emilie m Gold Opal Metallic Hobo
eBay Express $19.99

B. emilie m Brown Leather Cinch-Pull Handbag w/ Tassel Ends
eBay Express $32

C. e milie m White Pebble with Black Patent Hobo
cabrelli.net $45

D. e millie m Patent Black Hobo
cabrelli.net $40

E. Mondani Canvas Tote
cabrelli.net $50

F. Mondani Marigold Small Tote
cabrelli.net $45

G. Mondani Whiskey Satchel
cabrelli.net $55

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