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About the Designers


In 1982, Joan and Bill Martin embarked on a new venture and created Brahmin Leather Works in our antique home in Hingham, Massachusetts - A long time dream of Bill's. Prior to that time, Bill had been a manufacturing and operations executive of leading companies within the shoe industry. Joan was a mother, homemaker and actively involved in community and church affairs. Bill, the manufacturing specialist, drafted me to do the designing and selling. Sandy, 15, and Scott, 12, were old enough to support our efforts and pitched in after school.

With sales doubling each year, Brahmin soon outgrew its Hingham home and moved to a small factory in Taunton, MA. After two years, and once again the need for more space, the company relocated to a 25,000 square foot factory in New Bedford, Massachusetts, and presently to a NEW modern factory in Fairhaven, Massachusetts.

Today, in Fairhaven, Joan head up designing; Bill heads up manufacturing and operations; Sandy works in design, and Laurel Buerk (VP Sales and Marketing) in Marketing; Scott heads up internal computer systems, and is the Manufacturing Coordinator. With 65 employees under one roof to hand-make Brahmin Handbags that are sent to the finest retail stores across the country.

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This British company is one of the most recognizable names in status rainwear. The tan plaid has become synonymous with quality and luxury. In fact, the gabardine classic has been keeping people dry since 1856 when it was founded by Thomas Burberry. Today, this brand of men's, women's and children's apparel and outerwear symbolizes all that is British, sturdy, unassuming and at home anywhere. And now, with a new design director at the helm, the company will introduce updated versions of classic styles including the classic trenchcoat and aviator jackets. The Burberry's name can also be found on men's and women's tailored clothing dress furnishings, shirts, ties, hosiery, belts and eyewear.

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More than forty years ago, Coach introduced twelve eloquently simple bag designs with classic, well-balanced proportions. Over the years, we have added a multitude of new shapes, styles and materials, but each collection embodies the same principles of classic design and American style.

Every Coach product embodies the perfect balance between aesthetics and functionality. Sizes, shapes, pockets and straps are carefully considered to provide maximum efficiency, comfort and convenience. Seams are double-stitched where reinforcement is required. In our glove-tanned pieces, the inside pockets, handles straps and interior bound edges are all made of the same leather to ensure a consistency of color and texture.

Coach selects only the top ten percent of leathers for their tactile quality, strength, character and grain. In the tanning process the untreated leather is rotated for days in large drums where it is softened and enriched with natural treatments drawn from plant extracts, fats and clear aniline dyes. Like fingerprints, no two grain patterns are alike. Our method of slow curing brings the natural markings to the surface, which makes every Coach product original and unique.

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Dolce & Gabbana

The in house designing studio at Gabbana, has always been an integral part of the store and under the able guidance of Mr. Akbar, the team of professional designers, merchandisers, co ordinators, production personnel and the administrative staff function to create and develop collections every season. And each season the team strives to achieve the same vision of perfection.

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Dooney & Bourke

Dooney & Bourke has over a quarter century of experience combining superior materials and fine craftsmanship with traditional designs to create enduring, functional fine leather goods.

Founded in 1975 by H. Peter Dooney and Frederick Bourke, Dooney & Bourke took off with the development of All-Weather Leather—fine calfskin naturally processed to make it virtually indestructible. With hand stitching and solid brass hardware, handbags from this revolutionary leather look good and wear well. This early fusion of durability, functionality, and classic style has become the Dooney & Bourke hallmark.


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A natural collection for a "biological" thought. Etro dresses with stylistic and material ability. Nothing is unplanned.

Etro goes on with its research for an everyday essence. It's the turn of urban life and its "undeniable" meeting place: supermarket. So, he creates a collection dedicated to transgenic feeds and to a biological purism of ingredients. Form chromatic patterns of creations realized in plant-dyed cotton to northern velvets everything exalts accurate details, symbol of made in Etro. But words aren't enough to understand the meaning of his collection. Touching its creation you'll be astonished. 

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Fendi opted to call its famous bag "baguette" after someone at the launch commented that it should be carried "like French bread", called a baguette.

Fendi’s Baguette has been so popular that LVMH, the new owner of Phillips International Auctioneers and Prada recently joined forces to by a 51% stake in Fendi

The Baguette was the inspiration of Silvia Venturini who ran away to South America when she was 17 shocking the 74-year old Rome based fashion house

The baguette was launched in the Autumn of 1997 and even Fendi admits it has no idea why the handbag has been so popular

Fendi’s baguette range started with Silvia ordering 12 to be produced with a £3,100 price tag

Fendi keeps redesigning the baguette and the range includes some geometric patterened needlepoint baguettes in sherbet colours with lizard clasps and sequinned baguettes

One Fendi baguette takes 12 days to make as it is handwoven silk which is woven at 5cm of fabric a day and there are only three artists who are skilled enough to work the design

Silvia is now in charge of Fendissime, a new collection for the younger set – so successful has the range been that in 1992 Karl Lagerfeld Fendi’s ready-to-wear designer since 1965 suggested Silvia take over Fendi’s accessories

Silvia has designed the famous Fendi Baguette buckle based on the double FF logo that is Fendi’s trademark Fendi’s reputation for luxury items was built on its high class luxurious furs

Just call me...fashionista! Can't help but love what is on the horizon for fall '99. The American film industry deserves the Oscar for highlighting designer fashion to this degree. Can't help but think of Rene Russo as the cashmere draped Catherine Banning in the movie, "The Thomas Crown Affair." Of course, she was wrapped up in a lot less for evening wear, but the wardrobe department outdid itself in clipping terrific styles by Michael Kors for Celine. This is the ultimate all-American look, hands down.

A no-frills, clean design is how fall shapes up. The pieces fall into place, the sportswear is spare, just a tad feminine to smooth out the edges. These are the clothes we live in and can count on, especially when the fabrics are the most ultra quality to date.

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Even though the range of products that Salvatore Ferragamo produces today is far wider than in the past now including handbags, small leather goods, scarves, ties, and men's and ladies' ready-to-wear the original production method, despite an obvious evolution since then, remains the same as sixty years ago. That which carries the Ferragamo signature is derived directly from its design to its manufacture from the house’s headquarters.

In 1996, Ferragamo acquired control of Emanuel Ungaro. In 1997 Bulgari and Ferragamo set up a joint venture with the objective of producing and selling perfume and cosmetics throughout the world under the Ferragamo and Ungaro trademarks. In the second half of 1998 the first Ferragamo fragrance was launched, Salvatore Ferragamo pour Femme, followed by its bath line. In the second half of 1999 the Salvatore Ferragamo pour Homme fragrance and its bath line were launched on the market. Since May 2000 the Salvatore Ferragamo pour Femme Summer Collection has been available in exclusive perfumeries and department stores worldwide.

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Francesco Biasia

The trademark Biasia styles are developed in its design laboratories, headed by brother Claudio, and make full use of the best fabrics, hardware and leathers that Italy has to offer. Contemporary designs intended to enhance and complement the latest couture and ready-to-wear trends are translated into handbags using cutting edge technology. Fresh collections are offered each season and designs run the gamut from dressy to casual to fill the varied needs of today's dynamic lifestyles.

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Franco Franchi may be a newcomer to the world of handbag design and manufacturing, but he comes from a deep background in retailing. As former head of the European operation for Associated Merchandising Corporation, he built up a network of materials suppliers and manufacturing contacts throughout the world. So, when he decided to start his own company to design, manufacturer and sell handbags, he knew exactly who he wanted to work with and where to go.

All design work for the Franchi lines come from his home office in Florence, Italy. The designs are then translated into handbags in the Far East from a variety of high quality materials - Italian leather, fabric from the Orient and Filipino straws. Using a sometimes surprising combination of materials, Franchi handbags are distinctively fresh and never boring.

The Franchi design philosophy, according to Franco, is deceptively simple. He keeps his finger on the pulse of ready-to-wear design trends. He is always searching for new interpretation and details. And, he believes that the Franchi line should be new each season, ready to enhance whatever look is "in" and perfect for the woman with a young attitude and a variety of handbag needs.

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The Furla family legacy began 77 years ago when Aldo Furlanetto started his business as a trader in accessories. In the 70’s Aldo’s children, Giovanna, Carlo and Paolo took over the business and decided to develop the Furla brand internationally. They created the Furla collection of luxury accessories including handbags, small leather goods, jewelry, belts, watches, scarves, hats, gloves, sunglasses and most recently footwear. Based on elegance and femininity, and techno-artisanal details, the Furla handcrafted Italian brand is known for its affordable luxury.

Within the next 10 years, Furla opened several stores worldwide and created a network of profitable franchises. Furla was one of the first luxury brands to create a franchising network, and to utilize a store concept that became a “case study” for many companies for its innovative merchandising and visual format.

In order to accelerate growth, in the 1980’s, Furla established subsidiaries in 9 countries (USA, France, Spain, UK, Japan, Hong Kong, China, Germany, Australia) and established Furla’s presence in 64 countries worldwide.

Every Furla collection is the result of research and interpretation,which takes account of the past and observes the present, with the future in mind. Because the true virtue of elegance lies not in its power to amaze, but to interpret what is new and translate it into a style.

Furla was founded in 1927. Villa Bellaria, close to the centre of Bologna, houses the company headquarters. Built in the late 18th Century, this classical building has been returned to its former splendour thanks to restoration work which has maintained its architectural characteristics.

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Guccio Gucci (1881-1953) developed a taste for beauty and elegance as a young man while working as a lift attendant in London's opulent Savoy Hotel at the turn of the 19th century. In 1921, after his return to Florence, he opened a shop at 7 Via della Vigna Nuova selling luggage and saddlery, as well as a small workshop that handcrafted them. In need of expansion, the workshop, which also had begun to produce handbags as well as its original equitation goods, was relocated to a larger space on Lungarno Guicciardini along the Arno River in 1937. By this time the iconic bit and stirrups, which were derived from the company's origins and denoted the sophistication of the products, had come to represent Gucci's success.

In 1938, the business expanded to Rome with the opening of a shop on the prestigious Via Condotti. Under the limitations of the Fascist dictatorship, imagination compensated for the shortage of raw materials, as Guccio discovered the distinctive potential of hemp, linen, jute and the signature bamboo.

The one-man business became a family business when sons Aldo, Vasco, and Ugo joined the company in 1939. Another son, Rodolfo, later joined the company and in 1951, he opened a shop in Milan. The opening of the Manhattan store on 58th Street in 1953 launched the Gucci brand as one of the pioneers of Italian design in the United States.
The late 1940s through the 1960s brought the Gucci classics: the bag with the bamboo handle (1947), the moccasin with the metal bit (1952), and the flowered Flora silk scarf (1966) created for Grace Kelly.

The unique designs and high quality materials became a symbol of class and exclusivity worn by women of style such as Audrey Hepburn, Jacqueline Kennedy, Maria Callas and the Duchess of Windsor.

In 1953, the workshop moved to a yet larger location: Florence's Palazzo Settimanni on Via delle Caldaie, the site now occupied by Gucci's ultra-modern showroom.

In the 1950s, the trademark striped webbing, which was derived from the saddle girth, became one of the company's great successes. This signature detail appeared in a green/red/green version for natural leather pieces and in blue/red/blue for dyed leathers.
During this period, the company adopted the GG logo, taken from the initials of its founder, as an ornamental motif for a distinctive cotton fabric called GG canvas. This original material was used in the making of handbags, accessories, luggage and the first articles of clothing.

The inauguration of the Manhattan store in 1953 started an overseas expansion that continued through the next two decades. With the opening of stores in London and Palm Beach (1963), Paris (1963) and Beverly Hills (1968), Gucci became a success in the most important world markets.
In 1971, as the Chicago store was being launched, the company's new factory opened in Scandicci, near Florence, and the former workshop on Via delle Caldaie was transformed into a showroom. Soon, shops in Tokyo (1972) and Hong Kong (1974) marked the beginnings of a growing presence in the Far East. Yet the company's rapid development did not lead to abandoning expert handcraftsmanship: production continued to be stringently managed and organized from the Florence headquarters.

In 1982 the original Gucci became Guccio Gucci S.p.A., a public limited company, and soon after its leadership passed to Rodolfo Gucci's son, Maurizio. Between 1987 and 1989, Investcorp, an international investment company, purchased the 50% of Gucci shares that were held by Aldo Gucci and his sons. Maurizio Gucci retained the remaining 50% until 1993, when he sold his entire share to Investcorp.

In 1994, Gucci Group NV was incorporated. The same year, Tom Ford, previously Chief Women's Ready-to-Wear Designer, was appointed as Creative Director of Gucci's entire product range. His seminal fall/winter 1995-1996 collection transformed Gucci's style with a remix of classic and modern, tradition and innovation. It was an immediate hit with the critics and the public and marked the relaunch of the Gucci brand.

In 1995, Domenico De Sole was appointed as President and CEO of Gucci Group NV after holding the position of President of Gucci America Inc. (1984-1994) and Chief Operating Officer of the Gucci Group (1994-1995). The De Sole-Ford team would reinvent Gucci over the following years.

In October of 1995, Investcorp floated 48.2% of Gucci Group NV on the New York and Amsterdam Stock Exchanges. The Initial Public Offering was positively received by the market, leading Investcorp to offer the remaining 51.8% of the company five months later. Gucci's shares were in international demand.

The European Business Press Federation (U.P.E.F.E) recognized Gucci's business achievements in 1998, selecting it as European Company of the Year from among 4,000 other companies. The award acknowledged Gucci's economic and financial performance, its strategic vision and its management quality.

In July 1999, Gucci's independent shareholders voted overwhelmingly in favor of an alliance with Pinault-Printemps-Redoute (PPR), a leader in specialized distribution, which enabled Gucci to accelerate its strategy to become a leading multi-brand luxury goods company.

The same year, Gucci Group NV acquired Yves Saint Laurent Couture and Sanofi Beauté‚ a prestigious perfume and cosmetics company that boasts YSL fragrances such as Opium and Paris, as well as a wealth of other perfume licenses including Roger & Gallet, Krizia, Fendi and Oscar de la Renta. In 1999, Gucci Group NV also acquired a 70% controlling interest in Sergio Rossi, a leading Italian luxury shoe company.

The growth of Gucci Group NV continues in 2000 with the acquisition of Boucheron International S.A. Founded in France in 1858, Boucheron has a long established heritage as one of the world's most exclusive jewelry, watch and perfume brands. Also in 2000, Gucci secured further control over its brands by obtaining liscense rights held by Cartier International for Yves Saint Laurent Couture watches and jewelry. Both moves reflect Gucci's confidence in the global potential of the jewelry and watches segments of the luxury goods market.

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JP Tods

The story begins in the early 1900 when Diego Della Valle's grandfather, Filippo founded a small shoe factory. In the 70's, a major turnaround: from a family run business to an industrial company, this happens when Diego Della Valle enters the firm and leads the development of the business.
Today, Tod's SpA is the operating holding of a Group, amongst the leading players which produce and sell shoes and luxury leather goods, with the brand names Tod's and Hogan, dealing also in the casual wear sector with the brand FAY. The brands of the group, all with their own personal identity, are linked by the same philosophy, which distinguishes itself for a well-balanced mix of tradition and modernity, high quality, creativity and functionality.

The high standard of quality met by the products is guaranteed by the strong craftsmanship involved in every and each phase of the production: every product is hand made, crafted with techniques of the highest skilled handcraftsmanship. After various production steps and control phases the product is destined to become an exclusive and distinguishable object. Every brand includes products recognized to be "must have" objects as for example, Tod's, Driving Shoe and D bag and Hogan Traditional and Interactive shoes..

All products are crafted in the Groups' owned factories, a total of 7 for shoes and 2 for leather goods, and in a limited number of specialized laboratories (with which the Group has bonded long term business relations). The buying of materials, the supervision of all the production phases and the control of the finished products, are centralized at the headquarters - this is done for all of the products as well as for the ones created in the external laboratories.

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 Brahmin  Burberry  Coach  Dolce & Gabbana   Dooney & Bourke  Etro   Fendi   Ferragamo  Francesco Biasia
Franchi  Furla   Gucci   JP Tods   Kate Spade  Kenneth Cole   Lambertson Truex  Longchamp   Louis Vuitton
LuLu Guinness   MAXX New York  Miu Miu   Nine West   Prada  Prima Classe   Roxy  Versace

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