INDEPENDENT SPIRITS: Talk about competition. The winners of the fourth annual Independent Handbag Designer Awards were culled from about 900 submissions judged by a panel of editors, stylists, buyers and other experts. The honorees, who received their awards Thursday night at Parsons The New School for Design, were: Catherine Meyer, Follis, Best Overall Design and Style; Andrew Krumholz, Escama Studio, Best Green Handbag; Michelle Vale, Most Innovative Handbag inspired by mark; Brianna Smith, B. Thalle, Best Handmade Handbag; Dalia Pascal, Best Socially Responsible Handbag; Si Kim, Morpholision, Best Student-Made Handbag, and Aimee Kestenberg, Best Use of Swarovski Crystals. Veronica Suarez, Exex Handbags, was InStyle’s Fan Favorite, based on the 212,000 votes cast on instyle.com. Deborah Lloyd, Kate Spade co-president and creative director, received the Iconoclast Award from her friend, Tim Gunn, chief creative officer of Liz Claiborne Inc. Few of the winners made it through their acceptance speeches without a tear.
Prizes included the creation of a limited edition bag under the Kate Spade New York label for Best Handbag in Overall Style and Design — with the bags sold at Saks Fifth Avenue — and an apprenticeship with Carlos Falchi for the Best Student-Made Handbag winner.
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