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Bag crazy

Tote this: Cesar Galindo introduces crocodile handbag collection

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Cesar Galindo, handbag collection, Sloan/Hall
Cesar Galindo traveled to Colombia to find the skins for his new handbag collection. Photo by Clifford Pugh

Cesar Galindo: Handbag designer. Has a nice ring to it, doesn't it?

After most designers establish their ready-to-wear collections, many of them expand into accessories, because, frankly, that's where the money is. Even if a woman doesn't buy a new dress regularly, she might pick up a pair of shoes, a new handbag or a piece of jewelry. Carmen Marc Valvo is introducing a new shoe line for fall while Monique Lhuillier debuted a new shoe line this past spring and announced a new bridal jewelry collection.

Now Galindo, a Houston native who calls New York home, is getting into the act. He was in Houston a few months ago to launch a line of upscale crocodile bags at Sloan/Hall. The handbag line came about after a business partner told Galindo his family owns a crocodile farm and tannery in Colombia and encouraged him to get cracking.

 After most designers establish their ready-to-wear collections, many of them expand into accessories, because, frankly, that's where the money is.  

"Of course, it the fantasy of every designer to have a whole brand, but for me to go there — this happened in a manner of a week. Thank God, I speak Spanish," Galindo said. "I got to see everything from the crocodile farm to the tannery to the guys who make boots. The day I got back I started doing my origami work, which you can see in the bags."

The styles include a slanted tote, the classic over-the-shoulder bag, and a small envelope bag that "sits on the table like a piece of artwork, if you're going out for dinner," he said.

The handbags, which retail for between $1,500 and $4,500, come in black and in five distinctive colors to stand out. "I played a lot with color because I figured the woman who is buying my bag already several croc bags already," he explained.

Galindo plans to add a big duffel bag and experiment with shapes and soft pleating.

For his more moderately-priced clothing collection, Czar by Cesar Galindo, which he will unveil Monday at Mercedes-Benz Fashion Week, he will not feature his handbag line. Instead Liebeskind - Berlin, the German accessories manufacturer and one of the show's sponsors, will be showcased.

“We are so happy to be partnering with Cesar in this beautiful venture." Nathalie Sears, Liebeskind - Berlin U.S. president said in a statement. "Berlin loves New York and its designers."

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