Exotic Chic

Ciggones : SS13 Evening collection

Ciggones : SS13 Evening collection

NEW YORK, United States — “Travel is my inspiration”, said Emmaline Kuo Ranzman, when asked about what inspired her beautiful accessory line, Emm Kuo. Born in Taipei, and raised between Hawaii, Hong Kong and New York Emmaline told me, “The appreciation for diverse cultures combined with a love of the cosmopolitan lifestyle is a constant source of inspiration for the Emm Kuo line of high-end accessories”. In fact, each style of handbag is named after a favourite place where she has travelled to.

I got to know Emmaline Kuo when I was living in New York a few years ago and was lucky enough to see the development of her emerging accessory brand. When I asked Emmaline why she decided to create an accessory brand, she explained, “I like how an accessory can change one’s look completely. And I think I know what stylish women want in a great bag”.

The black one with buckle is called 'Rue Vivienne', and the smaller one is 'Majorelle'

The black one with buckle is called ‘Rue Vivienne’
and the smaller one is ‘Majorelle’

Calle Bahia : SS13 Crossbody in Ostrich and Stringray leathers

Calle Bahia : SS13 Crossbody in Ostrich and Stringray leathers

The structured shapes of her bags create a sophisticated ladylike look, yet the hardware adds edginess. Her bags are multifunctional, versatile and affordable.

All of the hardware is custom. We have a signature toggle that was actually inspired by an antique bullet, which I found at a small antique shop in Paris. A lot of the leathers are custom colours and the exotic skins we use are hand painted”, Emmaline highlighted about her unique pieces.

The designer carrying 'No5 on the bund' in Stringray and crocodile leathers

The designer carrying ‘No5 on the bund’ in Stringray and crocodile leathers

I put some questions to Emmaline Kuo to get more insight into her brand.

What makes your items stand out compared to other handbag brands?

The original goal behind the Emm Kuo brand was to present exotic skin bags in a fresh and modern way. That original concept evolved to creating beautifully made bags that maximise value without compromising on design and quality. My designs cater to women who are forward thinking and have a strong sense of personal style and who appreciate quality and uniqueness. It is practical, versatile yet sophisticated. Also, I use a lot of strong contrasts in texture and mix different types of leathers and colours that would not normally pair together.

Your brand is sold in the US, France and throughout Asia. What are the differences in preferences between the regions?

Fashion has changed a lot within the past few years, especially in Asia with the help of the Internet. Asia now has much more access to new designers and brands than ten years ago. At the moment, there is such a strong demand for unique and luxurious items. When I design for my Asian clientèle, I tend to use stronger, bolder colours and very luxurious materials like crocodile and python. Also, size is very important. The American market prefers a larger bag that is very functional and can fit a lot of things, whereas the Asian clientèle looks for something smaller and more for special occasions.

Please introduce your newest collection to the FG readers.

Recently, I went to Marrakesh and fell in love with the Majorelle Gardens, which is a part of Yves Saint Laurent’s home. I was attracted to the vibrant blues and greens. So, the colours of the garden became the colour pallet for my Spring/Summer 2013 collection. I also used a lot of textures including woven leather and exotic skins such as stingray and ostrich.

What can we expect from the Emm Kuo in the future?

Spring/Summer 2013 is our third collection. Our goal is to continue to grow and expand the brand and develop a stronger presence internationally. We have recently expanded into evening as well as leather goods, such as belts and we hope to delve into other categories as well!

Emmaline Kuo has brilliantly infused her global lifestyle into her designs. While her cosmopolitan sense comes through in her work, what I find more exciting is the exotic and romantic feel her designs inspire!

The bags range in price from $195 to $595 and can be found at Intermix, Owen NYC, Dagny+Barstow, Des Pres in Tokyo and Avenue L Lotte in Seoul. You can also find her merchandise online at Anthemwares.com and www.farfetch.com

Courtesy of: Emmaline Kuo Ranzman  |  Website: www.ekrdesigns.com  |  Edited by: Elizabeth Deheza
Miya Choi About the author

Miya Choi is a South Korean born professional in international and cultural diplomacy who has developed a unique view of fashion through her various experiences around the world. In addition to her professional experience with the United Nations and the government of South Korea, she has also been a fashion model, TV hostess and a former winner of the Miss Daegu beauty pageant in Daegu, South Korea. She has a love of fashion and is fascinated by fashion trends in different cultures. She holds a Masters in Law and Diplomacy from The Fletcher School in the U.S. and currently resides in London, U.K.