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They're Baaaaack

Lambertson Truex Relaunch Their Iconic Line


Twenty years ago, long before every designer marketed a handbag as well as clothing, Lambertson Truex introduced its line of handbags and leather accessories. Even after the business closed, the name conjures images of the finest and most innovative designs.

Items from original collections are now as coveted as precious jewels and fine wine but Lambertson Truex—created by the dynamic duo of Richard Lambertson and John Truex—has gone through a variety of incarnations since its earliest days. Now the designers are revitalizing their business, planning to market it through a series of pop-up shops, the first September 15th in New Preston.

The men were both veterans of the fashion business before they formed their iconic company. Truex came to New York after studying advertising at the University of Cincinnati. His first foray into the fashion business was as an office assistant to Brazilian accessories designer Carlos Falci. From there he moved on to retailing and merchandising positions, eventually working in design at Calvin Klein.

Lambertson came to New York after attending art school and studying dance at Brown University and got a job at Saks Fifth Avenue in the visual display department. From there he moved on to Bergdorf Goodman, Geoffrey Beene and helped relaunch Gucci. He eventually returned to Bergdorf Goodman as creative director and senior vice president.

When the two met in the mid-1990s, they had both amassed great successes at some impressive brands. It was then that they decided to start their own business.

Truex says, “I was ready to take a chance and do something new. I knew Richard was feeling the same way. We were able to start Lambertson Truex because we had such sensitivity towards not only design, retail, and merchandising but also manufacturing and distribution.”

“We saw a niche in the market for handbags,” explains Lambertson. “There were a few high-end bands at the time–Fendi, Prada, Tod’s, Barry Kieselstein-Cord. We were the first new American brand to come along.”

Their products were coveted by everyone and Lambertson Truex became an iconic American luxury brand known for its innovative aesthetic and commitment to fine craftsmanship. In 2000, they were awarded the Council of Fashion Designers of America’s (CFDA) Accessories Designer of the Year Award and the Ace Award for Design Excellence.

After several successful years of operating independently, Lambertson Truex sold their brand to Tiffany’s which ran it for 10 years. The two men designed product for Tiffany’s but left in 2014 retaining the use of their company name.

Lambertson and Truex then went on to design for Hartmann luggage and most recently for Shinola, headquartered in Detroit, Michigan. There, as co-design directors, they retooled American style once again with a collection of casually refined handbags, totes, wallets and accessories.

Because of their talent and commitment to quality and innovation, they succeeded in taking a popular, well-established brand to a whole new level. Several months ago, after leaving Shinola, Lambertson and Truex decided it was time to bring back their iconic brand–with some changes.

“We want to have an online presence, do bespoke and custom-made and reach a different clientele,” Lambertson said. “We are going to do pop-up shops and trunk shows and, hopefully, in February will launch a wholesale division. We will not be opening a permanent shop.”

“Our designs have always been influenced by function,” Lambertson continued. “We’ve updated a lot of our previous designs and will also have available some of our original classic pieces.”

Lambertson Truex will be offering small leather goods along with handbags. In February, they will launch a men’s collection of bags and accessories. Instead of being manufactured in Italy, the goods will be made in the United States.

“Thanks to our experience at Shinola, we have made contact with some American manufacturers with better prices and excellent workmanship. Our price points will be less than they were in our first Lambertson Truex collections,” Lambertson said. “We will also be offering a line of accessories made of exotic skins that will be manufactured in South Africa.

Lambertson Truex will officially debut their Fall 2018 collection with a pop-up shop at Privet Lives in New Preston. on Saturday. It will feature handbags, totes and small leather goods in exotic skins and luxe leathers, complete with on-site personal monogramming.

In addition a selection of vintage LT designs from Lambertson and Truex’s personal archive will be available as well as custom, made-to-order handbags for the die-hard LT fan.

“We are both excited about the rebirth of our company,” said Lambertson, “and especially pleased to be able to launch it in New Preston, where we have so many friends.”