Purse Designer Lana Marks Talks About Her Start And Worth Avenue
Designer Lana Marks opens a new store on Worth Avenue—where it all began.
Nearly 30 years ago, Lana Marks presented five handbags, including a hot pink crocodile lunchbox, at Saks Fifth Avenue in Palm Beach. “I thought I'd climbed Mount Everest,” says the designer, thinking back. She's standing in her new shop at the Esplanade on Worth Avenue, positioned right above the department store where it all began.
The Lana Legacy
If that showcase was a mountaintop, Marks has since made trips to space, having had royalty to celebrities carry her brand. One wall in her store plays host to photos of A-listers like Angelina Jolie, Sarah Jessica Parker and Kate Winslet holding Marks' Cleopatra handbags. Another wall is dedicated to images of Princess Diana, who once asked Marks to create a bag just for her. The style is now named after the royal icon, and it's reinvented each season in different colors and hardware, but with the original shape. “It took nine months to design, and when I showed [Princess Diana] the bag she said, ‘It's tall and slim just like me,'” Marks says.
The Lady Behind The Label
The brand was born the way most businesses come to be—to fill a void. In 1984, what was missing was a red alligator handbag from Marks' personal inventory. She wanted the accessory to carry at a birthday celebration for Queen Elizabeth II on a yacht in South Florida. Marks and her husband, a highly regarded doctor, had been invited to the event shortly after the couple moved to Miami. Because Marks couldn't find the handbag she wanted, and because she was born in South Africa where many of the exotic animals incorporated into handbags come from (alligator, crocodile, ostrich and lizard), she decided to create her own line.
The Arm Candy
Marks picks up a bag that is one of four in existence—one for sale in New York, two sold to private buyers, and one awaiting purchase in Palm Beach. She flips it upside down, and the scales of a Hornback protrude from the base of the bag. This excites Marks as she shares details about the difficulty in its stitching and what a nightmare it became for her to ship the bags between countries during production. Because of the authentic, rare materials, and because of the intricate, thought-out construction of each bag, buyers can expect a $1,000-plus price tag.
LANA MARKS, 125 Worth Ave., Ste. 221, Palm Beach / 561.655.7080 / lanamarks.com
Some of Lana's Favorite Summer Bags
The Frozen Chain Tophandle in emerald, lemon and pink ostrich
The Cleopatra Clutch
The Red Lunchbox
The Princess Diana in royal indigo alligator