The handbag you covet could be Arkansas-made

Posted: November 5, 2017 at 1:33 a.m.

Among the offerings at the Junior League of Little Rock’s Holiday House this week: Dower, a line of fine leather handbags, wallets and belts handcrafted by Jack Lloyd of Little Rock.

Pssst. About that gorgeous, clean-lined satchel bag with the contrasting stitching carried by the woman two restaurant tables away and over which you've been salivating. You think it might be a Kate Spade or a Michael Kors, right?

It may be a Dower.

Dower is the brand name of the line of carefully handcrafted bags and other accessories produced by Jack Lloyd, a Little Rock leather artisan who sells his work online and at special events such as Holiday House, the Junior League of Little Rock holiday market that runs Wednesday-Saturday at the Statehouse Convention Center in Little Rock. (See adjoining story.)

Lloyd cuts and hand-sews his products, working mostly with vegetable-tanned English bridle leather from Wickett and Craig, a 150-year-old Pennsylvania company. Among the collection of Dower belts, wallets and bags is Lloyd's most popular piece: the sleek Alie Handbag ($425), the elongated satchel named for his mother and, Lloyd says on his website, "directly inspired by a vivid time in my youth spent at the local bowling alley." Other products include the One of a Kind Tote ($325), the Zipper Pouch ($75), several unisex wallets ($48-$128), and two men's belt styles ($75-$85).

Lloyd comes from a fashion background. He was an associate designer for G-III Apparel Group Ltd. in New York, working with the head designer in the Kenneth Cole division for women's outerwear. The job, however, "felt a little too cookie-cutter." Lloyd acquired his leathercrafting experience while working several years with the late Joe Brogdon of Little Rock, maker of JoeB vintage-leather belts and bags.

"I had been wanting to make accessories for a really long time," Lloyd says, "and then once I started learning what I learned working for him, it translated into things that I wanted to do." His first public showing was at Art in the Bar at South on Main a couple of years ago.

Since then, the Alie bag has earned him a runner-up spot in the Style category of Garden & Gun magazine's 2016 Made in the South Awards.

The compliments Lloyd gets on his creations fall in line with the things he loves most about them -- their clean lines. "That's exactly what I'm going for ... clean and simple. I'm also trying to make things timeless." The bags carry a lifetime guarantee.

This year will be Dower's second year at Holiday House. Lloyd will also appear with his goods at: The Little Craft Show, Nov. 24-25 in the Fayetteville Town Center, 15 W. Mountain St. in Fayetteville; and Art of the Bar, Dec. 10 at South on Main, 1304 Main St. in Little Rock. For more information, visit dower.bigcartel.com.

BOBBING FOR COLOGNE

Are you sick of defaulting to cologne as a holiday gift for the man who has everything (including a dresser full of dusty cologne bottles)? Or are you the jaded recipient of these colognes?

Bet you haven't tried Eight & Bob ... a light, fresh, clean fragrance that quickly got my husband hooked. Its backstory is so interesting, it's no wonder the product itself is packaged in a black-and-white striped box made to look like a book.

Seems there was a French aristocrat named Albert Fouquet, a perfume connoisseur who created his own scents in his family home, but, despite their popularity, refused to market them. That is, until a fateful night in 1937 as he was vacationing on the Riviera. Fouquet met an American student who was touring the country ... a student who happened to be John F. Kennedy. Kennedy got a whiff of Fouquet's cologne and liked it so much, he talked Fouquet into leaving him a sample at his hotel.

After Kennedy returned home, Fouquet received a thank-you letter and a testimonial about the scent's popularity among Kennedy's friends. The future president of the United States asked for eight more samples -- "and if your production allows, another one for Bob," he asked for his brother. Fouquet sent samples in boxes decorated with the same striped pattern as the shirt Kennedy wore when the two met, and he labeled the bottles and boxes Eight+Bob.

Fouquet was surprised a few months later when he began receiving letters from America with fragrance requests from various Hollywood directors, producers and actors, all of whom had a relationship with Kennedy's father through his film-related business ventures.

The rest, as they say, is history. The scent "has been very well received," at her store, says owner Mindy Stewart, owner of Powder & Smoke, the west Little Rock gift boutique that has been carrying the fragrance for two years.

The original Eight & Bob is $175 for 3.4 ounces. Other "flavors" are available; visit eightandbob.com.

FESTIVE OCCASIONS

Two fashion shows, one in Pulaski County, the other in Faulkner, are slated for Nov. 17.

• Carti, the one-stop care center for cancer patients, has announced its 2017 Festival of Fashion event. Part of Carti's fundraising Festival of Trees, the event will be from 5-8 p.m. in the Wally Allen Ballroom of the Statehouse Convention Center. Chaired by Shannon McKinney and Charley Swann, the event will include passed hors d'oeuvres, swag bags and a runway show highlighting styles from central Arkansas boutiques. Pam Cox will be honored as Carti's 2017 Style Icon. Tickets range from $50 individual to $1,000 for a box of 10 VIP seats. Visit Carti.com or call (501) 660-7616.

• Two up-and-coming young designers in Conway are hosting The Aspire Fashion Show and Exhibition, 6-8 p.m. at 1018 Oak St. in Conway. The event is spearheaded by students and business partners Sabrina Runge and Hannah Lewter. The two operate Ensemble of Elan, which began as a fashion blog and helps clients clean out their closets of unneeded garments; update clothing pieces that have potential; and supplement their wardrobes with one-of-a-kind pieces from the women's collection of updated secondhand clothing items. The showcase of Runge and Lewter's collection will also be a showcase for other emerging entrepreneurs. Admission is $5. For more information about the women's sartorial enterprise, visit ensembleofelan.com.

TAILORING WORKSHOP

Arkansas Fashion School is hosting a tailoring workshop for students ages 13 and up, 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. and 4-8 p.m. Nov. 17 at the school, 3625 Kavanaugh Blvd. in Little Rock. The workshop is free and open to those of all skill levels. Call (501) 663-3242 to reserve a spot. Also, visit ArkansasFashionSchool.com.

Dressing Room appears monthly. Send fashion tips and news releases to:

hwilliams@arkansasonline.com

Eight & Bob is “a fragrance with a history” — and luckily, it smells good too. Favored by the late John F. Kennedy long before he became president, th...

High Profile on 11/05/2017