Elly Clay: Leather & Studs Fixation

The New York City based designer duo launched Elly Clay in 2008 and swiftly captured bag lovers in the country's fashion mecca. Blogosphere's most elite websites such as Poshglam, Handbago and Stylequest, have gone gaga for the NYC made leather bags. In fact, Elly Clay's Billie Jean Metal Mesh Clutch was nominated at this year's Handbago award for best clutch alongside the late Alexander McQueen's Fresh Laced Knuckle Box Clutch. Fashionistas love that Crystal and Stacey's designs manages to deliver the modern woman, chic and sophisticated pieces while maintaining functionality.

Haylett explains the origin and goal of Elly Clay, "The concept behind the line was born from the need to celebrate femininity and focus on functionality. I wanted to design a handbag that was very stylish and easily accessible." She turned to long time friend Giambastiani for partnership. With their extensive background in styling and fashion, the duo had acquired necessary knowledge to successfully launch their very own collection.

Elly Clay is new but the name is already attracting tinsel town's starlets such as Oscar nominee Taraji Henson, Stephanie Pratt from The Hills, sisters Hallie and Hillary Duff, 90210 actress Annalynne Mccord and brunette buxom beauty Kim Kardashian. The brand has also graced the pages of Marie Claire, Essence and Z!nk magazines. Frankly, who would not adore Elly Clay's sexy and classy bags?

Their collections are made with the finest leathers from around the world. Nolcha CEO Kerry Bannigan was aware of the line's high quality and was thrilled to have Elly Clay showcase their latest creations during New York Fashion Week. In addition to the brand's appearance at fashion's most important seven days, Haylett and Giambastiani's handbags also starred in an October trunk show at NYC's Henri Bendel on Fifth Avenue.

It seems like a designer's fairytale come true but victory is never achieved without hurdles, "Making our first leather sample was a nightmare and came out less than what we expected. I was introduced to someone who made samples for high-end designers. He was pricey, but I felt assured that he would come out with the result we wanted because of his background."

It turned out to be a brutal and condescending experience. "We were charged the same amount as the established designers for samples but were constantly pushed back and looked over for A-list designers." The mother of two confessed, "I learned a valuable lesson from that. Don't let anyone throw you off your path. Stick with your vision and don't doubt your creativity."

Since the traumatic incident, Haylett says "I have been able to work with really wonderful people who affirm my talent and are encouraging." Elly Clay is on the right path, "We have orders and we receive great feedback wherever we go." Perhaps it was Haylett and Giambastiani's newly found fierceness that inspired the additions to their collection. Their line features bags with distinct characteristics.

One of which is the Farah Fringe (my favorite bag at the moment), featuring expandable compartments with gunmetal hardware. Elly Clay's collection is versatile and meets individual style. Whether it be clutches, hobos or satchels- there is a bag for every woman. The brand is accessible through a number of New York City and London boutiques, including BlueBag on Elizabeth Street. What's next for Elly Clay?

In a recent conversation with designer Crystal Haylett, she mentioned her dream of expanding the brand into department stores such as Bloomingdale's, Macy's and Barney's New York. With a growing list of celebrity and socialite fans, it won't be long until the euphoric feeling of international retail success takes over.