Charles & Keith bags on red carpet: Bag's brand 'irrelevant', says stylist

Of all the bags London-based stylist Harriet Byczok laid out before her, it was a black pyramid-shaped wristlet with a gold chain and tassle that caught her eye - a creation from Singapore brand Charles & Keith.

Ms Byczok, who has been styling British actress Maisie Williams for her red carpet appearances since 2014, thought it was a "perfect" match with the flower-embroidered Markus Lupfer gown she had picked for Williams for the 68th Emmy Awards on Sunday.

The Game Of Thrones actress, best known for her tomboyish character Arya Stark in the HBO television series, must have agreed: The evening bag was seen dangling from her right wrist at the annual red carpet event.

Later, at the ceremony's after- party at the Pacific Design Center in California, the 19-year-old swopped the wristlet for another Charles & Keith design - a white prism minaudiere clutch, also from the brand's latest Fall/Winter collection.

Read also: Maisie Williams brought Charles & Keith's $39 handbag to the Emmys 

While most stylists go to great lengths to deck their famous clients in the latest designer gowns and accessories for the red carpet, Ms Byczok says she is not a "brand snob". The fact that Charles & Keith is an affordable, high street brand is "irrelevant", she says.

"I consider accessories from lots of different brands and choose what complements the outfit," she tells The Straits Times in an e-mail interview. "I usually look for bags that aren't too boring and have something unique about them."

She says she came to know of the Charles & Keith designs after the chain's public relations agency in London reached out to her in February. She was prepping to style Williams for an event at the time.

Charles & Keith co-founder Charles Wong says: "Since then, Maisie has expressed interest in our brand offerings and we have been working closely with our PR agency in London to share the latest collections with her stylist."

Since the bag's celebrity appearance, the brand's online store has seen a "significant increase in traffic" from Europe, he says.

As of Thursday afternoon, all three colours - black, bronze and burgundy - of the evening wristlet were sold out online and in stores. The white prism minaudiere was also sold out online.

The wristlet is tagged at $39.90 here, but costs $68.88 (£39) in Britain and $52.77 (US$39) in the United States.

The minaudiere is priced at $89 here, but retails for $139.53 (£79) in Britain and $120.43 (US$89) in the US.

Prices differ from country to country depending on demand, customer base and other factors.

Charles & Keith, founded by brothers Charles Wong, 42, and Keith Wong, 40, opened in 1996 as a small shoe store at Amara Shopping Centre in Singapore. Its designs were well received and there are now 29 stores in Singapore.

The first overseas store opened in Indonesia in 1998. Since then, the brand has expanded to more than 500 stores worldwide in countries such as Japan and South Korea.

It now also designs accessories such as sunglasses, jewellery, bags and phone cases.

The brand's growth spurt was fuelled by a 2011 partnership with French multinational luxury goods conglomerate Louis Vuitton Moet Hennessy (LVMH), which bought a 20 per cent stake in the business for a reported $30 million.

LVMH also manages luxury houses such as Christian Dior, Loewe and Givenchy.

Mr Ravi Thakran, chairman and managing partner of L Capital Asia, the Asian private equity business of LVMH, calls Charles & Keith's red carpet debut a "milestone" for the brand. "I believe that the brand will be successful internationally. Its product quality and design are on a par with any other global high street fashion brand or may be even better."

This is not the first time that Williams has been spotted with the brand's bags.

A day before the Emmys at the British Academy of Film and Television Arts Awards' Los Angeles TV tea party, she paired the bronze version of the wristlet with a metallic burnt orange dress from Henry Holland, which had a space rocket and star print.

Mr Wong says: "We are definitely thankful for the positive reaction that has been garnered. Moving forward, we will continue to be experimental with our designs."

This article was first published on September 23, 2016.
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