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Can Theory's New Unbranded Luxe Bags Unseat Mansur Gavriel?

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Officewear mainstay Theory is in evolution mode. In the months since Olivier Theyskens left the role of artistic director for the brand—his last collection being pre-spring 2015, which is what you'll likely find in stores at the moment—the company promoted Lisa Kulson to the top of the design ranks, showing a fresh direction for spring. "Breezy but sophisticated," was how a Theory rep described the new look when we toured the collection in their New York City showroom.

Beyond slouchier silhouettes, the brand is also producing its own shoe and bag ranges for the first time, a small starter collection scheduled to hit stores this month. (Theory stores have stocked accessories in the past from third-party vendors like Mansur Gavriel and Common Projects.) In the footwear department, there are two sandal styles available: a minimalist heel at $595 and a cross-front flat style with a jute footbed for $395. Four bag shapes have made their way into the debut of the category, a tote in two sizes, a crossbody, a shoulder bag, and a bucket style, ranging from $295 to $695. The bags come with two different, detachable straps designed to help them float between more polished and more casual, and have nearly undetectable branding and quiet hardware. As that same rep explained, "Unbranded is our brand."