NEW ORLEANS – BENE Handbags Founder Ellie Schwing, Artist Alexa Pulitzer and Preservation Hall Creative Director Ben Jaffe announced a collaboration design launch of the capsule collection handbag. Created to highlight New Orleans artists and raise funds for local culture bearers all in style, each luxury BENE handbag will feature Alexa Pulitzer’s iconic “King Gator” sculpted and hand-dipped in gold for the handbag closure, and a nylon liner featuring the original handwritten score of Preservation Hall Jazz Band’s “Keep Your Head Up,” which was written by Jaffe. The handbags are currently available for purchase at benehandbags.com, alexapulitzer.com and preshallfoundation.org.
“BENE handbags blend the best of Italian craftsmanship with a dash of New Orleans soul and whimsy,” said Schwing. “As a native New Orleanian, I find it extra rewarding to partner with local artists and organizations to generate a lasting positive impact through the purchase of my products.”
Pulitzer added, “When Ellie approached me about collaborating, I was thrilled to work with another woman dedicated to Italian Made quality products and style. I serve on the board of the Preservation Hall Foundation and knew they were the perfect beneficiary and partner for this unique alliance of creative forces.”
In addition, the title, spirit and lyrics of “Keep Your Head Up” were so important to both the designers and music fans around the world during the pandemic, the artists also decided to create a cotton-woven guitar strap with the phrase featured in Verde Como and Tabasco Red. These straps are inspired by traditional guitar straps which can be added to your BENE handbag or for musicians to wear with their instruments.
“’Keep Your Head Up’ is a message of hope and perseverance,“ declared Jaffe. “Collaborating with Alexa Pulitzer and BENE allows our message to continue to be spread in new and exciting ways. The funds raised will allow us to continue the important work our foundation does every day in our community.”
A portion of proceeds from the sales of these limited-edition handbags will benefit the Preservation Hall Foundation’s mission to protect, preserve and perpetuate New Orleans music and culture. Today, that means ensuring the musicians and tradition bearers who make up Preservation Hall’s 60-member Musical Collective receive the support and resources they need for the duration of the COVID-19 crisis, and the Foundation’s new online music education resource, Preservation Hall Lessons, is available FREE to K-12 classrooms nationwide.