Mary Frances, handbag and accessory designer (© Mary Frances\MaryFrances.com)

Dear Valued Reader:

MSN Shopping is starting a new series in which we showcase designers and trendsetters we think are making a difference in the world of beauty, fashion and home decor. This month our spotlight is on handbag and accessory designer, Mary Frances.  We sat down to chat with her about her new fall collection and what makes her fan base so unique.  —  Mary Sieler, MSN Shopping Managing Editor

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My own personal love affair with Mary Frances designs began when I stumbled upon her work in a little boutique after moving to Seattle to work at MSN. I remember peering into the case and seeing my first glimpse of heaven. It was called ‘Field of Dreams’ and it had a little multi-colored silk orchid blossom with a bejeweled butterfly fluttering on the front. More tiny butterflies were embroidered on the pale green fabric and the handle was an artistic creation of tiny shimmering stones, gold gems and beaded embellishments. It was so very exotic, yet so girlishly feminine. I was in love. I remember thinking, “Who is this Mary Frances? I must have more of her creations!”

I’m not the only one who fell in love with her designs. Once the love affair begins, a passion blossoms like one of her many floral-inspired handbags. Mary Frances reports that her fans are as varied as her handbags: She states that some of her “collectors own anywhere from 30 to over 100 bags” and her designs can be seen on such celebrities as Britney Spears, Jennifer Aniston and Kate Hudson. She shares a story about Elizabeth Taylor who had a brief stay in a Los Angeles hospital and bought so many pieces from the gift store that the manager had to call the local rep because she had cleaned them out.

Whimsical & Signature Floral Style bags