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The Philadelphia Daily News
Zazii Bags Have Sass And A-List Star Potential
By REGINA MEDINA
July 1, 2004
When she got the news, Villanova grad Lina Perez-Lammot sprung into action as any good Wildcat would - especially one with a business administration degree.
The entrepreneur, born and raised in Puerto Rico, now living in West New York, N.J., learned from friends that trendsetter Jessica Simpson had sported one of her Zazii handbags on the hit MTV show "Newlyweds: Nick & Jessica."
Perez-Lammot (Class of '99) founded Zazii with a high school pal, Pilar "Pili" Rodriguez Bou, back in 2001. They wanted to create something sassy - "zazii" is a play on the word - for young women their age.
"We make them relevant to people our age and the way people dress today," said Perez-Lammot, 26, of the designs.
She quickly sent a new purse - a gold-beaded "Chloe" bag with gold-plated bangles - to Tina Simpson, Jessica's mom and stylist.
Tina Simpson thanked Perez-Lammot in a hand-written note, telling her to "look out for Jessica to wear it on the red carpet."
She's just being polite, Perez-Lammot thought.
But a few weeks later, on May 12, the blonde star posed with the bag at the Vivendi Universal E3 Kickoff Party in Los Angeles. Photogs from 'round the globe snapped away.
Hours later, after a post-party confrontation with a bouncer at an L.A. club, a sobbing Jessica used the purse over and over again to cover her face from pesky paparazzi.
Bad for Jessica, good for Zazii.
Thanks to Jessica's tears, Entertainment Weekly reps came a-callin' on Zazii looking for 40 Chloe bags, each valued at $165, to include in celebrity gift baskets for the mag's annual bash celebrating its "Must Have" list.
Rodriguez Bou, the designer half of the partnership who is based in Puerto Rico, and Perez-Lammot, who runs Zazii's business end from her New Jersey home, are pretty sure their designs are now in the hands of such A-listers as Julia Roberts, Lindsay Lohan and Beyonce Knowles.
Zazii bags reflect Puerto Rico's most popular dance, salsa, in their fluid design, Perez-Lammot said. It's "creating something that flows just like when you're dancing the salsa or meringue."
Up next for the Latina entrepreneurs is an expanded collection that will include belts and shoes, and a Zazii girls line. (Zazii products are available online at www.zazii.com.)