Good Morning, Vietnam

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Care to guess the source of the hottest handbags of the moment—the ones that celebrities like Toni Braxton, Sarah Michelle-Gellar and Cate Blanchett have been toting? The answer is Hanoi—or, to be precise, the Vietnamese capital's Ipa-Nima boutique (ipa-nima.com). Founded in 1997 by a onetime lawyer, Hong Kong-born Christina Yu, Ipa-Nima had grand ambitions from the outset, exporting colorful, individually patterned handbags under its own label to stores like Henri Bendel and Barney's in Manhattan, and Harvey Nichols in London. Although diehard fashionistas were quick to discover Ipa-Nima, it's only in the past couple of seasons that the...

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