International fashion house Gucci Group has pounced on the third party market opportunity presented by the Apple iPod music player by introducing its own designer iPod carrying case.

Available online through Gucci's US store, the iPod case is available in multiple colours and at $195 (£110) costs almost as much as the iPod itself does in the USA.

The case is available in this season's Gucci colors: beige/ebony GG plus with dark brown leather trim, green/red/green web carrying handle, and silver hardware.

Gucci's product reflects the healthy market surrounding Apple's product and should appeal to select high-profile iPod users, such as Victoria Beckham.

The market's ripe. Apple's iPod worldwide product marketing manager Danika Cleary told Macworld in February: "iPod accessories sell and sell. There are dozens and dozens of cases and there seems unlimited room for new ones. We have over 100 percent connect rate of cases to iPods. This means everybody buys at least one and many buy more than one."

With Hewlett-Packard set to ship its licensed HP iPod in June, the market for add-on products seems set to grow even more. "We expect HP's broad channel and distribution to do great things for iPod sales worldwide," she said.

Apple's iPod success is opening eyes in European fashion houses. UK fashion insider Gerardine Hemingway, wife of TV fashion pundit and former owner of the Red or Dead fashion label Wayne Hemingway said: "Building iPod bags seems a good idea, and will happen, but I haven't heard anything yet."

Now Gucci has made its play to bring technology closer to haute-couture.