The spirit of our Fall 2011 collection came after an evening spent with the charming, disarming, couture-clad Anna Dello Russo. Under her spell, and with a newly sharpened sensibility and boldness, I began to madly thumb tack on our design boards: Feathered plumes, sequins, draped chain-mail and tassels, all in rich tones and textures – matte and shiny snakeskin, soft suedes – and leathers with vintage patina finshes. I couldn’t imagine Anna shying away from the exotic or theatrical. And really how bold is too bold for a little bag anyway?
Late one night when my four boys were asleep I began reflecting on how a new bag, one that is well priced and can be worn in many different ways, can transform your wardrobe. Then I found myself thinking about the women who inspire me – not just the fashion girls, but women like Martha Graham, Maria Callas and Sonia Delaunany. Brave, strong characters because when the going gets tough, the tough get chicer and even more creative and resourceful than ever.
Sonia Delaunay remains a constant inspiration for her role as a Renaissance woman, painter, business woman and textile and costume designer. In the early 20th Century, she lent her talents to Coco Chanel and the Ballet Russe. I started Googling and found incredible costumes from that period of ballet, and, by coincidence an exhibit at the V&A in London that explored the world of influential artistic director Serge Diaghilev and his stimulating performances like “The Firebird”, or “L’Oiseau de Feu”.
From there, we created day clutches decorated with asymmetrical plumes in contrasting colours and textures, and evening satin minaudieres with feathers like a peacock’s tail. The Espey clutch features stars made entirely from sequins so you can really shine in the evening. Our new day bag, The Becker, comes with an abstract hair calf print and color blocking, while the Morley clutch is made from a metallic cubist brocade that is super chic for the evening.
For once I named a bag after someone I do not know personally, albeit someone so familiar to me – hence, the Delaunay. The color combinations, craft and geometry that characterized her work are present in our day and evening collections Sonia Delaunay – forward-thinking, creative and eclectic – I hope to bring this avant-garde spirit to the collection.