My Interview With Accessories Designer Lara Bellini.
When a woman chooses our bag, …this person must have a lot of courage, because it’s not a simple accessory but a statement piece. -Lara Bellini
By: Roman Kozak
I was invited by my friend to see Lara Bellini’s new showroom in Milan. She had sent me pictures of Lara’s latest campaign and I found the concept of her new bag very appealing. The girl in the campaign was a strong, confident woman and as she walked romantically around the city I noticed the diagonal lines, soft leather structure and strong initials of the signature Lara Bellini bag she carried. These details emphasized the most important design element of the bag – the distended leather butterfly winged shape. These “wings” were perched in romantic supposition, like an additional element to the woman.
I was so inspired by the look that I asked my friend to fix an appointment with Lara for an interview. When the day arrived I entered the showroom and saw the collection with its strong silhouettes, I felt even more excitement about the chance to meet the head designer and to ask her a few questions!
Roman Kozak: These days, many people are able to achieve success without having formally studied design. I know that you studied public relations, Lara, I wanted to ask where your passion came from for fashion. How did you get your start?
Lara Bellini: Yes, that’s true, I got my degree in public relations here in Milan, but I was always passionate about fashion. I was always involved in design events with my husband, Claudio Bellini, who has been working in this area for years. I guess that I developed my taste for design through this. I worked for a shoe designer in their public relations and the press office, but I was interested and enthusiastic about the production of the pieces. There I was able to see the creative process and I really liked it. When I finished working for him I wanted to start something different and the idea for a new project came to me offhand. I was feeling inspired by nature, a butterfly in particular, and decided to create a particular looking bag with a lapel. With the help of a design team, especially regarding the technical process, a collection was born. The silhouettes of all the bags are the same, but the models are different. Now we want to create new bags that are softer, made not just of leather but using other materials to give to the clients a wider selection.
Roman Kozak: Why were accessories your choice? Why did you choose to create bags for woman?
LB: I worked in a sector of fashion that comprised of shoe design, so I feel I am competent in accessories. I felt like bags as accessories are for me. Since I have friends who work in the fashion sphere I was able to learn a lot and recognize that there is a place for a new brand in the bags market, more so than in clothes or shoes ones. This was my intuition, I don’t know if I’m wrong, haha!
Roman Kozak: So how is the work in Milan? In regards to the crisis, in the sphere of fashion, how is it going with clients?
LB: We’ve had difficulties finding people to develop our project; we are a start-up, so we didn’t make a large number of pieces. Now, we have potential clients and a possibility to work in Milan. Using these opportunities to gain “know how”, we were able to develop our concept and get an idea of which bags to create. This February we took part in a trade fair here and many people were interested in our product because of its particularity and luxury. We are very happy to see how the project has been growing successfully.
Roman Kozak: Who is your clientele, Italians or from abroad?
LB: We have more clients from abroad. Italian clients have to see you more seasons – they want to see stability. Italians saw us at the fair and they have said they are interested in seeing us again. On the other hand, clients from abroad are more open and know about Italian quality, especially regarding leather. They don’t have a problem with budgets and they don’t have that fixation on “known brand” – even if a brand is new and unknown, they can recognize a high level of quality in a product. We’ve invested a lot with regards to the quality of the metal and leather materials. To make one Lara Bellini bag it takes 8-10 hours of work. I’m not really sure why the foreign client seems to appreciate that more.
Roman Kozak: Lara, to me your bags seem to fit a strong, confident woman. Did I understand your image of ‘Woman’ correctly?
LB: When a woman chooses our bag, it really gets her noticed. Therefore this person must have a lot of courage, because it’s not a simple accessory but a statement piece. So yes, I feel that the woman who wears our bag is strong and a woman who works a lot. Even if she is wearing a simple outfit, by choosing this bag she emphasizes her character.
Roman Kozak: What can you tell us about future projects, fashion week, presentations – what is your announcement for Lara Bellini for the next season?
LB: As for Women’s Fashion Week, I would really like to participate. For now we’ve made a lot of good contacts and I’ll present the new Spring Summer 2017 collection in September. We will make more samples for a wider selection and also to see how the brand will develop. In the future I’d like to try some capsule collections, maybe dedicated to some brand’s store or to a designer… there are all these ideas in my head! Maybe it’s too early to talk about it. First we need to make Lara Bellini famous!
Lara Bellini represented the brand as a well developed one; they have showroom space in Milan and are open to work with magazines for editorials, for which we are looking forward to! Thank you very much, Lara, I’ll come back to see the new collection in September so that I can tell our readers a new story about Lara Bellini bags…