Add an extra special piece to your handbag collection this season, as Tina Craig collaborates with luxury leather accessory brand Gianfranco Lotti for a nine-piece capsule collection with coordinating straps. Exclusively available on Net-A-Porter.Com, Bazaar speaks to the founder of the world-renowned blog Bag Snob about her stylish life and what it was like creating the line of colourful designs.
What is your first fashion memory? I remember being obsessed with a pair of red patent leather shoes when I was about 5 years old, I refused to wear any others! There are photos of me wearing the red shoes with purple dresses (my other favourite colour at the time) and shorts to play in the park. I’m sure my family thought I looked silly, but who knew I was so fashion forward! I guess you could say red shoes have been an obsession of mine for a lifetime.
How did you come to create your own brand? I have always wanted to do a luxury collection. The opportunity with Gianfranco Lotti came up and it felt like the perfect partnership because Mr. Lotti’s dedication to the artistry of crafting a handbag was in line with mine for design.
Who is the Tina Craig woman? She is fearless, undaunted by challenges and embraces new experiences. She is not intimidated by going to parties without a date or friends because she knows she will make new friends. Basically, she is a woman who loves life and lives it to the fullest with joie de vivre.
What was it like collaborating with Gianfranco Lotti? It was a long and involved process, made even more difficult due to geography. The design process started with meetings between Mr. Lotti and myself in the Florence atelier and continued in Paris during Paris Fashion Week. We discussed my ideas, how it could be synergised with the Gianfranco Lotti heritage and values. After that, for the next few months, I would send sketches and photos of inspirations and colour stories via Skype, email and WhatsApp. I start by thinking about what women are carrying, what’s missing in the market, and what my readers, friends and I want from a bag. I take a lot of photos, go through tons of vintage magazines and stores, and define the shapes before choosing the colour story.
I also believe quality, form and function are equally important. We went back and forth with different patterns and colour schemes until we got what we felt was the perfect collection. Even though the hand cut and hand sewn birds, sunset, stripes, palm trees, etc were very complicated and proved challenging from a manufacturing standpoint (we hand drew the birds), not to mention very costly- Mr. Lotti and his capable team indulged me. Despite the challenges, I am grateful to have designed my first luxury collection under the guidance of Mr. Lotti, who has been known for fine Italian leather craftsmanship for over 45 years, melding my ideas with the house’s iconic elements, like the Florentine gate pattern and the key holes makes the bags very unique and beautifully complements the entire collection. Mr. Lotti and his team really allowed me limitless design creativity with this collection.
Three Of The Designs From The Collection
What was it like working with Net-A-Porter? I could not have asked for a more supportive retail partner! When I showed Billie (the Senior Buyer at Net-A-Porter) the collection in NYC during market and saw her enthusiasm and support for the collection, I knew we had to go exclusive with them. I’ve worked with Net-A-Porter for almost 11 years, both as an affiliate partner and brand (with the Bag Snob x DKNY bag collaboration) and there is a deep level of mutual trust and respect.
Tell us about your current collection? It’s a joyful and happy collection of beautifully crafted bags, with a sense of whimsy at an elevated taste level. These qualities are what it’s really about for me and if a bag can evoke such feelings for bag lovers around the world, then I couldn’t be happier. The bags’ colourful side panels were inspired by the freedom and joy I felt as a child riding my bike all day, until dusk along the coast in Los Angeles. They depict birds on the wing, a sunset and stripes — all rendered in hand-cut and sewn calfskin. Our bags have a sense of whimsy but the quality is incredible. It’s an unusual combination. Gianfranco Lotti has been known for fine Italian leather craftsmanship for over 45 years, melding my ideas with the house’s iconic elements makes the bags very unique.
Which is your favourite piece from the collection? This is the most difficult of questions! The bags are like my babies, from the first sketches to the final products, it took about 9 months so it’s literally like we gave birth to them. But if I must choose, I would say the Galaga tote in sunset shades of red and purple with coordinating bird strap. I find myself pulling it on daily because it’s the perfect day-to-night bag in colours that seem to go with everything.
How does it feel to debut with Net-A-Porter? I feel humbled to debut with Net-A-Porter and to see my bags, alongside my favourite designer brands. It’s surreal. Before the actual launch and seeing it on the site, I kept thinking Billie was going to call me and say, “Sorry darling, we’ve changed our minds!” Luckily, that call never came!
What inspires you? Children inspire me. I love sitting with kids and seeing the world from their eyes. Everything becomes a wonder. The sun rising and setting, birds flying off into the clouds and the pure unadulterated joy of new discoveries.
What is your personal style? I am quite bi-polar when it comes to my style. I don’t limit myself to any particular one. For me, dressing is about a mood. Some mornings I wake up and have urges to put on a vintage YSL tunic with purple tights, so I do it. But most days I am in jeans. I collect vintage tops and super fancy jackets that I like to wear with distressed jeans too.
Who is your fashion icon? The late Lou Lou de la Falaise whom I had the pleasure of knowing before her death. I hosted the debut of her jewellery collection with Oscar de la Renta in LA and in Dallas. I loved listening to her stories of working with Yves Saint Laurent and how she lived life unapologetically to her own tune. I’ll never forget when I tried to go home after our dinner and she wouldn’t let me. She said, “You want the secret to eternal youth?! Stop worrying about bedtimes and waking up early! Dance a lot, laugh a lot, love a lot, and kiss often." She was flawlessly imperfect, and in my opinion she created the original model off duty look in the 60s.
Tina Craig With One Of Her Designs