Not too long ago, Saks invited me to meet handbag designer Nancy Gonzalez. For those not familiar, Nancy has been delivering decadent — read: exotic — handbags since 1998. Think of a Nancy Gonzalez bag as a classic — up there with Chanel and Bottega Veneta — only spicier. That is because Nancy hails from Colombia and splits her time between New York and her native country. She was very warm and vivacious. But when it came her to her bags, she was serious.
Others serious about Nancy's bags include Mary-Kate Olsen, who has recently been carrying her clutches, and a couple appeared in the Sex and the City movie. They're everywhere really; you just have to keep an eye out, as there's no mistaking her bright croc signature. Here's what goes on in the designer's brain.
What made you decide to work with animal skins for your bags?
"I have always worked with precious skins. The collaboration with nature has always fascinated me."
How do you get your colored bags so bright?
"My colors are inspired by the exuberant landscape of my native Colombia. All our skins our naturally dyed and then buffed, which brings out this particular radiant, colorful luster that my bags have."
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Which is your favorite bag from your latest collection?
"I am always attached to those bags which are hardest to do. Such as the woven crocodile ones. In particular, one woven in the shape of leaves."
Your bags are pretty pricey. Are you going to be doing anything in a lower price point in reaction to the current economic crisis?
"One's own state of mind will inform the time and style in which one lives. My job as a designer is to interpret the times with imagination, artistry, and daring. I want to provide a chic, effortless, modern, approachable, and beautiful product at the right price."
Describe the women who wear your bags.
"Every woman that wants a universal, unique, true, exciting, sincere, and joyful experience."