Like any career, mine has had its ups and its downs – and, like any career, I have definitely experienced my fair share of stressful days, mountains of paperwork, tight deadlines that felt like they would never be reached… the list goes on!
But one of the most incredible highlights of working in fashion design is the experience of seeing your designs come to life. I remember seeing accessories designs I had worked on with my then design partner, Beatrice Mac Cabe, featured on a Vogue cover; watching incredible utilitarian men’s crossbody bags we’d designed for John Galliano making their way down the catwalk in Paris; and then, of course, spotting the first paparazzi shot – the first of many, as it happens! – of the DVF Stephanie handbag, a bag we designed while working at the DVF studios in New York’s Meatpacking district.
When I look back now, I’m amazed at the opportunities I was afforded – and the combination of luck and hard work that led me from working in the accessories studio of Marni in Milan, to John Galliano’s Paris atelier and then to New York, where I spent three years working with Beatrice at DVF. It was an incredibly exciting time, and to see our design worn by celebrities like J-Lo, Beyoncé and Khloe Kardashian was surreal, to say the least!
The bag itself was a knitted leather hobo, at first available in metallic gold – a standout colour that ended up being a firm favourite – and a more muted heather, with an adjustable leather strap. It was very much of its era, the design hitting shelves in 2009, a time of slouchy cardigans, low-slung jeans and skinny scarves that all hit the same kind of glam-bohemian notes we aimed for with the Stephanie.
Of course, one bestselling bag doesn’t mean you retire early – but what it did mean, at least for me, was that I was able to get my US Green Card with the help of the authority given by the patent for the Stephanie, which was in mine and Bea’s names. After my time at DVF, I went on to work at Juicy Couture, also in New York, for two years, before returning home where I was lucky enough to start both a family and a brand new line of handbags, designs which will hopefully someday garner as many paparazzi shots as the Stephanie did. I can dream…!