Aug 22, 2014 11:09
If you stop to think about how often you depend on your handbag, not only to carry things about in, but also accessing keys, pens, iPhones, notepads, lipstick.... we do put these fashion items to the test on their practicality often. Speaking with Lara it all seems perfectly clear then how a design teacher became a handbag designer. With an ethos that is about “having it all”, Lara's new company Mia Italia seem set for a long journey. We chatted to Lara about the road so far...
1. What inspired you to begin Mia Italia?
I have been teaching design for the last 20 years and believe, with all my knowledge and expertise, that I would be able to create a range of products that were well-designed but at the same time versatile and practical to a target market that I understand (because I am a multi-faceted woman myself!)
2. Where do you seek inspiration for your designs?
Travel inspires me! Seeing how different cultures live and go about their day-to-day lives is always so inspiring. Mia Italia bags are so practical, and I’ve created them with those women I’ve seen on my travels in mind.
3. Is there a particular bag that has been your go-to lately?
As I have been travelling overseas quite a bit lately for work, I have been using my Mia Italia Campo bag. It’s great for fitting in my wallet and passport, and wearing safely across my body by day before converting to a stylish little clutch at night. I’m rather in love with it.
4. What’s in your bag? Can you spill your top essentials?
My MiniMia clutch is kept inside whatever handbag I’m toting around that day. I keep all my essentials in it, including my wallet, my iPhone, my keys, my mini iPad and lip-gloss. Also loose in my bag is a little sketch book and pen that I scribble down design ideas in, as well as a camera and some Mia Italia swatches.
5. Any tips for keeping your bags in top nick (ie. DIY ways to restoring a leather bag?)?
Always, always store your leather bag in the dust bag it came in, and if you accidentally spill anything on your bag, wipe down with a damp warm cloth. Try and keep leather out of water or direct sunlight to keep it in great condition.
6. What is the best bargain you have ever scored, and do you have any tips for finding a good bargain?
I sometimes go into a chain department store and see a ‘common’ or classic piece of clothing that I buy and change-up myself: cut, sew, embellish, etc. This way it’s unique to me as well as being a nice little bargain in the long-run.
7. Who is your fashion inspiration?
I love Sophia Loren’s high-waisted style with big voluminous skirts and white tops, but now, you can’t go past Olivia Palermo. She is so classic, yet always somehow on trend. I think it comes down to her accessories!
8. What is the most important lesson you have learned in your professional life?
Follow your heart and trust your intuition – it will always leads you to the right place. This goes for personal life, too.
9. Who are the top five people you follow on social media that inspire your work?
@margaret__zhang always has lovely flat-lay shots and glorious foodie pics that inspire, @bat_gio is the ultimate in Italian style and often gets seen in one of my favourite labels and another insta-inspo, @dolcegabbana. @collectivehub often have shots of the kinds of women I design for – the ones who are juggling many titles. Lastly, I adore @thecoolhunter_ because of the travel pics, inspirational artworks and the great branding he has.
10. What are your top 8 inexpensive accessories buys for winter?
1. L’Occitane Almond Delicious Hand Cream: to keep hands and nail-beds in good shape, $12
2. Mia Italia MiniMia Ostrich Clutch in Pale Blue: easily transfers my belongings from one bag to another and is in the colour of the moment, $89
3. I Love Mr Mittens Scarf: a thick knit is great my biggest must for winter and I love the knit textures of this brand that I’d wear again and again, $255
4. Revlon Matte Lipstick in Really Red: nothing says ‘Italian Winter’ to me like a matte red lip and Revlon is so affordable, $22
5. Mia Italia Casale Handbag in Purple: a great pop of colour to break up winter colours, $249
6. Wittner Boots (any kind, any colour, any heel height): I love boots year-round and winter is the best time to put all my boots on rotation
7. Surface Too Deep Super High Bikini: for when I can jet off to Italy to design and order my ranges, $125 (bottoms only)
8. XS by Sally Skoufis Aphrodite Ring: a little bit of glitz that takes me from day to night (just like a Mia Italia bag!), $140
Thanks Lara for taking the time to chat with us.
ps - take a peak at the new Spring arrivals at www.miaitalia.com