By Marcy Clark
The lovely and talented Kristine Gottilla recently displayed her new sought-after handbag collection at the Women’s Mafia Spring/Summer 2010 Fashion Show and now Women’s Mafia members and guests get to meet her and try on her bags for themselves! Meet her at the Women’s Mafia Insider’s Lounge: A Highly Productive Day At The Spa this Saturday Dec. 5th. RSVP to Marcy@womensmafia.com.
Women’s Mafia: You make hand-sewn handbags that people literally swoon and moan over when they first see them. What drew you to handbags? What sets your designs apart?
KG: I’ve always thought of a handbag as the finishing touch for your day’s attire, one that exudes your personality and may give the first impression of your style to others. Having said that, I find this product particularly interesting and consistently challenging to design for that reason. I would say the main feature that differentiates my work from many others lies in my method of construction. I have a fine arts background, which i think is responsible for the overall aesthetic, along with costume design, which taught me the technical necessities for making a strong and functional hand made bag.
WM: When did you realize you could make your passion your career? Where were you living at the time and what influences were around you?
KG: I’ve grown up with the principle belief that if you are passionate about something it is your level of perseverance and patience that will determine whether this becomes your career or stays your hobby. I was living in Brooklyn, working as a painter in a commercial studio, when I knew I wanted to work for myself and explore my potential as an independent artist and designer.
WM: You collaborate a lot with Perry Gargano, the sculptor and jewelry designer, how did that collaboration start? How important do you think collaborating and social networks are to a designer?
KG: Perry and I were introduced through a mutual friend and pretty much immediately began collaborating. From the very first moment he held up one of his hardware pieces to one of my bags, I fell in love with the contrast between materials and their complimentary effect on one another and as a whole. My line would be very different today, had I not met Perry when I did. I am extremely grateful to work in such proximity to such talent, and I think any designer would benefit from similar influence if it is available.
WM: When do you feel powerful? What energizes you?
KG: Seeing and doing anything new, whether it be through traveling or making, both provoke great and useful energy.
WM: What can the Women’s Mafia make happen for you?
KG: Women’s Mafia draws alot of attention to the designers it features in it’s articles and at events. This is very important as an emerging designer and for this reason and many others, I completely intend on continue my relationship with Women’s Mafia..
WM: Lastly, will you share with us – what is the wildest/bravest thing you’ve done?
KG: Wow. I’m not totally sure- Maybe moving to Italy alone, not knowing anyone at all. But someday I hope for my answer to be skydiving!