By Marcy Clark
Last night I went with fashionistas Engie Hassan, Sarah Anolik and Iman Hussein to Bag Guru Pamela Pekerman’s BagTrends event for LaLucca – a gorgeous collection of handbags! We had a fab time hob-nobbing with Pamela, our friend baker Tawny Ong (who recently designed an amazing cake for Lady Gaga), and many more fabulous, fashionable women.
One of the lines that LaLucca creates features Hand-Painted canvas. We wanted to share this BagTrends Q&A with husband and wife design team Aleksander Kirilov and Laura Pimentel. Enjoy!
|By Pamela Pekerman
A marriage of fashion and art is the best way to describe not only LaLucca accessories, but also the husband-wife co-founders Laura Pimentel and Aleksandar Kirilov.
A Dominican Republican-born and internationally educated designer, Laura launched her handbag line in 2007 after graduating from Miami International University of Art & Designer with a focus in Accessory Design. Then in 2008 she decided to create a limited addition Art Bag line utilizing the artistic talents of her then boyfriend – now husband – Aleksandar, a Bulgarian-born artist whose become a major force in the emerging South Florida art scene. The LaLucca Art Bag collection was so warmly received by shoppers and the press – including international VOGUE and Harpers Bazaar – that it’s become the focal point of the brand.
After meeting Laura and Aleksandar for lunch at Miami’s Shore Club in early December 2009, I knew we had to share their story with you. Enjoy.
| BagTrends: the process of making a LaLucca art bag.
Laura Pimental: It’s involves combining the artwork made in canvas with leather. First the canvas is cut with the pattern of the bag then Aleksandar starts to create his painting. When the art is finished and signed, it’s sealed with a special coating that protects it from being damaged by water, scratches and life’s daily grind. Finally, the artwork is sent to the manufacturer for assembly. The process of making one bag can take up to a week or more, depending on Aleksandar’s painting process and inspiration.BT: are you influenced by the people and visuals of Miami?
Aleksandar Kirilov: Miami is a colorful city; there’s color everywhere. People here dress in bright hues. You can see that influence in our artbags and our leather bags collection.
BT: Which celebrities and people of interest are ideal reflections of the LaLucca brand?
Laura: The woman that wears our art bags is confident in her style and appreciates the relationship between art and fashion. She’s not afraid to stand out in the crowd and create a fashion statement. Celebrities like Nicole Richie, Eva Longoria, the Kardashian sisters, Lauren Conrad, Rachel Bilson, Fergie, Vanessa Hudgens, Blake Lively, Rihanna, and Sienna Miller all come to mind.
BT: Which is your favorite art bag to date?
Aleksandar: All of them are favorites. I can’t pick one.
Laura: My favorite is Dragon Waves and the Cleo fold-over clutch. Cleo is a Mini Wendy in blue with silver accents. It sold right away, but Aleksandar is painting canvas for new Mini Wendys.
BT: What’s new for LaLucca in spring/summer 2010?
Laura: For our leather collection we’re introducing six new styles that are very feminine with soft lines that add movement. For the artbags we introduced two different shapes, the Mini Wendy which is a smaller version (9.5in long vs 15in long) of the Wendy we introduced last year, and the Milla clutch which is a fun shape with a softer body.
BT: What’s it like working with your wife/husband?
Aleksandar: It’s fun. The trick is to forget about work once you enter the house. It’s not always easy, but we try.
Laura: We balance each other. I’m not very organized and Aleksandar is, so he’s always making sure I have everything in order and don’t loose things. We’re a great match in business and in our personal life!.
|BT: What’s next for LaLucca?
Laura: We’re working on expanding our brand. We’ll be introducing scarves in the near future and we may create art bags that aren’t just one-of-a-kind. There might be styles that are limited edition, like one of fifty or one of a hundred in a particular style and artwork finish.
BT: Would you ever consider doing collaborations and if so with what artists? How about putting your art on someone else’s bags?
Laura: For the moment we’re happy with our in house artist! But, who knows, maybe in the future we’ll consider it.