Last week, handbag designer Patricia Nash visited Macy’s locations in Minnesota to premiere her new fall collection. I had the opportunity to speak with her for a few minutes and get some background about her and her bags.
How did you get started with your own line of handbags?
I always said when I came up with something really meaningful or unique that I would. I always collected vintage bags. I have always liked bags, but it was just like the light went off when I was in my mom’s closet and found an old bag she had for 50 years – an Italian tooled bag, that was falling apart, but the way it had aged was so beautiful. I have always gone to Italy and Europe, my husband is from London and I said “That’s it.” If I could reproduce this old world craft feeling I think it would make a girl who is 25 reminisce – “oh I remember my grandmother” or a woman my age can remember it from her mother – it looks cool and retro and vintage.
When you see it with a young woman to her it’s really boho and almost kind of casual chic and then you’ll see it on an older woman who remembers that handbag from where she has been.
How long ago did you start?
This vision was about 4 ½ years ago. This is my fourth fall season. It took me until I was 50 years old to finally get it. I think that also inspires a lot of women who say “oh, that’s so cool you started your real career when you were 50!”
What do you think about Trends vs. Timeless or is there a balance between the two?
I like to say this is old world crafted for today’s woman. For one thing, it has to have all the bells and whistles we need. It has to have the strap that is long enough, the pockets and all that kind of thing and the functionality. Whether it is fashion right or fashion forward, that just seems to be interpreted by everyone a little bit differently. If you look at all the big classic brands like Coach or a Dooney, we all can’t say that they are fashionable. They might be trendy. People really appreciate them for the brand – maybe like Coach has amazing leather and it’s a brand that has been around 75 years so you love that brand. You wouldn’t go and say that’s such a trendy looking bag.
Where do your designs come from?
Every single bag is designed by me. It usually comes from inspiration. It could be a flour bag. It could be an old hat box or something I find in Italy or France. Or it could be a really old vintage bag that I almost basically duplicate, but then make it my own with my own hardware or own revised shape. They all have a history to them. They come from some vintage piece. All the prints are from vintage garments that I bought in shops in Paris or London or Milan. I take them to a tannery in Italy and they will reproduce them. They are all unique in that the