I met Tina Craig, better known as the Bag Snob, about eight years ago in a luxury handbag showroom. While I was supposed to be the one dishing the facts on the latest handbag collection, she seemed to know much more than me: the type of stitching on the lining, the variety of zipper, and how often it had been used in previous collections. The woman was a bag genius.
So, in my opinion, the only surprise about Craig’s new collaboration with Gianfranco Lotti is that it took this long for her to begin designing a luxury product.
The line, being sold exclusively on Net-a-Porter, consists of nine pieces: three styles in a variety of bright colors and coordinating straps that you can mix and match.
Here, we talk to Craig only a few days after the launch to find out more about her transition from blogger to designer.
You’ve been an influencer and a blogger for over a decade. How has your background informed your collaboration?
"I have reviewed over 10,000 bags on my site and wanted to design a collection that I wasn’t able to find in the market.
"I have always wanted to do a luxury collection. The opportunity with Gianfranco Lotti came up and it felt like the perfect partnership because of Mr. Lotti’s dedication to the artistry of crafting a handbag. Mr. Lotti and his team really allowed me limitless design creativity with this collection."
Tell us about the inspiration behind the collection.
"This is a joyful collection for me. I spent most of my youth in Southern California after immigrating to the United States at almost nine years old. I discovered Schwinn beach cruisers, board shorts, video games and Astro Pops. This collection is inspired by those happy childhood memories centered on endless days and carefree pleasures."
What was the process of designing like?
"It was a long and involved process! Made even more difficult due to geography. We started discussing initial designs in February 2016, had samples ready to show mid-June, and the final delivery was the first week of December. The design process started with meetings between Mr. Lotti and myself in the Florence atelier and continued in Paris during fashion week. We discussed my ideas and how they could be synergized with the Gianfranco Lotti heritage. For the next few months, I would send sketches and photos of inspirations via Skype, email, and WhatsApp. I pulled over on the side of a highway one late afternoon and took a photo of the sky. The multiple striped colored hues I captured that day are now the centerpiece of the collection."
What were some of the challenges you faced during the design process?
"The hand cut and hand sewn birds, sunset, stripes, and palm trees were very complicated and proved challenging from a manufacturing standpoint. Mr. Lotti and his capable team indulged me."
The bags are all very happy and colorful! Is there a suggestion you have for a woman who is a little shyer and afraid of color?
"I have so many friends (including my assistant) who only wear black. A colorful handbag is a great way to style a classic black dress and ease into color."
Tina Craig for Gianfranco Lotti is available exclusively on Net-a-Porter, with prices starting at $595.