Designer spotlight: Interview with bag designer, Sara Battaglia

Designer spotlight: Interview with bag designer, Sara Battaglia

Launching at On Pedder today

Text: Andrea Sim

The designer behind the fanciful, fringed arm candy speaks to us about all things bag-related

Creativity seems to be the strong suit in the Battaglia family. With a sister like Giovanna Battaglia — senior fashion editor of Vogue Japan and contributing fashion editor of magazine — and a brother that deals in the arts, not to mention her mother, who is a sculptor by profession, it's only fitting that Sara Battaglia's passion lies in design as well.

Battaglia's creativity manifested at a young age. While most of us went through our doodling rite of passage perfecting the one-dimensional stick figures, clouds and birds, Battaglia sketched accessories and clothes, progressing on to stage mock fashion shows and sewing clothes for her Barbie dolls thereafter. She famously told her father as a child: "Daddy, I know what I want to do when I grow up. I want to be Salvador Dalí."

I've always had a passion for bags and I think they are the most important accessories for women because we carry our life in them

Now, Battaglia's flow of creativity has an outlet in her eponymous bag label, which launches at On Pedder today. Her designs possess a tender femininity and exuberant confidence that appeals to the modern woman. More interestingly, her focus is not limited to purely the raw aesthetic of the bags, but also takes into consideration the way in which her designs respond to motion when carried.

Here at Buro 24/7 Singapore, Battaglia speaks to us about her favourite picks from the fall/winter 2015 collection, outfits she would pair them with, and the first bag that captured her heart.  

What is it about a bag that excites you? 
When I was young I fell in love with the Birkin, but it was too expensive for me. I've always had a passion for bags and I think they are the most important accessories for women because we carry our life in them. Nowadays, women lead extremely busy lives with many things to do and places to go. I wanted to design bags that could take you from your morning activities to an evening cocktail — bags that would add a sexy finishing touch to any outfit. I would like to expand my collection to include shoes and clothes as well, but we'll have to see what's next! 

Describe the Sara Battaglia woman. Is there a specific type of woman you have in mind when designing?
My sister Giovanna Battaglia is definitely my muse. I always think about her when designing, but the Sara Battaglia woman is someone that is unique, special and cool, and never passes up a chance to look elegant and modern. 

Giovanna Battaglia with the Cindy bag

You crafted your first bag at the age of six. Did you know then that this was something you wanted to do?
Yes, I knew right then it was what I wanted to do. I stole a piece of fabric from my mother's stock when I was six to make that bag. I've been drawing clothes and accessories since I was a baby so I think it really is something written in my DNA: To become a bag designer. I chose to design accessories because they can be swopped out at your whim and fancy and are still a special part of your outfit even if you're dressed down in a T-shirt and jeans. 

If you had to pick a favourite design from your FW15 collection (one for day and another for night), which would it be and why?
I would have to pick the Carol as my favourite bag for the day. It's one of the new styles from the FW15 collection. It's an everyday bag and perfect for work as it has many pockets and is big enough to carry all your things, but still retains the elegance and sexiness that a bag should always have. As for the night, I will definitely go with my new Cutie bag. It's a micro version of the Teresa bag, which like all small bags can be used by itself, or popped into a bigger bag, and is perfect for night events and parties.

What would you match them with?
I'll pair them either with a simple Prada beige and black vichy dress, or with a more masculine outfit like a white shirt and black tailored pants. 

The designs of your bags indicate that you don't pay much attention to trends. That's a very refreshing change. How do you achieve that?
I am actually very reactive to the trends of the moment, but I want my bags to be functional and not just beautiful. I think that's why my collections are so fresh in this aspect; I always try to approach things from a fun angle and of course, keep in mind the needs of women.

Stylist Stila Chen with the Teresa tote

Why fringing? Take us through your thought process.
Fringes are now signature to my collections. I like them for the way they look in motion on a woman's arm — when a woman walks, it follows her and the flow adds a feminine touch to her look.

What's in the near future for you... do you intend to go beyond bags and branch out into other accessories perhaps?
In the next few years I hope I will be able to grow my brand, as well as design other accessories. I would love to do those two things. My biggest dream would be to have my own boutique! The handbag world actually moves very slowly — in comparison to clothes — and success comes at a slower pace. I would like to see my brand achieve a strong worldwide presence, and of course, my very own flagship store. Fingers crossed!

All in all, what is the most rewarding experience that comes with what you do?
There are a couple! Firstly, it hits me everyday that I love what I do, and it truly is the best feeling ever to be able to commit my life to working on things I'm passionate about. Also, to see my hard work come to fruition and my bags purchased by customers — that is definitely very rewarding.

Tell us more about your collaboration with On Pedder.
It's fantastic, and very dynamic. I'm most happy to be able to work something out with them, and I feel extremely proud when my clients are happy about my products. It's great to be a part of this important group. 

Check out more of Sara Battaglia's fall/winter 2015 collection here.