designer 101: adriana castro

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i am so thrilled today to introduce one of my favorite handbag designers, adriana castro.  born in colombia, adriana now lives and designs in miami, creating stunning bags in every color imaginable, entirely from sustainably-raised exotic leathers.  the results are striking, updated classics that you’ll never tire of.

for those of you lucky enough to be in the NYC area, adriana is making a personal appearance at henri bendel today from 11am – 6pm, where devoted fans can meet her, see her newest designs, and even custom design a bag with adriana!  i think i would faint with excitement.

for the rest of us, adriana was kind enough to sit down and answer a few questions about her designs, her style, and those beautiful exotic leathers!  click over at the right to check out the entire interview (yes, we’re trying something new…).

shoppingsmycardio:  i love that your designs manage to blend classic silhouettes with modern details and bold colors.  can you tell us a little about what inspires you with each collection?  

adriana castro:  Really, I get inspiration from all over but most of my inspiration comes from the individual skins.  I can envision my handbags just thinking of how the skins will drape and how the different textures will blend together. Also, color!  I am in love with color – it is so powerful. In Miami, where I live and work, I am surrounded by an amazing, vibrant palette…from the tropical landscape,to the unique architecture, I am constantly thinking of new ideas just walking around the city!

SMC:  in this economic climate, so many of us are looking for great deals.  can you talk a bit about the long-term value of investing in an exotic bag today, and whether/why it’s a splurge worth making?

AC:  Right now, you need classic, timeless bags that are not so identifiable the way the “it” handbags were.  An exotic can be carried throughout the year and for many years, always making an impact. Quality accessories instantly elevate your look, so carrying a great handbag is an easy way to always look polished. Exotics are like fine wine, they age really well – the older your bag, the better it looks! 

SMC:  how would you help a woman choose her first bag from your collection?  

AC:  You should choose a handbag that suits your personality and lifestyle!  If you have a social personality and like to be noticed, you should definitely go with bright colors. If you tend to prefer a more classic look, you should stick to more neutral colors – though they do not stand out like the bold colors, they are still very chic and fashionable.

Skin is also relevant. There are some skins that by nature are more delicate than others. So if you are looking for an exotic to carry every day, let me suggest ostrich and crocodile, as they are less delicate than python.

Finally, you should choose a bag that is opposite to your body type. If you are tall and skinny, your handbag should not be.  Also, choose a handbag proportional to your size.  If you are petite, I would not suggest carrying an oversized, slouchy handbag.

SMC: now a couple of fun questions! other than your own designs, what are the three items in your closet right now that excite you the most?

AC:  I am in “spring mode” so I am in love with nudes:  silky, transparent tops and neutral pumps.  So I’d have to say my Anick Vorbe Silk Chiffon Tunics, for romance, my J Brand Low Rise Pencil Leg Jeans for versatility, and my Christian Louboutin Python Pumps, which are so flattering!

SMC:  what one style secret do you wish you could teach everyone out there?

AC:  Style is personal.  You may love it and the person sitting next to you may hate it. It doesn’t matter!  What matters is how you feel.  If you feel beautiful, you are looking beautiful!  Never be afraid to experiment and express your personal style. It’s okay to mix colors and textures without overthinking it too much!

a huge thank you to adriana for teaching us all a little bit about her beautiful line, exotics in general, and for giving some great style tips as well!  i’ll be taking her handbag-selection advice with me the next time i shop, no question!

for those of you in manhattan, stop by bendels on your lunch today to meet adriana and see her stunning bags in person!  the rest of us will have to settle for online ogling at her website.

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