There must be something in the air as hoards of fashion designers flocked to Hong Kong last week. Among them was quirky British accessories designer Lulu Guinness, whom I had never met before but whose fun designs I have always loved (especially her embroidered pouches which are indispensible when I travel).
Meeting her in person you can see why her bags are so unique – she has a great personal style and loves vintage pieces, eclectic prints and surrealist designers like Elsa Schiaparelli. She showed me some her classic pieces from over the years including the rose baskets, embroidered fan bags and bird cages, one of which played a musical tune. At a time when fashion is embracing all that is clean and minimalist, it was nice to experience a bit of fantasy.
Also on display were her iconic lip clutches, which are still the most photographed and borrowed of her styles. Many of her creations border on art and as such have been exhibited by London’s Victoria and Albert Museum and Sotheby’s London and New York.
We also had an interesting conversation about how accessories have grown into a huge market for every brand around the world. Because of this she has added a series of more commercial styles that balance her creative DNA with more wearable designs. They feature her signature touches including lip shaped quilting (her version of Chanel’s famous quilt) and printed linings. My interview with her will be out in the SCMP next month.
In the meantime, take a look at her autumn/winter collection which is inspired by Parisian couture with styles featuring ruching, heavy thread work and appliques. The fabrics are beautiful and include a black, white and gold polka dot print that reminds me of rich brocade. She also dabbled with studs which are rounded like pin heads for a cooler yet softer look. Then there are her signature lip clutches which come with rock inspired black crystals or studs (this is one to invest in, ladies!)
Also coming up is her luggage collection, “The World is Your Oyster” which features hard “spinner” trolley bags embossed with her signature lips in a glossy finish. Each case comes with striped linings, tiny mirror shaped zip pulls and branded drawstring bags for your essentials. Soft cases made from woven jacquard are also available.
Although her bags were previously available at Joyce and Lane Crawford, she is now looking to open her own boutique in Hong Kong (under a joint venture with HK firm, First Eastern Investment). Hope these whet your appetite in the meantime.
Designs from the Lulu Guinness autumn/winter collection including the Swarovski padded lip clutch (left) and Clerkenwell studded suede clutch (right)
Visit www.luluguinness.com to see more.