Marina Raphael, Giovanna Engelbert Launching Swarovski Bag Collection – WWD

LONDON – Here’s the full circle for handbag designer Marina Raphael, who has just launched a capsule collection of crystal evening bags with Swarovski.

Raphael of the sixth generation Swarovski but she’s spent the last few years building her own eponymous luxury leather handbag brand from her hometown of Athens, Greece.

She has achieved a lot, with Sustainable capsule collection for Italian retailer LuisaViaRoma; Online sales skyrocketed in the final year of closing; and a sold out collaboration with Influencer Evangelie Smyrniotaki, went to everyone from Chiara Ferragni to supermodels Izabel Goulart and Ashley Benson.

Sparkling and gorgeous decorations have always been a part of Raphael’s designs, but now she’s taking things to the next level, collaborating with Swarovski’s new creative director. Giovanna Engelbert and designed her most technically defiant bags to date, entirely made of crystal.

“We have been working with Giovanna for over a year. It’s been an incredibly long process, says Raphael, to perfect the bag and make it the ultimate, one-of-a-kind accessory.

Through many Zoom calls, the duo created three designs: A crystal baguette bag; a small tote bag dubbed the “Sleepless S” and featuring over 88 interlocking crystal rings; and an evening “Lucen” clutch cut in the shape of a giant emerald crystal perfectly cut and designed to refract light from any angle.

Swarovski x Marina Raphael

Swarovski x Marina Raphael
Courtesy of Marina Raphael / Swarovski

Prices range from 1,500 to 2,500 euros.

“We had the idea of ​​women holding a giant gemstone instead of a bag. It’s something new that also goes back to Swarovski’s core crystal business and makes that signature material the hero of the collection,” said the designer, who handled the whole thing. production process added.

“It was one of our most challenging projects to date, in terms of the engineering aspects of the manufacturing process. Given the transparent nature of crystal, that means everything has to be seamless: there are no stitches and nothing can be hidden under the fabric. It needs to be built to perfection. ”

Engelbert, who used to wear Marina Raphael bags in the past, is in the process of revamping Swarovski with futuristic campaigns featuring fashion heavyweights like Adwoa Aboah, refreshing retail concepts and page design. new chunky power.

These bags are part of Engelbert’s second collection for the company and part of its mission to “evolve the crystal lifestyle” in new ways. They also appear in her latest campaign, starring Lourdes Leon.

“Giovanna is a true force of nature: very creative, energetic and fun. She respects me as a professional, understands the quality I strive for in my bags and doesn’t see me as just a young designer,” said Raphael, adding that she fully supports The new direction Engelbert has driven Swarovski and how she blends a modern perspective with the company’s crystal heritage.

Partnerships, despite becoming a buzzword in the last year, have always been a key part of a young brand’s recipe for success, with Raphael seeing this type of engagement as a marketing exercise as well as a learning experience. experience for yourself.

Swarovski x Marina Raphael

Swarovski x Marina Raphael
Courtesy of Marina Raphael / Swarovski

She blockbuster cooperation with Smyrniotaki, best known as Style Heroine on Instagram, has given her new insights into art directions and digital media, while a more recent collaboration with sustainability and fashion influencer Doina Ciobanu is all about creating the most sustainable bag without compromising on the fashion factor.

“These projects help you move forward creatively and help you reach different audiences and perspectives. As a young brand, you have a lot to learn whether it’s technical knowledge, design or materials research. For example, my first vegan bag with Doina I opened my eyes even more to sustainability and the material choices we have,” says the designer, pointing to the use of recycled cotton and leather made from remnants of wood. industrial apple processing.

Next up for Raphael is a new version of the popular “Evangelie” bag; a new small leather goods collection to help diversify her price range; and support orders for the 20 new retail partners the brand has taken on for the upcoming spring.

Swarovski x Marina Raphael

Swarovski x Marina Raphael
Courtesy of Apostolos Koukousas | Marina Raphael, Giovanna Engelbert Launching Swarovski Bag Collection – WWD


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