For the launch of UP COLLECTION, luxury accessory designer Stefania Pramma teamed up with artist Sara Berman to create a playful installation of handbags and paintings, displayed for one night only in the colourful interiors of 5 Hertford Street’s exclusive nightclub, Loulou’s. Millie Walton spoke to the designer about her inspiration, Italian heritage and obsession with dogs.

Designer Stefania Pramma at Mayfair nightclub, Loulou's

Stefania Pramma

Millie Walton: How did your collaboration with Sara Berman come about?

Stefania Pramma: I met Sara through my sister who is an art collector and we just clicked. I love the colours and the sense of the humour in her paintings – they’re so beautiful – and so I asked her almost immediately if she could create something that’s not too pretty and not too perfect that would work with Pramma’s playful ethos. The paintings Sara produced are about gesture and moments, and are inspired, I think, by images I have of my sister and I with the bags in a cab in New York and also dogs… I love dogs! Pramma is really about the intimacy of the bag, the way you hold it, everything that it means to be a woman. That’s why I paid particularly close attention to the bags’ clasps – they’re more mechanisms than locks – you really have to think about how to open it so it feels secret and personal.

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MW: What are the inspirations behind this new collection?

SP: I always want to create timeless pieces. The bags have a signature shape, and then the freshness comes from different textures. For example with this collection, I wanted to feature embroidery, but not classic, ladylike embroidery, something a bit cooler and unique, which is why I chose chain embroideries although its extremely difficult to do! I am also really inspired by architecture and geometry; the way the bag is constructed is very specific so it stands in a certain way and the handle has a certain shape so you feel elegant when you hold it. The bags need to be special, which is why I incorporate precious gemstones and jewellery, but not untouchable. These are sturdy, day bags, but feminine too, there’s a softness created through curves and smooth lines.

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MW: How has your approach to design changed over the years and is that a reflection of the contemporary consumer?

SP: I don’t design for any specific type of woman. I design into an idea or something that inspires me. It’s not that I think okay there is a hip-hop or Boho trend and design around that – I could do my own version of it, but the inspiration for this collection and all my collections is fundamentally about the timeless of an object. Women want something that they can keep and that’s out of the ordinary. Its not about a particular demographic; I want the bags to be versatile so they can be worn in different ways and by different people.

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MW: Is it important to you that your bags are constructed in Italy?

SP: Yes and by craftsmen in particular, but its actually very difficult to find artisans nowadays because so many have closed down. It has changed so much in the past twenty years. When I started working in fine jewellery in Italy, there were lots of craftsmen but they were already old – sixty or seventy years old – and the young people didn’t want to work in a little artisan shop so many of them didn’t have the support to keep going. There has been such an abuse of the “made in Italy” label with people just putting in the last stitch in Italy, but constructing the bulk of the product elsewhere. I really wanted all of my products to be truly, completely and honestly manufactured in Italy even if it is more of a struggle to find the hands.

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