The Lady who loves the Nile Crocodile
By Gioia Gange
Here the secret life of Emanuela from Guema Barnaba the brand that has enchanted the handbags’s addicted.
When and how you decided that you wanted to be a designer?
I have always dreamed about being a designer, but when I had to choose a course at University, I decided to study Business Administration. When I moved to London, I started to work as a Stylist and during this, I realised that I was never able to find the perfect bag that could match the looks I was creating. I realised there was a gap for something. I love exotic bags, but if I wanted to add an one to a look I was styling, I had to go for a very classic shape, no one was doing exotic skins in fun different shapes and materials. I wanted something different so I decided to create them myself. Now, I have realised that the truth was that even if I loved fashion styling, I still wanted something more – to pursue my dream of being an accessories designer… or at least I wanted to try, so I decided to give it a go! I did some design courses and now here I am!
It was your dream job?
Yes it definitely is!
Which is the first thing you designed and for who (yourself, a friend…)?
I have always had a special attraction and passion for handbags, I used to collect them. I just love and adore them, so as you can imagine, the first thing I designed was a bag which I dedicated to my mum. I knew what she was always looking for a bag and I wanted to create it. I also named it after her.
Who’s the designer you admire the most and why?
A designer I really admire is Edgardo Osorio from Aquazzura. I love all of his creations and I admire the passion and dedication he put in. I love the way he manages to follow every little step of Aquazzura and the way he interacts with his customers. He is often in his stores checking the collections himself and he organises amazing cocktail parties in the various stores where he meets his clients directly. I believe it is very important to always be in direct contact with the people your work is dedicated to. I believe he has a big passion and he has always worked hard to realize his dream, he deserves the success he is getting.
Who’s your muse, your icon, when you create a bag?
Each bag I create is dedicated to someone but I do not have a single icon. I choose the person to whom I want to dedicate my bag and then I start to create it, taking inspiration from the person.
As a matter of fact, my bags are dedicated to the women I admire most in my life, the ones who inspires me. As an example, the first bag I created was dedicated to my wonderful mum, the second one was dedicated to my mentor when I was a stylist..
If you had to design an entire collection using just one colour, which is the one you’d pick and why?
I think I would choose royal blue. I just love it, and I love blue in general. I love all its variation and I think it can always be worn with everything. I always add a blue tone in each of my collection. By the way, the first bag I designed was a Blue Mary-Frances…
Who’s the first person you show your sketches to?
The first people I show my collection to are my husband and my parents, they are my first advisors and critics as well as my biggest supporters.
The fabric you love the most… and why?
The skin I love the most is Nile Crocodile, it is elegant, chic and exotic and it can be treated in so many finishes.
If your bags had a soundtrack, which songs you’d choose?
That is a good question, I would go for “Just can’t get enough” Depeche Mode
Do you have any trick to avoid that “blank page” moment when you’re at the beginning of the designing of a new collection? Do you watch a movie, flip an old magazine…
I am always designing and thinking about new creations. I am a very curious person as well as very sensitive so I easily get inspired by everything that surrounds me. I love to travel and lots of my ideas comes from the places I visit and different cultures. I love to just walk around or sit at a cafe, observing all the people around me. I get inspired a lot by nature as well. Every time something grabs my attention I make a mental note and soon as I try to sit down and elaborate it. When it comes to the moment I need to start designing a new collection, half of my work is already done. In addition to the above, I research and read a lot.
If I am really in front of a blank moment, I just get out of my studio and go for a walk, depending on where I am, I tend to go where people are, or where there is some nature.
If you weren’t a designer which job in the fashion world you would like to do and why?
If I wasn’t a designer I would probably still be a fashion stylist…