When my favorite Hollywood collectista wanted to introduce me to her favorite handbag designer I was like, “Really? Another one…?” In my last life, I was a handbag whore. I have seen it all and carried it all, and some of the novelty has worn off a bit. Because I trusted this friend soo much, I agreed to let another potential enabler into my life. Thank goodness for open-mindedness or I never would have discovered the beautiful, elegant, and stylish Reyna Icaza and her gorgeous crocodile handbags. Trust me, I know you have a friend who thinks she makes great bags, but these are different. They remind me of Nancy Gonzalez back in the day…but better!
Originally from Nicaragua, Reyna moved to the States over 30 years ago. She was a fashion merchandiser for about 15 years, which had her traveling the world. Then, she studied interior design, which lead to her running Ralph Lauren Home and Williams-Sonoma Home for many years. She had the best time shopping for antiques in Europe and developed a passion for product development. All the while, her true love was always handbags. “A handbag is the exclamation point to every woman’s outfit,” shared Reyna during our download. In her extensive business and personal travels, she discovered amazing crocodile skins and fell even deeper in love. Hence, last fall, she introduced Reyna Icaza handbags via Henri Bendel. They are luxurious, but because she is thoughtful about purchasing materials, she is able to sell at an accessible price point. RI handbags are elegant and sophisticated, but never so precious or proper that you can’t enjoy carrying them. Reyna intentionally adds edgy hardware to appeal to a market that goes well beyond ladies who lunch. Reyna has recently started doing trunk shows to maintain her price point for collectistas all over the United States. She even turned it into a family business, with her mum designing and producing the dust bags, her niece modeling the designs, and her husband doing the branding. All bags are semicustom or custom and are delivered to clients in a four- to eight-week turnaround. All I can say is, I have been wearing my huge red Melrose clutch with gold hardware by day and by night everywhere.
Read more about this stunning designer in our download…
WHAT IS YOUR PROCESS?
I visualize the complexity of life women lead today, and the different roles we play. When I design I keep these lifestyle demands in mind and make sure that I account for these in every handbag, with beauty and grace. I am always creating and iterating my design boards, and when I feel they are truly inspiring, I send them from my office in San Francisco, and to my design team in Nicaragua—where I spent the early years of my life. We Skype often to discuss and refine my concepts into final design drawings. Once these designs are agreed to, I travel to Nicaragua and devote a lot of time to working with my team. We go through patterns and mock-ups until we get scale and design perfect. I’m on my way to Nicaragua right now, to start working on new accessories to add to my collection.
WHAT DO YOU COLLECT?
I collect lush embroidered linens, especially bedding, but they have to be white. I also collect (and wear) the perfect white shirt.
WHAT IS YOUR THEME SONG?
I’m stuck in the ’70s and ’80s genre. My husband does a great job of introducing me to new artists so I’m up-to-date, but I always go back to my genre.
WHO IS THE PERSON WHO INSPIRES YOU MOST?
I don’t have one particular person. There are women icons that I’m attracted to for different reasons…Audrey Hepburn’s elegant, classic, timeless beauty. Diane Keaton’s great style, and her quirkiness at times. Barbra Streisand—her voice is so beautiful and she’s so talented. Meryl Streep is a brilliant actress, and humble. Kate Moss’s chic, stylish sense of fashion.
WHAT IS YOUR FAVORITE PHILANTHROPIC CAUSE?
Finding a cure for breast cancer. I’m a cancer survivor myself. I love my doctors.
Photo Credit: Frank Terry