Thursday, April 25, 2013

Designing A Handmade Cappelli Straworld Handbag

I recently had the privilege to see how our handbag designer Bonnie Rubel and her sister Nicole design handbags. Unlike many companies, they do not knock off or reinterpret other peoples design. They come up with their own unique designs.
They have a great pedigree in design. Bonnie's grandmother Betty, found herself alone with two babes to feed, during the depression, when her husband up and left her. To make ends meat, she got a job as a shop girl and at night started to make shell jewelry around the kitchen table. She sold the jewelry to local gift stores and before long was able to quit the store job and make jewelry full-time. Betty got lucky when one of her daughters married Bonnie's father. He expanded the jewelry business into straw bags; initially importing them from Italy and then from Guatemala and finally he headed to China in the 1970's when it opened up. Bonnie traveled extensively with her father designing the straw bags. I am sure she was one of the first Western lady designers in China at the time. I guess you can say that she has straw bag designing in her blood.

This is Bonnie Rubel.
This is her sister Nicole. Nicole is an artist and worked in graphic arts for many years.

Yep, they are twins.
Sometimes they only make sense to each other.
Nicole comes up with the graphic designs and is great at picking colors
A worker getting the paper braid ready for crocheting
The samples making team busy chatting and crocheting. People forget that Cappelli bags are hand crocheted and are not machine made.

Each bead is carefully laid out for the handle by Bonnie. Nothing is left to hazard.

If Bonnie cannot find the proper color bead, then it is off to the dye area to get the correct color match.

Bonnie is looking for a lavender shade. The master dyer takes the white rose beads.

Like an alchemist he takes a pinch of this and a pinch of that, adds the beads to the boiling colored water.

Adds a binder to get the color to adhere to the plastic bead.

Constantly comparing his color to the desired color.

This back and forth can go on for days until Bonnie is satisfied with the color combos.

BU YAO, I do not like this weave. It is too open.

HEN HAO. I love this color way.

So come to our booth at WWD August to see the beautiful new summer 2014 collection.

1 comment:

  1. Hi! Glad to find you. I am curator of The Vintage Purse Gallery, an online handbag museum. I was hoping you could send Ms. Rubel my contact info as I am trying to get some background about Straworld (and possibly write an article) for my website's manufacturer page. Thank you! Wendy Dager,