To celebrate 25 FABULOUS years in the industry Hilary Alexander at The Industry recently interviewed the one and only designer, Lulu Guinness. Member's of the world's premier members' organisation for fashion professionals, The Industry flocked to the Condé Nast College of Fashion & Design to celebrate the world renowned designer's anniversary. Despite tube strikes and traffic jams a SLEW of important industry individuals rocked up including editors, stylists, photographers, bloggers and designers - all curious to find out exactly how one of Britain's most loved and cherished accessory designers turned a little handbag (and WHAT a handbag it IS) into a GLOBAL brand.
"I wasn't drawn to fashion," explained Lulu as she spoke about the early days (wearing, might I add, a cool Moschino cheesecloth black and white dress with red rose detail and signature red lips). "I loved glamour and I loved old-style glamour. I started by designing briefcases - but people used to say to me, we want bags that look like you do." The brand was founded in1989 when Lulu was 29 years old. Briefcases quickly turned into rose baskets - a surreal idea that really sold.
Fabulously outlandish and offbeat concepts fuel the Lulu Guinness brand - and 25 years down the accessory line, Lulu insists that she's not likely to run out of them anytime soon. "When people say to me what's your inspiration i don't get it because I have ideas all day, everyday just rushing into my head." And, to demonstrate this, Lulu opened the interview by showing the members her brand new virtual press day box (complete with popcorn and champagne - what more could you want?).
"The bags that sell for us are the ones that have our character," explained Lulu. "People don't want a bag that they could get from anyone else. That's not what we're for." Her bags are regularly spotted on everyone from Dita Von Teese to Alexa Chung and Paloma Faith, and have inevitably inspired a massive fan base. "Back in the day we never gave anything away, the celebrities bought everything," says Lulu, recounting to members her first experience of celebrity endorsement. "She came into the shop, the actual Madonna. She was this tiny little person with a big parka, a big hood and a giant bouncer. That was our first celeb. These days you'd Twitter but we just rang our friends up. We were quietly very happy and told everyone we knew."
For Lulu, the brand's 25th year is set to be HUGE. With a few top secret collaborations in the pipeline, and the production of a collectable silver clutch to celebrate - it will certainly be a year to remember. "I think that my 25th anniversary handbag, a mirrored lip clutch is actually the most beautiful bag I have ever made." Keep those peepers peeled on Lulu Guinness this year then...
All images are sourced from Forward PR/The Industry
Photography: Fran Hales for The Industry