In an era of ubiquitous fashion, carrying a nice stylish handbag has a lot to say about your personality. You can’t escape it since it complements your style to a great extent. But you can definitely make it easy for yourself by taking a look at what the renowned Indian-born Los Angeles-based designer Deborah Sawaf’s luxury accessories brand Thale Blanc has to offer invariably and buying one at last. In a way, you will feel enriched by her fabulous handbag collections making the headlines globally.
In an exclusive interview with European Life, we caught up with her to find out what led her to design bags, what her creations mean to women out there and much more.
Sawaf spent much of her time in couture and fine jewelry before she embarked on accomplishing a different kind of mission primarily to create a luxury, timeless accessory collection that would go a long way in adding a refreshing look to this otherwise not-so happening segment.“I was looking forward to design a collection that was somewhat different to most designers especially when it came to seeking the market items that would later be sanctified as pieces of art, which is meticulously expressed in my evening bags and elegant, sophisticated day bags inspired by Audrey Hepburn,” she said.
With the aim of learning the craft of it, she went on to study at the Fashion Institute of Design & Merchandising and then at the Gemological Institute of America raising Sawaf’s inner desire to design her own collection of couture jewelry Talia.
Since she had designed amazing works of art for renowned fashion labels like Roberto Cavalli, Gianfranco Ferre and Valentino and thus constantly surrounded by sheer glamour, Sawaf was in the right place at the right time to launch her brand. Or let’s say she couldn’t have gone down a different path.
Founded in 2010, Thale Blanc has garnered a lot of praise from women across the board including celebrities such as Jennifer Lopez, Kerry Washington, Zendaya, Gigi Hadid, Rita Ora and many more. “I’m pleased to have them as my clients. I would like to see Jennifer Lopez continue to wear my brand,” she said.
In today’s world, celebrity endorsements certainly do have tremendous influence on the brand success trajectory. In the words of Sawaf, it’s one of the best and most effective strategies to gain recognition for your brand in a short span of time. “It reaches a wider audience and hence builds brand equity. That’s why every brand seeks to indulge in it for better results,” she said.
Standing out from the rest
The Audrey bags are referred to be as a major signature of the brand. And subsequently there are other factors that certainly play a pivotal role in making Thale Blanc so popular. “The iconic details that are unique to my brand are “the swan neck handle”, “the loop hardware”, and “the scalloped flap”, while on some bags it’s our distinctly fabulous webbed stitch giving them a vibrant and stylish punch,” she said.
Although Sawaf had been designing bags and other accessories for quite some time, it was only in 2013 that she launched the luxury handbag collection by Thale Blanc. It’s no wonder that most of the brand bags are made of leather, snake and alligator skins whereas some beach bags are made in polyurethane or canvas to offer the vegan element in the collection. “All my materials are sourced and made in Italy,” Sawaf said.
Her inspiration and vision
While her treasures of inspirational ideas are mostly derived from architecture and history, India (where she was born) has always factored particularly its artisanship of couture hand embroidery in her collections. “I believe my fascination and keen eye for color also stems from my heritage,” she said.
The iconic figure Audrey Hepburn has always been Sawaf’s favorite muse for her beautiful consistent, elegant style, and how she used her celebrity image to help change the world. Besides, she wants her brand to be known for its craftsmanship, timeless and elegant style, great quality, attention to detail and customer service.
Her designed bags are popular among women because they are unique and different. “They want something that will make a statement and is also a great quality for a good price,” she said. “After all, a beautiful bag is a woman’s expression of style, mood and self-confidence.”
According to Sawaf, the perfect woman who can truly bring to life her spectacular bags is someone with plenty of confidence. “She should be a trendsetter and able to appreciate good quality and great craftsmanship. I would say she is the Cheetah in the room, and heads turn when she walks in.”
There is no denying that it’s very tough in every aspect of fashion, and handbags are even more so as most people use it as a status symbol. For Sawaf, the journey wasn’t an easy ride thereof. As she explained: “No matter how great the design or quality, if you aren’t a major brand or at least well-known, you are up against those who are.”
She tried to find her own niche. And when she did find that perfect woman, who is confident and not afraid to wear or invest in something new, it became a bit less tough. “This has been the key factor for Thale Blanc’s remarkable performance. I have had to stay true to my vision, deliver the best quality, and cut my margins to be competitive and stay on top of the trend,” she said.
Willing to play smart for the sake of Thale Blanc, she has thought of something substantive for it i.e. she wants to convert it into “Maison Thale Blanc” which is nothing but a shining example of fashion, beauty and home all under one roof.