In the summertime, I’m all about bright colored everything: fashion, beauty products, accessories. Recently I was strolling through Macy’s when I spotted a chic selection of brightly colored bags that caught my eye. I’m talking about the Model M. tote by Great Bag. These striking, candy colored totes immediately caught my attention, due to their eye-catching colors, and their beautiful design. Made from Fashion-Flex, these handbags feature unique ‘top-stitching’, and a playful lock and key detail moulded on the surface of the bag. With an open top and tab closure, and a rainbow color palette, they’re the perfect bag for all things summer!
I had the chance to ‘test drive’ the Model M. ($120) in Topaz (orange) and Emerald (green). Because they are made of EVA, the bags are lightweight, yet sturdy, and easy to clean. I took them out for a day around town, but I plan to use them as beach and travel bags, too!
Great Bag Co. is the brainchild of Robert Verdi, the legendary fashion stylist, never seen without a pair of sunglasses on his head. I had a chance to chat with him about why he started the handbag brand, his design inspirations, what’s next for Great Bag and more! Check it out below:
What’s Haute: You’ve had a long career as a fashion expert and are known for your signature sunglasses, so what was it that inspired you to launch Great Bag Co.?
Robert Verdi: Working with so many different types of women, I realized there was hole in the market for a very stylish yet utilitarian bag that always looked polished and could hold everything you need.
WH: What attracted you to handbag design, in particular?
RV: Handbags are the punctuation to a women’s look – it’s the difference between a period and an exclamation mark – and I love an exclamation mark!
WH: How do you define your design aesthetic?
RV: Eclectic – I like ideas from all different areas of design, both in fashion and interior. I think what makes a design idea modern is refining a classic and making it better.
WH: What elements of design were important to you in the launch of this collection?
RV: Color. Great Bag Co. is all about color.
WH: Where and how are the bags made?
RV: The bags are made here in North America, up in Canada, using an injection mold process.
WH: Why did you choose to make the bags out of ethylene vinyl acetate (EVA) rather than leather or PU?
RV: Manufacturing an EVA product reduces the expense of energy output typically used to make a leather bag. It was important to me to have a green mind about process and production.
WH: Who is the woman you designed the bag for (your target consumer)?
RV: This bag is universal – it’s for all women. It’s perfectly perky for the girl on-the-go commuting to work. It’s easy to mange for a fitness junkie. It’s stylish and efficient for the student around campus, and it even makes a sassy tote for the new brand-new mom!
WH: Name a celebrity/style icon you’d love to see toting a Great Bag Model M.
RV: The Olsen twins – they are a rare breed among celebrities, with the ability to appreciate innovation in design.
WH: How do you want the Great Bag brand to be viewed?
RV: Brave and playful, colorful and fun!
WH: Tell us about additional products to come in the Great Bag Co. line. Will you launch other styles of bags, wallets, shoes, etc?
RV: We are working on new and exciting silhouettes like our take on the classic-mini and a unisex back-pack.
WH: Name your favorite place in the world that provides you with creative inspiration, and why.
RV: I’m a museum and gallery hopper. I get more inspiration from a photograph or a painting or a sculpture than I do from anywhere else because my creative mind has the freedom to flow.
WH: What are some of the key trends in handbag design right now?
RV: Alternative materials are a huge trend right now. Stella Mccartney has made animal-friendly accessories must-haves.
WH: Where is Great Bag Co. Model M. currently sold? Where else will you be launching?
RV: Great Bag Co. is available online at GreatBag.co, at Macy’s, and also in lots of small shops around the globe. Excitingly, we are launching soon at the legendary Isetan department store in Tokyo, Japan as well as Club 21 in Singapore.
WH: Who are your favorite handbag designers? Fashion designers?
RV: I’m a huge admirer of the haute couture designers, including Valentino, Christian Lacroix, Dior, Givenchy and Karl Lagerfeld. Personally, I love Hedi Slimane no matter which esteemed fashion house he’s working at. As for handbags – my new favorite designer is ME!
WH: What is your personal style mantra?
RV: More is more: More color, more sparkle, more attitude!