Edie Parker's Brett Heyman On Her Conversational Clutches And A Del Toro Collab

by The Daily Front Row

(NEW YORK) Are personalized purses seriously having a moment? Indeed, considering how often we’ve been spotting Edie Parker’s acrylic clutches out on the scene recently. Designed by former Gucci PR girl, Brett Heyman, these vintage-inspired and glitter covered bags have accrued a cult-like following in the fash world, from Giovanna Battaglia to Margherita Missoni. Hollywood has stepped up to the plate as well: at the Golden Globes, four starlets topped off their flowing gowns with Heyman’s colorful designs. So, what’s next for the label? A social media-themed collab with Del Toro, brought to you by Moda Operandi. #TotallyChic

How did the Edie Parker line crop up?
I’ve been collecting vintage bags forever, specifically acrylic bags. About four years ago, I decided I wanted to do something creative. I was looking at these books on vintage style and the acrylic bags, which no one had made in about 50 or 60 years, and I thought it would be so easy to remake them. It turns out it’s not so easy to make them! 

Where does the name of the brand come from?
My daughter’s name is Edie Parker. 

How many people think that your name is Edie Parker?
Everyone, it’s ridiculous! Or they think I’ve named it after Edie Parker-Kerouac, Jack Kerouac’s first wife, which is incredibly literary. I take that as a compliment, though.

What did the first bag you created look like?
Because I had come from doing PR at Gucci, my mentality was to sample everything! I started off with a collection of 10 different styles in the beginning, and then whittled it down to four or five.

How did your PR background help you start your own label?
Doing accessories PR at Dolce & Gabbana and then Gucci made me very aware of the accessories market. Through that, I noticed that evening bags have become an overlooked category. The bags were either very old ladyish and super fancy with embellishment, or like mini moto bags. I felt like people just didn’t care about the evening category.

What’s the story behind your Del Toro collab?
I’m a big fan of the shoe label Del Toro, and a fan of their cheeky sense of humor, so we approached Moda Operandi with the idea to put the concept of social media, with icons and emojis, onto luxury items. They appreciated our sense of humor, sense of willingness, openness to collaborate, and throughout the collab they encouraged us to be creative. 

Who was the first celeb to carry one of your bags?
Kate Hudson. She wore one of our bags to the Met Gala in 2011. 

How did that impact your business?
It was amazing; Barneys had already placed an order, which was where we launched exclusively. Vogue had done a little write-up about us around the same time. Then, Kate wore our bag and that just validated what we were trying to do. We found out that there were people who were excited about this line. 

Now it seems like everyone has one of your clutches. Does it mean more to you when a fashion personality or a celeb is photographed with one of your bags?
I love when anybody carries my bag! But one of the most exciting thing was when we started doing the bespoke designs a couple years ago, and people like Giovanna Battaglia thought that it was cool. When I pitched the bespoke idea to stores, they thought it was creepy to put people’s names on the bags. 

How did you end up branching out into bespoke bags?
When we started the brand, everything was very simple, clean, and strictly geometric. Then we started horizontal stripes. As I got more comfortable with fabricating these pieces and designing more, and taking chances, it really became clear that acrylic is a totally blank canvas. Within reason and dependent on cost, you can do anything. I liked the idea of a traditional monogram, the same way that the bag is reworking an idea from the ‘50s.

Who was the first person that got a personalized bag?
Lizzie Tisch, who is very glam. She loves a monogram, so I made her a bag for her 40th birthday. 

You have fun with the bespoke style, like the Breaking Bad-themed bag for Anna Gunn. Who else have you made super specific bags for?
We did a bag for Laure Heriard Dubreuil, who is very Miami. We put a palm tree on it and put her name in hot pink. We can really do anything. 

What’s the strangest request you’ve ever had for a name or word to be scrawled on one of your bags?

How many of your own bags do you have in your closet?
Countless! I like to archive everything. My husband is very, very tolerant because the apartment is so glitzy and girly now; there are sequins and sparkles everywhere.

Does your daughter, Edie, have a ton of your bags?
Well, she’s four and a half, so she doesn’t wear them, but I put some in her room as decoration. I made my daughter and my son bespoke bags with their names in glow-in-the-dark acrylic, which have turned into incredibly chic nightlights. 

Is there a particular style you carry most often?
I wear the Lara a lot, in many different versions. They’re real conversation pieces.

How did the Lara bag get its name?
On my wedding day, my purse looked like an old version of a Lara bag. It was my something borrowed; an acrylic vintage clutch from my cousin Lara. It was a white grey color, and I loved that bag.

Can you walk us through the creation of a bag from design to completion?
Everything is hand-sketched here and I’m not the most computer literate person, so I draw everything out with a crayon. Then I find colors and I draw different versions. Then it’s put into Corel, and then we cut the acrylic. Each piece is painstakingly put in like a mosaic and it’s all hand glued. Then, depending on the style of the box, it’s either key form, which is when you take a flat piece of acrylic, put it over a wood mold, heat it, and let it dry, or we just assemble it like a box. Then you fold the edges, glue it and you’re done.

How much stuff can you usually fit in one of your bags?
In my opinion, I can fit everything I need, but I don’t travel heavy. You can carry your phone, keys, credit cards, and gum. What else do you need? 

Just the necessities! Do you think you’ll ever branch out beyond just clutches?
Definitely! I have no ambition to be a tote or a day bag company, but I think I will make a lot of evening bags that don’t look like boxes and are really day-to-night with straps and handles. We like to grow organically, and do things when we’re ready. 

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