What’s a typical day like for you?
In accessories, we spend a lot of time considering color and how it relates to (but doesn’t necessarily match) the apparel, whether to complement an outfit or to make it pop—that’s really important. And of course there’s a lot of sketching and working with technical design to make everything perfect. We also do a great deal of materials development—we design from the bottom up!What is your design background?
I went to Parsons School of Design. I was kind of a jack of all trades, but I really liked working with leather, so I gravitated toward handbags and belts. The whole leather goods field just seemed so artisanal and craft oriented, which I love.Do you have any advice for aspiring handbag designers?
Know the basics like the back of your hand, but never stop experimenting and pushing the envelope. And most important, look outside the box for inspiration—you will find it in the most unexpected places.What’s the one thing you wish you’d known when you were first starting out?
Don’t dismiss the classics. As a young designer, I thought the classics were outdated or already done, but over time I realized that like clichés, they exist for a reason: They make a whole lot of sense. I can’t tell you what a wealth of inspiration we get from them.Where else do you find inspiration?
I think as a designer one can and will be inspired by anything and everything, from the most monumental places (a Moroccan flea
market) to the smallest everyday objects (package design). Most recently? Origami boxes. Do you have a favorite handbag?
I know this sounds so tragically obtuse, but the truth is that they’re like people—they all have their own personality. What would we do without all different kinds of people and personalities in our life? It would be so boring.Confess…how many handbags do you own?
Whoa—no comment.A peek at Frances’s desk:
1. Copic markers
: hands-down favorite markers.
2. Magazine tears for inspiration.
3. “I love rough textures and neutrals, like these faux-skin swatches.”
4. “I can’t draw without these pencils by Stabilo! I go through two-and-a-half boxes every season. God forbid they ever stop making them.”
5. J.Crew’s Darlington hobo
“I’m in love with motorcycles right now. The quilted details on this bag were inspired by accents on the jackets.”