by Scarlett Roberston
New handbag lines are a dime a dozen, yet with so many new labels sprouting up, variety remains slim at best. Newcomer Joanna Louca, however, is poised to turn the tides.
Her spirited handbag collection consists of classic shapes made exceptional by her own weaving process, which yields colorful, utterly dynamic creations. The bags are woven using fabrics such as cotton, wool, bright rayon, and metallic threads that result in uncommon patterns. The designer then applies these prints to an eclectic variety of fashion-forward, yet user-friendly bag shapes, resulting in one-of-a-kind designs.
Louca trained in London, studying woven textiles, but it wasn't until she returned home to her native Cyprus that she began making bags. Arriving home with a secondhand George Wood handloom in tow, the designer immediately got down to business. The fact that it was bags she was weaving seemed natural, as she admittedly was obsessed with them. Today, Joanna is still in Cyprus, no longer working out of her kitchen, and has grown into a fully operating weaving studio; she's even brought in a team of skilled weavers to assist her.
There are over 20 styles in Louca's fall/winter spread, with fabrics dominated by cool blue and purple tones, which seem weather-appropriate. Rich leather details set apart a baguette style, while pretty pom-poms accent a beautifully shaped pocketbook. Louca has also mastered the perfect clutch—an oblong treasure you won't want to reserve just for evenings.
Joanna Louca bags are available in New York at Bird, 220 Smith Street, Brooklyn, 718-768-4940; in Los Angeles at H. Lorenzo, 8660 West Sunset Boulevard, 310-659-1432; and through Supplements NY, 212-290-0091, www.joannalouca.com
Cyprus-born Joanna Louca weaves life into the ho-hum handbag.