Drapers catches up with Eleonora Pujia and Vinciane Stouvenaker, joint creative directors of Italian accessories brand Coccinelle, about their inspirations and passion for powerful women.
Italian accessories brand Coccinelle is synonymous with a youthful, playful and feminine aesthetic. Appointed in February, Drapers spoke to the brand’s new Milan-based joint creative directors, Eleonora Pujia and Vinciane Stouvenaker, to find out more about their inspirations and passion for creating empowering designs.
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How did you get started as designers?
Eleonora Pujia: My career started in the communications side of Coccinell in 1994. Because of my love of the products and knowledge of the client, it was a natural progression for me into the creative world.
Vinciane Stouvenaker: Attending the art school in Belgium ignited my passion for design. I fell in love with Romeo Gigli’s style. It combined my two passions: art and fashion. It also made me appreciate the value of Italian design. In 1989 I specialised in accessories. They allow me to tell a story and are very influenced by the zeitgest.
What are some of your inspirations for your work?
EP I am always inspired by the customer. I feel I really have in-depth knowledge of what she wants. I’m also inspired by my everyday life, my family and children. This influences me to inject playfulness and colour into Coccinelle.
VS Women are my inspiration, as they are multi-faceted and are central to the brand. I also take inspiration from visiting vintage markets, exhibitions and music. I learn a lot from my children who are now teenagers. They’re so connected to everything going on in the world!
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How would you describe the brand ethos?
EP Italian by birth and joyful by nature, we embrace conviviality and generosity.
You’ve spoken before about the importance of women empowering women with the brand. Why is this something you focus on?
VS We are in time of change. There is a big transformation above all in the role of women in society. Coccinelle is a brand made by women for women – real and strong women. We are open to change and to new opportunities. We really feel that women must have the same opportunities as men in every aspect of our society. Our creative team consists of two women, we want to put the woman at the centre of everything we do and design for her everyday needs.
How do you encapsulate that bold, empowered feeling into your designs?
EP We consider Coccinelle bags as a ‘daily companion’ for women. So we design bags to suit their everyday needs.
VS We try to incorporate the concept of style, emotion, craftsmanship and modernity to express femininity with many facets.
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Are there any women in the industry that you find particularly inspiring?
EP All women that are able to strike a perfect balance between their working and home life inspire me.
VS I like women who have made fashion history, from Coco Chanel to the late [Vogue Italia editor] Franca Sozzani. I also like Maria Grazia Chiuri from Dior, Céline’s Phoebe Philo and many others..
How do you keep yourselves motivated?
E: Balancing my happy family life and my satisfying working life. To work for a company that continues to evolve and with an international growth makes me very motivated.
V: The passion and desire to create an emotion.
What are some of the challenges you face in your day to day work?
E: Above all, everything is very fast in fashion. This means we have to be ready to adapt to the changes. We need to stay ahead of trends and always stay curious.
V: Maintaining the brand identity. To constantly remain contemporary while staying true to the heritage of the brand.
What advice would you give to those starting out in the industry?
E: Start to work while studying. Make a path that is not only educational but also practical. Have great humility and remember that finding the right job can take time. Also have respect for the people you work with, challenges come with a sacrifice. Time management is very important, too.
V: Most importantly, never stop learning. Never have fears or limits. It is not enough just to love fashion, because it requires sacrifice and a passion for excellence.
Favourite clothing brand?
E: Miu Miu and brands that have colourful collections with a feminine fit.
V: Céline and Chloé for their essence of sophisticated femininity.
Favourite places to shop?
E: Anywhere – from high street brands to the luxury concept stores. It depends on the occasion and the moment.
V: My favorite shopping places are in Paris, without forgetting Isabelle Bajart in Brussels for its refined and selected vintage. Then Milan, Florence …
Last fashion purchase?
E: A pair of Prada shoes.
V: A Dries Van Noten silk suit.
E: St Tropez.
V: A weekend sailing last Easter.
Last book you read?
Both: Good Night Stories for Rebel Girls by Elena Favilli and Francesca Cavallo.
Last film you watched?
E: Hidden Figures.
V: Nocturnal Animals.
E: Dog sitter.
V: Assistant former Marangoni professor Antonio Fontana in 1990, then designer for Laurence Steele and Fratelli Rossetti.
E: Actress or judge.
V: Musician: pianist or violinist.