Monica BotkierLast month Vlad and I had the pleasure of meeting with Monica Botkier at a Saks event. I have been wanting to meet Monica for months now (let’s make that years but I was not sure it would ever happen). This beautiful designer has made a name for herself in the accessory world, having her handbags seen on the arms of countless celebrities, carried in all of the biggest department stores, and coveted by many. We gave away a Botkier Sasha and I am still bitter that I did not buy one for myself. We asked Monica some of our own questions along with questions from our forum members. We will be bringing you more information on her fall 2008 bags shortly.

PB: How did you get into the fashion industry, namely handbags?

Monica: You know handbags really choose me. The fashion industry I was in already; I was a photographer and focusing primarily on fashion. I was working with fashion magazines and on advertising shoots. With the handbag it was just a true love of mine. Believe it or not I collected leather and used them for portfolio covers. I thought that one day I might have more of a use for all of the leathers, but not particularly with handbags in mind. And that is what I did; I ended up sketching a bag and having it made. I wore these bags to shoots and I had models and editors asking, “Where can I get one? Oh I want one, can I order one?” So I started taking little orders.

Botkier Gemma Tote in gunmetal - $645PB: So how would you explain your bags?

Monica: I take pride in the fact that they are sexy and functional at the same time. So it gives you an edge and can really dress you up. I am not one of those people that get decked out from head to toe. I am actually really casual and I let the bag dress me up.

PB: We are the same way! This is why I love bags so much myself, they can easily dress up my outfits.

Monica: Right! And I want my bags to make a statement but I also want them to be comfortable, not too heavy, have lots of exterior pockets, and have a long enough handle drop. One of the best features we have inside is a key chain that is really long so you will never loose your keys. You can just reach in and find them!

Botkier Chrystie Hobo in bronze - $695PB: One of the readers on our forum noted that you use elephants often. Is there a significance of elephants in your life?

Monica: I love elephants. I think they are a good luck symbol. When I was younger I used to travel a lot, I was an avid traveler. Ganesha, the Hindu elephant deity, is supposed to be protective of travels. But also my background is Russian-Polish and my daughters name is Sloane. When I told that to my grandmother she started laughing because she pronounced it like “slon”, which means little elephant in Polish. So it had a little extra specialness to me. I think they are brilliant animals; they have strong family ties, they remember things, they are just a good-vibe animal.

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