Metalskin designer, Alicia Halegua has elevated exotic skin handbags to new heights. Not surprising given her extraordinary good taste. Her unique color combinations make for gorgeous eye candy and appeal to fashionistas of all ages.
I am a fan, and luckily a friend as well, so she was gracious enough to offer my readers an inside scoop into her collection.
How did you get into designing handbags?
AH. I felt that the one accessory that so strongly dominates the women’s accessories market was a handbag. I began to gather my favorites and focus on lady-like silhouettes in customized colors and textures. This created a unique accessory for women to indulge in.
How long have you been designing?
AH. I’ve been designing for 7 years now. It began with small leather accessories and grew into hand bags.
Is your background in handbags? What were you doing prior to Metalskin?
AH. I have no formal design experience. I taught myself and really spent years with manufacturers and artisans learning what works and what doesn’t design wise, and what materials lay best etc. I came from an art history/PR background out of college, and started a personal shopping business my early years in NYC. I believe the one on one relationships I built through personal shopping helped me understand what women really want and need and what they don’t. Accessories really elevate your look, handbags more specifically serve as both functional and fashionable.
With so many skin bags on the market, what sets Metalskin apart?
AH. We occupy a quite popular space because exotic skin handbags are always in demand. What sets METALSKIN apart is the daring choice in color combinations used and the mixing of textures to create the final product. With the exception of our seasonal core collection colors, the majority of our pieces are one-of-a-kind, making each METALSKIN ‘confection’ if you will, a unique experience .
Our customer is looking for something unique, made by hand by artisans in NYC, with a high regard to quality and attention to detail. Every item goes through a visual inspection before it goes out to the market place. No two skins are the same as the layout of the markings on exotic skins are all different. I spend so much time laying each piece out before it gets cut into a clutch. It’s a process and we don’t mass market or mass produce. We really pride ourselves on each item being really special.
Where do you find inspiration for new designs? New colors?
AH. We find inspiration everywhere and anywhere. It can be from vacations to reading a magazine to the wrapper of a candy I saw. The color combinations are so fabulous, they all evoke different moods, making METALSKIN an item you need more than just one of!!
What are the must have colors for spring?
AH. I am really liking soft latte, mochas paired with lilacs, soft blush hues and warm peaches with a touch of denim blue.
What type of woman do you envision wearing your bags?
AH. A fun loving, fashionable woman who has a sharp eye and a creative mind when it comes to getting dressed; someone who isn’t scared to wear color. I guess a bit of a fashion rebel.
Besides a Metalskin bag, what are your other accessory favorites?
AH. I am a sucker for quality handbags and no one does a ladies handbag better than Hermes!! As for other accessories, I am really into makeup pouches as they are multi purpose. They congregate all the loose ends in my day purse. I have so many pouches but I really love the metalskin pouch because it’s elegant and functional and it can also be used to run out to dinner in!!
What is next for you and Metalskin?
AH. This new year marks new challenges for us. We would like to aim on broadening our customer base and add some key retailers to our roster. It would be great to even get into the international markets. I feel there is so much new territory, that we haven’t even ‘skinned’ the surface. There is such large potential out there so I’m hoping this year is strong for us.