Seeking beautiful clutches and bags beyond the ordinary? Cast your eye upon those designed by New York based, European artist Clara Kasavina. You’ll find a collection of elegantly distinctive pieces made with the sophisticated worldly woman in mind.
Each one a usable piece of art, strong in design, feminine in feel and made to last; these are more than just mere clutches and bags, they are a reflection of history, modernity, future and are a testament to great craftsmanship and timeless design.
Brief Look at the Origins of the Handbag and Clutch: According to the Tassen Museum Hendrikje Museum of Bags and Purses in Amsterdam, “the reticule (definition: a small purse or bag, originally of network but later of silk, rayon, etc.) the first true handbag, was carried on a chord or chain. Such bags were in fashion until the first decades of the 19th century. Reticules were handmade from all kinds of fabrics, often by the women who used them. During the 19th century, the age of the Industrial Revolution, many new manufacturing methods and techniques were invented. New materials such as papier-mâché, iron and polished steel emerged and were used for the production of bags which resulted in new models and designs. New bags were developed for the modern traveller, who could then journey more easily by boat and railway. Hand luggage for railway travel were the precursors of today’s handbags; carrier bags which were practical for travel, but could also be used when shopping or visiting.”
Inspired by history and handmade with the highest quality materials, each piece is a finely crafted, jeweled piece of art beautiful enough to display in a museum, totally wearable eye-catching adornments of today and heirlooms of tomorrow.
Meet Designer Clara Kasavina & Metalworker Misha Berger
Clara Kasavina, the woman and namesake line of luxurious accessories handmade in New York, is renowned for its innovation and meticulous craftsmanship. In collaboration between husband and wife, visionary and sculptor, each handbag, minaudière, belt, and piece of jewelry is conceived and created with painstaking attention to taste and detail. Clara’s partner and husband, Misha Berger, sculpts all the metalwork by hand in their New York studio in conjunction with a team of specialized artisans.
European Roots & Luxury Brand Experience
The husband and wife duo met as children in the Ukraine, and then again as adults in New York. Getting their start designing and manufacturing belt buckles for Ralph Lauren and Donna Karan, the team was soon recognized by specialty stores across the US in what is now a 30-year celebrated tradition of designing exclusively handmade handbags and accessories worn by celebrities throughout the world and featured in the top fashion magazines of our time.
Collectible Art as Fashion
These are pieces of highly collectible art. Each one is designed, cast, and manufactured entirely by hand. The house maintains a decades-old library of original molds. All frames are poured and hand-cast in the Clara Kasavina factory, and all products are completely hand-sewn and sculpted. They are achieved with only the highest level of materials: lux leather, exotic skins and furs, Swarovski® Crystal and precious metals.
Recognized and Showcased
Among their several awards and recognition, the brand was showcased in “Rare Bird of Fashion: The Irreverent Iris Apfel” exhibit organized by the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York.
EAT LOVE SAVOR chatted briefly with Clara to learn more about the story behind her drive to create excellent works and insights into her inspiration.
Q – What drew you into the world of design? What were your early influences?
When I was a little girl in St. Petersburg, Russia, my mother would bring me with her to visit a group of dressmakers at the Society of St. Petersburg. My mother’s occupation was as a style and fit advisor to the dressmakers; it was her influence that inspired and how I fell in love with fashion.
Q – There is a strong historic feel to your work, what drives your designs?
Having been born in St. Petersburg, I was surrounded by beautiful architecture and museums like The Hermitage. I fell in love with the 19th Century, especially the art and architecture and our designs are very much influenced by that era.
A woman bearing one of these bags is sure to be noticed and remembered.
Q – Who is your ideal client?
In my mind, I design for a successful, sophisticated worldly woman who likes to be noticed!
Q – Your creations are heirloom quality pieces, how should they best be cared for?
Our pieces are handmade but are not fragile though they do need love and care. The bags should be kept in the silk pouch that they are originally sold in. It’s ideal to store them in a dry place and out of direct sunlight. With enough love and care, our handbags and costume jewelry can be passed down to the next generation.
Q – What is your vision for the future of your brand?
I see our brand growing in the direction of couture day wear, continuing to use exotic skins and even the handmade metal craftsmanship that my husband, Misha, has developed and perfected though the years.
For more information and to see further pieces in her collections visit www.clarakasavina.com
Update: As of July 2016, Clara and Misha have closed their shop and decided to retire in order to take care of Misha’s increasing health issues. We wish them all the very best.