Haute Handbags

Tuesday, June 17th, 2014

By Kayla Unnerstall
Portrait of Anna Corinna courtesy of Matthew Williams

Though now they’re co-founders of the buzzworthy handbag label Foley + Corinna, 15 years ago Anna Corinna and Dana Foley were complete strangers. The pair, both individually selling their curated pieces at the Chelsea Art and Antique Market, met by chance in 1999 and quickly realized their shared love of fashion. The blossoming friendship evolved into a successful business, blending not only the two women’s last names but also their design aesthetics and styles.

In 2008, the brand was invited to join the prestigious Council of Fashion Designers of America, and since then, the bags have been featured in magazines such as Nylon, People, InStyle, Lucky, and Allure. Today, Foley + Corinna’s range of clutches, tote bags, satchels, and cross-body bags has garnered the company a cult following of urban-minded women and celebrities that include Drew Barrymore, Heidi Klum, Natalie Portman, Blake Lively, and Katy Perry. And with a strong international presence, F + C can be found worldwide from New York to Chile to Japan and in such stores as Bloomingdale’s, Saks Fifth Avenue, Neiman Marcus, and Nordstrom.

For inspiration, Corinna avoids relying on trend boards and advice from style forecasters’ presentations so she can stay unique in the industry. “When starting a new collection, I don’t like to stick to any one formula,” she says. “I think that’s where you can grow stale. When you look at the mood boards enough, everyone will have the same exact shape on, and I don’t want to be a part of that.”

Instead, Corinna is constantly accumulating design references, whether it’s an actual bag or a tear from a magazine, and takes inspiration from sources that range from paintings to people, architecture, car design, and even children’s artwork. “I’m always collecting imagery,” she says. “If I see somebody carrying something great  on the train platform, I’ll snap a quick picture.”

As for accessories, Corinna borders on obsessed—“I wish I could wear a ring on every finger and a stack of bangles,” she says—so it comes as no surprise that the brand’s most recent venture is with jewelry. Handbags, however, always will remain the brand’s focus.

“I think that’s one of the reasons I keep making [handbags],” Corinna says. "I can't get enough."

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