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Interview with Lui Antinous


Over 600 designers entered but only one could win the Independent Handbag Designer Award (IHDA) for Best Handbag in Overall Style and Design. Accessories designer Lui Antinous wowed the judges with his incredibly unique 'Diodora' handbag – a scalloped shell-style calfskin leather shoulder bag accented with a semi-precious stone. Hauteness Magazine caught up with Antinous following his big win to find out what's next for this haute designer.

Hauteness Magazine: How does it feel to have won the IHDA?
Lui Antinous: Blessed, I feel truly blessed and privileged, this award has pushed me onto the next plateau of my career, it has availed me of countless resources and placed my work in the hands of some of the most talented and influential people in the industry. I feel more motivated than ever, as if a thousand wild horses were pushing my vision towards the world and now it's my job to be strong and focused to guide them carefully through this path.

HM: What was your inspiration for this winning handbag?
LA: A combination of streamline design from the late forties and early fifties, Mediterranean shells, and the sci-fi movie Dune.

HM: Which piece is your personal favorite of the collection?
LA: I would have to say the Aurelius, this bag originally began as a leather hat and it evolved to a bag, it was also the reason why I decided to create my first handbag collection. The best designs are those which you let evolve, you start with a concept a glimpse and before you know it, you are looking at a landscape of possibilities.

Lui Antinous

HM:Tell us how you got started in the handbag industry.
LA: In 2004 I came out with a couture line of clothing and accessories. After seeing that my handbags got such an incredible response (especially the "Aurelius" handbag) I decided to put clothing on hold and focus my all on accessories. It has taken some time to lift myself off the ground, being that I had little to no backing for the first four years. But perseverance and the love of my work helped me push on through to where I am now, all I can say to anyone who is struggling is, it will happen if you allow it to happen, don't thwart your dreams with others ideas, be strong, focused and stubborn as hell!

"Diodora" Shoulder Bag

HM: Your handbags are so beautifully designed. How do you come up with these designs?
LA: I'm also a painter and when I design something it's as if I'm painting it, I focus on substance, concept and aesthetic. Inspiration can come from any were, most of the time it has little or nothing to do directly with fashion, I'm inspired by nature, history, philosophy, literature, painting, sculpture, architecture, etc. The more you open your eyes and learn about everything the more impact and beauty your ideas will have.

HM: What kind of woman carries a Lui Antinous bag?
LA: The singular achievement of my handbags is in their reconciliation of the paradoxical – structure and fluidity, beauty and utility, femininity and masculinity, classicism and modernism. Resonating with power and harmony, this design dialectic appeals to a strong, confident and grounded woman, one who knows what to wear and how to wear it.
HM: Besides handbags, what's your fashion obsession?
LA: Millinery, I love creating couture hats, it used to be that a woman would buy three hats per one dress, I would love to bring that back.

HM: Who are your favorite designers and/or fashion icons?
LA: Erte, Adrian, Thierry Mugler, Grace Jones, Anne Slater, and Iggy (not to be confused with Iggy Pop).

HM: What can we expect from Lui Antinous in the future?
LA: It may sound a tad cliché, but always expect the unexpected – I love a bit of shock value.

HM: What's next for Lui Antinous, following your win?
LA: I will be launching my pre-spring/spring collection at the ENK Accessorie Circuit show in New York, August 3, 4 and 5. I will also have a booth at the MAGIC show in Las Vegas, August 24, 25 and 26. I am planning to cover the national market as much as possible in the next year with my two collections, "Lui Antinous" and "Lui Lux" and by the second year expand to the international market and launch my couture hat collection.

For more information or to purchase Lui Antinous handbags and accessories, visit Lui Antinous online or visit the following locations in New York City:

Patricia Field NY
Legato Boutique
Parker Boutique

-Ehmonie Hainey

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