fbpx vie magazine subscribe button

The World of Whimsical Art

Handbags Are Fun Again

Interview by Jordan Staggs | Photography courtesy of Anna Cortina

Although she isn’t an artist herself, Spanish designer Anna Cortina is certain that the worlds of fashion and fine art are inextricably linked.

She began her journey in the industry in 2002 when she opened her first boutique in Barcelona, where she worked with luxury brands including Balenciaga, Givenchy, Chloé, and Lanvin. “My favorite fashion accessories have always been bags and shoes,” Cortina shares. “They can always rock your style and make a basic outfit special.”

It wasn’t until about five years ago that Cortina took that love and launched her eponymous line of accessories. Melding her interests, she collaborates with artists each season to create new collections of handbags, scarves, and other chic, statement-making pieces. “I really think that art and fashion are two complementary disciplines,” she says. This is evident when shoppers view the playful bag designs featuring work by international artists such as Philippe Boonen, Garbi KW, Ghadah Al Ajmi, and more. And although much of the art depicts cute, or even cartoonish, animals wearing clothes or performing activities such as roller-skating or riding a bike, Cortina’s quality products and the artists’ beautiful work ensure that each item still evokes a high-fashion feeling.

VIE was introduced to this gem of a designer when our editor-in-chief, Lisa Burwell, met Google director of agency platforms Marta Martinez at a women’s retreat, where Martinez gifted attendees with foulard scarves printed with Garbi KW’s manga-inspired unicorn art. “I fell in love with the whimsy and confidence of the designer,” says Burwell.

When speaking with Cortina about her boutique brand, we learned how her enlightened concept of creating quality accessories by collaborating with artists around the globe birthed what so many designers strive for—a new idea. When you wear her playful foulards and carry her handbags, they tend to be conversation starters as well. So much fun!

VIE: What is the inspiration or vision behind your collections?

Anna Cortina: I love to say that I always see things before they happen. In the same way, these visions guide me through my project. For example, I suddenly remember a detail of an object or a picture I saw many years ago while traveling, and I start creating a totally new model bag. In a fun way and with a point of humor, our collections always carry a message.

VIE: How do you select artists to work with for your pieces?

AC: We are demanding when it comes to choosing our collaborators: international creators with great talent, capable of transmitting the essence of our brand through art.

Anna Cortina with tote bag featuring art by Philippe Boonen
Cortina with tote bag featuring art by Philippe Boonen

VIE: What is your favorite part about collaborating with artists?

AC: My favorite part is the most creative one when I explain my vision to the artist. I offer a concept and a path to follow during the creation of the new collection, but I always leave the artist free to express himself/herself without clipping his/her wings. I love to see how this idea takes shape thanks to different personal contributions. I always support the artist’s artistic expression, especially in terms of composition and colors.

VIE: Your collections often feature whimsical animals or other scenes that are a lot of fun. How do you decide what image will go on each bag, scarf, or piece of apparel?

AC: Our collections are often based on the concept of animalizing the human being, finding that animal that everyone has inside. For example, through the Spring/Summer 2019 collection, which is inspired by the light of the Mediterranean Sea and the summer environment, we wish to show a new way of living and how our animal characters face daily life.

Our collections are often based on the concept of animalizing the human being, finding that animal that everyone has inside.

VIE: Do you have any new collaborations coming up?

AC: We work with a spectrum of five artists who propose their ideas every season, but we also invite new artists to join our project for special collaborations. We are developing a new and exciting project that will come to light soon. I hope you will like it!

VIE: If you could work with any artist in the world, who would it be and why?

AC: I love everything about Pablo Picasso’s style: his way of expression, his inner world, the Mediterranean colors, and his powerful paintings. I feel identified 100 percent. I also like Salvador Dalí and his surrealist avant-garde art. I have to say that I get inspired by many artists and works of art, but especially by someone capable of making me feel something. My main inspirations are Andy Warhol’s pop art, Jeff Koons, who gives new life to everyday objects, Yayoi Kusama and her conceptual art, Keith Haring, Takashi Murakami, and Kaws.

VIE: Tell us a little about your custom pieces and the process of creating those unique bags for people.

AC: The first thing we do is to have an interview with the client who wishes to have a unique creation. He or she tells us a little about themselves, and, above all, what they would like to communicate with their bag. We are committed to respecting the client’s view, and we always try to capture his or her essence. We pay attention to the details and always ask for the client’s feedback—our goal is to make the person happy to have a unique bag!

VIE: Is there any news coming up for the Anna Cortina brand in 2019 that you would like to share with our readers?

AC: Our work follows a line of evolution, and I am really happy to introduce a new model bag, which is one of my most personal creations. I have been working on it for more than six months, and finally, during 2019, it will be ready to be launched.

The artistic part is the latch on the bag, designed and created personally by me. I got inspired by some industrial objects, which are parts of our daily life. I wanted to give new life and purpose to something that we are used to seeing. I am sure that this new latch on the bag will be our trademark, something that really identifies Anna Cortina.

VIE: Finally, where can our readers buy your accessories?

AC: They can savor our universe and buy our unique pieces at AnnaCortina.com.

— V —

Read Responsibly

VIE Magazine - Architecture & Design Issue - July 2020
VIE Magazine - Decor and Home Issue - June 2020
VIE Magazine May 2020 Entertainment Issue, Leslie Odom Jr
VIE Magazine - April 2020 Culinary Issue
VIE Magazine March 2020 The Fashion Edit, VONDOM, Alys Beach Fl, Digital Graffiti, Tres Chic, isidro dunbar Modern Interiors, Digital Graffiti Festival
VIE Magazine February 2020 Health & Beauty Issue
VIE Magazine - Travel Issue - January 2020 - Tanzania Safari Cover
VIE Magazine - Women's Issue - December 2019 - Tina Brown Cover
VIE NOV19 Goodness Issue
VIE Magazine, September 2019 Art & Culture Issue, Paul Hanninen
VIE Magazine - August 2019 - The Architecture and Design Issue
VIE Magazine - July 2019 - The Artist Issue
VIE Magazine - June 2019 - Fashion Edit
VIE Magazine - May 2019 - Culinary Issue
VIE Magazine - April 2019 - The Health & Wellness Issue
VIE Magazine - Special Entertainment Edition - March 2019
VIE Magazine February 2019 Luxury Homes & Technology Issue with Robbie Antonio of Revolution Precrafted
VIE Magazine - January 2019 - Southern Sophisticate Issue Cover
VIE Magazine - Special Anniversary Travel Edition - December 2018
VIE Magazine - The Goodness Issue - November 2018
VIE Magazine - The Art & Culture Issue - October 2018
VIE Magazine - Home & Garden Issue - September 2018
VIE Magazine - August 2018 Animal Issue
VIE Magazine - July 2018 Architecture & Design Issue - Subscribe to the magazine!
VIE Magazine - June 2018 Travel & Tech Issue
VIE Magazine - May 2018 Couture Issue
VIE Magazine - The Culinary Issue - April 2018 Cover - Chef James Briscione and Brooke Parkhurst
VIE Magazine - The Entertainers Issue - March 2018
VIE Magazine - February 2018 Destination Travel Issue
VIE Magazine - January 2018 Health & Beauty Issue
VIE Magazine, The Sophisticate Issue, December 2017
VIE Magazine - November 2017 Art & Culture Issue
VIE Magazine - October 2017 Home & Garden Issue
VIE Magazine | September 2017 | The Stories and Storytellers Issue
VIE Magazine - The Adventure Issue - August 2017
VIE Magazine - July 2017 - Art & Artist Issue
VIE Magazine - The Voyager Issue - June 2017
VIE magazine 2017 March-April Cover South Walton Fashion Week
VIE Magazine - January/February 2017 - The Health & Beauty Issue
VIE Magazine - Nov/Dec 2016 The Sophisticate Issue
christian siriano vie magazine september october 2016 vie magazine
the modern minimalist issue
the culinary and couture issue march april 2016 vie magazine
the voyager issue alys beach vie magazine january february 2016
cultural issue vie magazine november december 2015
home and garden issue vie magazine september october 2015
the art and style issue vie magazine july august 2015
the wedding issue 2015 May June vie magazine
the food and fashion issue vie magazine march april 2015
the travel issue vie magazine january february 2015
the music issue vie magazine 2014 november december
The Animal Issue vie magazine september october 2014
the home and garden issue vie magazine july august 2014
the wedding issue vie magazine may june 2014
emeril lagasse food and fashion vie magazine
the men's issue january february 2014
the music issue november december 2013 vie magazine
the home and garden issue 2013 october september
the wedding issue vie magazine july august 2013
the artist issue may june 2013 vie magazine
the food and fashion issue march april 2013
the men's issue january february 2013 vie magazine
The Holiday Issue
the love issue july august 2012
the all american summer may june 2012
the entertainment issue march april 2012
the fashion issue vie magazine winter 2011
the home and garden issue vie magazine fall 2011
the anniversary edition vie magazine summer 2011
the wedding issue vie magazine spring 2011
vie magazine the holiday issue 2010 Dec
vintage swimsuits vie magazine 2010 Fall
judith march designer vie magazine summer 2010
wedding giveaway vie magazine spring 2010
holiday gift guide vie magazine winter 2009
emarketing explosion vie magazine fall 2009
tribute to mother's day vie magazine summer 2009
james and robert redford vie magazine spring 2009
zz top vie magazine fall winter 2008
project dreams vie magazine new york fashion week
Sign-up for VIEmail

Sign up for VIEmail