Most luxury brands have instantly recognizable logos or hardware, which permeate throughout the collection. These signature badges tend to proclaim the brand’s presence and are worn as symbols of taste or status. There are only few that announce themselves simply by the impeccable quality and craftsmanship, and Nancy Gonzalez is at the top of this exclusive list.
By Sarah Arison
What began as a small company in Colombia in 1988 has expanded to an international line of coveted handbags recognized for their quality, exclusivity and timelessness. This success comes as no surprise, considering that the brand’s first collection for Bergdorf Goodman sold out in one day. With three collections a year showing 150 styles in over 300 colors, Nancy Gonzalez has taken her passion for handbags and made an indelible mark in the accessories world, setting a standard to which most other brands can only aspire. Still, “success in the fashion industry is something very difficult. You are only as good as your last collection,” she admits.
What sets Gonzalez’ creations apart is her use of rare and unique materials in a wide array of colors. She began using crocodile skin when she started her line, as it was the most luxurious material available in Colombia back in the ‘80s. Since then, she has expanded her list of skins to include python, ostrich, sable and mink. The materials that Gonzalez uses shape her creations. “Two hides are never alike and in a way, the skins tell me how they should be used. I feel very connected to them,” she asserts. Having the best materials on earth would be pointless if crock guru didn’t employ the best craftsmen, and she approaches hiring these artists with the same care and dedication she uses in every other aspect of her business. “My craftsmen are the patient inventors of a new know-how. Trained by the best in the world, they don’t come to me for a job, but for a career,” she says.
When asked her views on style, not surprisingly, Nancy stresses the importance of accessories. “Keep it simple and let the accessories do the talking. Style should be something that amplifies who you are instead of altering it,” Gonzalez suggests. She is consistently inspired by the vibrant colors of the architecture and cultures in South Florida, making her many-hued bags perfect for every woman and every occasion.
But the Colombian designer is not one to rest on her laurels. “Humility, vision, hardwork, determination, resilience, confidence and an immense connection with your clients’ needs are a necessity,” she muses. “Passion, love for what you do, faith and lots of magic are an absolute.” After so much success in a short period of time, it is hard to imagine that Nancy Gonzalez still has a thing or two up her sartorial sleeve. “There will be a big secret announced very soon,” she divulges coyly. No mystery here; we’re going to love it.