Handbag designer Julie Peelo always returns to this special neighbourhood in Milan …
After graduating in fashion textiles from NCAD and working for a time for John Rocha, I moved to Italy in 2003 to get a job at a fashion house. I was introduced to the creative director of Marni who hired me as her assistant but I soon became involved in accessories and jewellery design.
At Marni’s handbag factory, I was able to observe closely the pattern-makers at work, learn about the construction of bags and become familiar with the machinery used in handbag-making. This incredible education was the beginning of my interest in handbag construction and design. After Marni, I went to work for John Galliano in Paris, followed by some time at DKNY and Juicy Couture in New York.
I launched my own accessories label, Peelo, earlier this year. I feel like the ideas have been in my head since my time at Marni, and just needed to be expressed. I love very simple, modern accessories. I also wanted to make sure my bags were pieces people would want to wear every day, not just for special occasions. It’s important to keep them at an sensible price point while using the very best leather and hardware.
Mini Zip Tote, €245
While working in Paris and New York, I always returned to Milan, a city which is special place to me. Milan has an important leather industry, and I always worked with factories in the city, which meant I and would visit at least twice a year, to coincide with the Lineapelle, the leather fair.
My favourite thing to do in Milan is visit Navigli, where I lived while at Marni. Navigli, the canal area of the city, has wonderful bars and restaurants. I love an aperitivo at one of the canalside bars, or a pizza with friends. Navigli is the perfect spot for people-watching during la passeggiata. At Navigli’s fleamarket, you can f ind great little treasures and cool vintage clothes. I found a huge vintage movie poster there which now hangs in my studio in Malahide. It travelled with me from Milan to Paris to New York and back to Dublin.
When I return to Milan, I always pop into 10 Corso Como, the fashion store founded by Carla Sozzani. Corso Como is the place to see what’s happening in the world of fashion and design. There is a beautiful café, a library full of books on art, design and fashion, and always an interesting exhibition. I can’t wait to go back when restrictions lift.
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