When she was six years old, Sara Battaglia handcrafted her first bag using a piece of fabric secretly taken from her mother.
Her artistic interest did not stop there. While discussing Salvador Dali's Diary Of A Genius, a surrealistic text penned by the artist, she told her father: "Daddy, I know what I want to do when I grow up. I want to be Salvador Dali."
While the 31-year-old did not end up an artist, she did fulfil her creative ambitions in another way - as a handbag designer.
Her eponymous label, which debuted in 2009, was recently launched exclusively at luxury
multi-label accessories and footwear boutique On Pedder at Ngee Ann City.
Lined with fringe and accented with tassels, Battaglia's colourful bags are maximalist and feminine in nature.
The designer, who was here on Monday to launch the collection, explains her love for ornamental borders of fringe, which have featured in her designs since day one. "The fringe aligns perfectly against one's silhouette - as a woman moves, it moves fluidly with her. It is the paragon of femininity."
She graduated from the Art Academy at the Brera Institute in Milan, then spent five years working for fashion accessories brand Corto Moltedo, where she developed the skills to start her label.
She has chosen to focus on bags rather than other accessories, as she finds bags versatile and practical.
Handbags are an extension of the female form, she thinks, and they not only complement a woman's look but also enhance her charm and grace.
"I create bags which fit the needs of women - they can be used from morning to evening with ease," she says.
For her Autumn/Winter 2015 collection, she chose rich winter shades such as khaki, bordeaux and dark tan, in vivid contrast to last season's pastel colours.
The collection is inspired by architect Jean Prouve and fashion designer Andre Courreges, who exemplified timelessness and elegance in the late 1960s.
For example, in the Iman bag, the slightly rounded, pyramid-esque studs that emblazon the flap of the bag are reminiscent of bolts on New York bridges and ironmongery, important motifs in Prouve's works.
Her bestseller is the Jasmine bucket model. Bucket bags, on trend with their 1970s sturdy silhouettes, juxtapose expansive interiors with seamless top-cinching exteriors.
"It's a bag which merges utility, style and comfort," she says.
Jasmine, with its fringe neatly flowing out of the folds of the bag and accented with a braided scoubidou handle, is a tribute to that trend.
She considers it the "It" bag of her collection and her favourite piece. On Pedder stocks more than eight styles in different colours, with prices starting from $1,400.
Creativity runs in her family: her father was a painter and her mother a sculptor. Her older brother is a gallerist, her younger brother a set designer and her older sister a fashion editor at W magazine and Vogue Japan.
The latter, Giovanna Battaglia, 36, is an often photographed personality and is her muse. "We are very close and often share fashion advice with each other.
"She is beautiful and glamorous and is definitely one of the muses who continually inspire me," says the designer, who is single.
The younger Battaglia plans to launch a fashion line next.
However, she declines to reveal the concept. "You'll see it in one year's time", she says with a laugh.
This article was first published on July 16, 2015.
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