BIBAMAGAZINE - March 2021 – France

Chic and creative leather goods and fashion accessories

Made in France is making a comeback. A guarantee of quality and ethics, more and more designers are making this choice by collaborating with local artisans, thus highlighting a blue white red know-how. Yes, but at what price?

Gloria Balensi is an artist. Creator of her eponymous leather goods and fashion accessories brand, her wish is to combine creativity and artisanal production, at a fair price.

His desire: to highlight women, all women with a very unique touch of originality.

Gloria, can you tell us a bit about yourself?

I am the creator of my eponymous brand, Gloria Balensi . Originally from Lyon, I moved to Paris for a year and a half with the aim of developing my brand.

As far as I can remember, artistic expression has always been a part of my life, especially thanks to my mother. Painter, his work is an ode to woman, to her forms and to her femininity.

Very young, I also feel this artistic fiber, I draw and make sketches. After some hesitation, I joined a fashion school in Lyon and I had the chance to follow my professional tailoring training with a little hand of Jean-Paul Gaultier.

Can you tell us about the history of your Gloria Balensi brand?

I've been wearing lip orange for 10 years, this touch of eccentricity has become part of my identity. My friends started calling me “the girl with the orange mouth”. This nickname gave me the idea to customize my clothes by adding this orange mouth everywhere. Then, of course, I decided to create a black leather pouch by adding this signature mouth.

To my great surprise, this cover model is a huge success around me. This orange mouth then becomes the logo of my brand and this pouch, named Mily , in honor of my grandmother, my first model. The brand was born.

Can you tell us about this emblematic logo, a mouth symbol of femininity but also of freedom, of casualness?

This mouth actually represents the letter M of the word muse. The slogan of my brand is to “make every woman a muse”.

This iconic and unique mouth is in my eyes a real fashion accessory. Beyond the simple logo, these lips are a necessary touch of originality and fantasy. So I push women to assume this point of eccentricity that they have in each of them. My model of brooches in the shape of a mouth, or even the typically French beret decorated with my logo are all examples. A simple and sober style with a touch of originality.

Today this orange mouth is available in many colors so that every woman can associate her lipstick with it.

Associating your lipstick with your leather goods, allowing women to sublimate themselves, in the subtlety of the details, this is what makes me vibrate.

What inspires you?

Women, all women. In my eyes, they are all unique, charismatic and endowed with an original force. I like to observe them and see this little flame of eccentricity in their looks and in their attitudes.

Of course, I also find my inspiration in paintings, art, the Roaring Twenties, icons such as Joséphine Baker, Mata Hari, Louise Brooks or even the Dolce Vita.

Finally, the woman who was at the heart of many of my projects, my grandmother, with her Chantal Thomas haircut and who only dressed in Sonia Rykiel.

Craftsmanship is at the heart of your project, can you tell us about it? According to you, is democratizing ethical and fair fashion a militant act?

Safe. Very quickly, when I launched my brand, I realized that it was important for me to turn to ethical production and craftsmanship. Being from Lyon, I work with manufacturers from the Rhones-Alpes region in whom I trust and who only use quality materials.

My goal is to combine quality, thanks to French production, and to offer my products at a fair price. I want my creations to be accessible to everyone and to go outside the classic paths of mass production.

What are the latest trends in leather goods?

For the spring-summer 2021 season, the trend remains casual and streetwear, so double XL bags in flexible materials are waiting for you. And since opposites attract, the fashion for mini-bags, rigid, with a retro-vintage inspiration continues to be trending for this summer.

My model, the ARTIST bag , responds to this trend in vintage leather goods codes with its handle in the shape of an artist's palette. I also created a pouch, Teli, combining elegance and practicality, allowing women to swipe their cellphones and their credit cards so that they can walk around with ease.

A word to conclude?

Always go further in creation. I hope to continue to develop my brand and the variety of products. For example, I am currently working on a line of gold plated jewelry made from natural stones. These jewels are made in India, in a family workshop. My emblematic mouth will thus be declined in jewelry.

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