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10 questions with Fossati Handbags’ Catherine Fossati

Handbag du Jour is always on the hunt for the next big handbag designer and when we stumbled onto Catherine Fossati Healey‘s exquisite creations, we knew we found one! Her limited-edition creations have been seen on red carpets and in publications worldwide, and it’s easy to see why. Fossati bags are the ultimate in luxury, made of handpicked, flawless exotic materials like python and ring lizard, with hand-painted treatments, and lined in hot pink Italian lamb and calf skin! We chatted with the woman behind the line to ask her about the brand, her personal interests, celebrity inspiration and what’s coming up next for Fossati. Check it out:

Handbag du Jour: Tell us why/how you started Fossati handbags
Catherine Fossati: I’ve had a long love affair with art, design and textiles. As a child I used to spend hours learning the feel and smell of fine materials, like cashmere, wool, cotton, silk and leather. I grew up immersed in classic style and quality in a culture where everything bought was an investment meant to be passed to the next generation. My love for timeless style and lasting quality is rooted deep in my childhood.

Named after my family, Fossati is the pursuit of a childhood dream. It’s a return to my creative roots and my comfort place. I started it because it sounded fun and when you pour your soul into something it should be something fun and loved. You need that passion to carry you through the
rough patches.

After a long career in the auto industry I took a year to develop a plan and build a team. One of my most important team members is my atelier based in California. After countless interviews I picked her because we communicate well and she can take my conceptual design and make it production worthy. She is one of three ateliers in the US who could produce the level of quality I needed and was willing to produce small quantities. She was the only one who would work remotely with me. Her work is meticulous. It’s the care we take in the details of the bag like the timber, the sound (like a luxury car door) when the bag closes, the soft leather linings in bright fun colors that make owning a Fossati bag and experience greater than pictures can show.


Fossati Venice Evening Clutch in Silver Lizard, $985

HdJ: How many Fossati collections do you design each year and what is your ‘design formula’?
CF: I intentionally don’t follow trends or design new collections every year. The vision for Fossati is to offer a stable of good selling styles in a classic variety of materials and continuously offer limited edition pieces around events and moments in our lives through a pre-order. That is the vision; Fossati is still very, very young and we’re still developing our base collection.

Our design formula is simple elegance. The timeless designs from the most luxurious houses like Chanel, Hermes and Louis Vuitton are simple and more structured. The most loved bags are simple and functional designs. A bag has to function, be comfortable to wear and above all make you feel gorgeous, very special and cared for.

HdJ: Tell us what’s new and haute from Fossati this season.
CF: Fossati is still very new and haute. We’re working on some collaboration for the fall. We offer bespoke services for our higher end materials like ostrich and alligator.

I’m sponsoring a very young talented designer’s new clothing line this spring. His work will be showcased on


Fossati Venice Evening Clutch in Gold Python, $785

HdJ: What was your inspiration for Fossati’s newest collection?
CF: Heritage and daydreaming are my inspiration. My father’s family is from Milan. I’ve always dreamed of Italy. I’ve planned dozens of trips there already.

HdJ: Which celebrity has carried/would you love to see carrying Fossati?
CF: Michael Stuhlbarg’s fiancé Mai-Lihn Lofgren carried my Venice evening clutch in the 2010 Golden Globe awards. Michael Stuhlbarg was nominated for Best Performance by an Actor in a Motion Picture (Musical or Comedy) for his lead role in the Coen brothers dark comedy A Serious Man.

My clutch went to the awards and many parties including the 300C signing of Chrysler’s Haiti relief effort. One of those times you wish you could plant a video camera to capture it all. Fortunately, Life caught a lot of the action for me.

From a strategic marketing/PR perspective, I’d love to see my bags featured on Gossip Girl, the latest TV show for cool girl fashion. Leading ladies include Blake Lively, Leighton Meester, Taylor Momsen, Jessica Szohr, and Kelly Rutherford.


Fossati Venice Evening Clutch in Ombre Lizard, $885

HdJ: Which celebrity’s style most inspires you and/or which do you love the most?
CF: Audrey Hepburn‘s style in Breakfast at Tiffany’s is classic and one of my favorites. I admire a number of contemporary actresses. Angelina Jolie is at the top of my list. I’ve watched the Tomb Raider movies with my sons dozens of times. I love the action. Angie does her own stunts. She’s talented, has substance and seems grounded. I love her classic, minimal personal style. She manages to look elegant even when managing six very young children. That’s a stunt. She’s stunning at the award ceremonies.

I loved Charlize Theron in The Italian Job and Mighty Joe Young. She was amazing in Monster although I barely recognized her. Her performance shows the depth she has and talent.

Madonna is from my neighborhood and you must love someone from your home town that does well. She was such a good sport in the BMW film series.

HdJ: Who are your top 5 personal favorite designers/brands/places to shop and why?
CF: Designers and brands are kind of one and the same; I have classic brands I love as well as some emerging designers. I admire the independence of Hermes, Chanel, Ferragamo. Many ‘IT’ brands belong to the French conglomerates. Their bags are beautiful but not my favorites.

My favorite place to shop is Paris. Shopping in Paris is an experience like no other. I have a number of favorite online boutiques:,,,


Fossati Capri Shoulder Bag, $1,955

HdJ: Which Fossati bag are you currently carrying and what must-haves are inside it?
CF: I carry my Capri in the day and Venice at night of course. I travel light. My must haves are phone, wallet, lipstick, keys and sun glasses. In the evening I lose the sunglasses and wallet and add license credit card and some cash. What else does a girl really need?

HdJ: What are some of your favorite things to do in your spare time?
CF: I love to spend time with my family and friends. Enjoy a home cooked meal, go for long walks. When I’m tense and need to get my creativity going again I go for a long bike ride, another childhood love. When I ride my bike I’m 16 again.

HdJ: What can we look forward to from Fossati for Fall 2011?
CF: That’s still a secret but my next muses are Positano on the Amalfi coast, Lake Como and Genoa. Dream on. Or I may surprise you and design in a completely different direction. The nice thing about being small is there are no committees.

Special thanks to Cathy Fossati for taking the time to chat with Handbag du Jour! Visit Fossati Handbags to see and shop her luxury creations.

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3 responses to "10 questions with Fossati Handbags’ Catherine Fossati"

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