Lulu Guinness

Lulu Guinness

Descendant of blue blood, Lucinda Jane ‘Lulu’ Guinness, OBE, the daughter of Sir Miles Rivett-Carnac; the 9th Baronet was born in May, 1960 in West London. Lulu is known in the British fashion industry for her unique personal style and original ideas in everything she designs. Her retro, modern chic accessories with out-of-the-box designs are things to die for. Celebrities like Madonna, Helena Bonham Carter, Rachel Weisz, Florence Welch, Dita Von Teese and the Duchess of York are often seen carrying her handbags and clutches.

With her greatest inspiration being Elsa Schiaparelli, a famous French couturier back in the 1930s, solely known for her creativity and sense of imagination that made her couture so distinguished and sought after. Lulu follows Schiaparelli’s footsteps when it comes to designing her handbags and clutches with ‘do everything differently’ being her motivation. Lulu’s career started off with a boom when she established her own company in 1989 and soon her unique and unusual designs were so praised that she instantly became a fashion icon. Lulu Bag was her first signature briefcase design and it was only a matter of time before her accessories were showcased seasonally at the London Design Show and The Coterie, New York. Her shops sprung up in New York, London and Tokyo over a short period of time and each day brought her a step closer to reaching the pinnacle of success. The stores’ interiors are painstakingly designed by her to make sure that uniqueness, which makes up the core essence, is not lost. High-end stores like Harrods, Selfridges and Fortnum in the UK and even Lane Crawford in Hong Kong sell Lulu’s little masterpieces.

Guinness originally designed handbags but today she designs everything from eyewear to footwear and cushion covers. She tried her hand at designing footwear in 2001 and launched a women’s shoe collection to go with her handbag collection. Her shoe line was manufactured by Lambert Howard, a British shoe company and the collection included high heels, peep toes, flats and even boots. Her experiment with footwear with subliminal messages on the insides of the soles like ‘we suffer to be beautiful’ was like a breath of fresh air; just what the fashion industry needed and the bold step paid off well. In 2005, Lulu published a pop-up book titled ‘Put on Your Pearls, Girls!’ with pictures of her handbags featured along with her all time favorite Diana Vreeland style-fashion aphorisms. It is also interesting to note that Lulu’s bags are collectibles and some of them are permanent fixtures in museums like Victoria and Albert Museum in London and Sotheby’s, London and New York.

Lulu’s company made a profit of a whopping eight million dollars in 2005 by selling almost a hundred thousand bags in the previous year in over 500 stores around the globe. Despite such enormous success, it is surprising that Lulu never received any formal education related to fashion other than a foundation course she took up when living abroad. It would not be wrong to say that Lulu’s success comes from only one thing; her motto ‘Dare to be different’ which has made her who she is today.

The self-taught designer, Lulu Guinness has received many accolades such as the OBE that she received from Queen Elizabeth for her outstanding services to the fashion industry on the Queen’s Birthday in 2006. She also received The Independent Handbag Designer Awards for ‘Lifetime Achievement in Handbag Design’.