Sofia Coppola is recasting. No, it’s not for a new film. We’re referring to her latest update of the SC bag she designed for Louis Vuitton in 2009. This season, the director of The Virgin Suicides and Marie Antoinette, who picked up an Academy Award for Best Original Screenplay in 2003 for her film Lost In Translation, looked to the house’s historic home and atelier in Asnières for inspiration. Light, easy to carry, timeless and very feminine, the resulting iteration of the SC bag is a true travel companion. Here, Coppola lets us in on the design process, what’s new about the SC bag and her definition of luxury.
What was your motivation behind the design of the SC bag?
“What I really wanted was a bag for myself and something my friends were looking for that wasn’t available at the time. I knew I wanted it to be chic and classic, entirely in leather, discreet, and, above all, practical. When I looked at the archives, I was very much inspired by the Speedy. My idea for the bag was also driven by everyday life: everybody has a busy life; I wanted something in which you could carry everything you need and which allowed you to go to a dinner straight from work.”
How does this bag reflect your sensibility? Would you say it’s more French or American?
“I’d say this bag has many different influences: the tradition of craftsmanship is European, and there is an air of French elegance about it too. Parisian women for me have always been the chicest. Growing up, I always admired my father’s French friends. I will never forget the first time I met Aurore Clément: she wore a crisp man’s shirt and black cigarette pants – so chic, so elegant. I wanted a handbag that conveyed the same spirit.”
Is designing a handbag similar to directing?
“Very much so. Designing a handbag is not unlike making a film. Both forms require the same curiosity and sensitive approach, and a level of intuition. It reminded me of the way I work with the art department when I’m making a film. It’s like creating a character in a story and envisioning the universe that that character belongs to.”
Describe your involvement in the design and working with the design team.
“Well, the people at Louis Vuitton are the experts! My job was to express what I wanted in a handbag, and then I went back to the historic atelier in Asnières, outside of Paris, to look through the archives for inspiration. I met with the extraordinary artisans there. They have such a unique savoir-faire, a magic touch that brings dreams to life. I was very lucky! The house has a rich history of incredible craftsmanship and quality to draw from.”
What’s new in this version of the SC bag?
“It’s going to be out in April, a time when you want something lighter, more joyful. So I wanted to create a more light-hearted, fun version for the summer, and we decided to launch a new version in perforated leather. It still has its classic shape, but with a touch of lightness and new colours.”
How does it feel to have your name on a luxury item?
“I am so proud and happy that it has stood the test of time and continues to evolve. Designing the bag was something new for me and I really enjoyed working with the team. It seems like they can do anything you can think of!”
Were you surprised by the bag’s success?
“All I was hoping for was that people would like it, but I was really surprised by its broad success. I loved seeing my friends carrying it and enjoying it, but then, I’d spot women in the street carrying it, which made me proud. It always makes you feel connected when people like the same things you do.”
Would you say a bag is a comfort zone for women?
“I wouldn’t go that far, but I think that a bag definitely resembles the person who carries it. It reflects your personality, the same way your clothes do.”
What is your definition of luxury?
“Having something that’s beautifully made. And something that’s custom-made is always luxurious – that’s how this project started. I like classic, simple shapes and I always carry the medium-sized navy blue SC bag – or the one in Bordeaux. I love carrying the white one in summer. I don’t think luxury is about having a huge number of accessories, just ones you really care about.”
What’s next for you?
“I’m currently writing the script for a new film that I’m planning to shoot later this year – it will be out next year. It’s still in its early stages of development.”