Francesca Versace is fashion royalty. She is the daughter of Santo Versace, the older brother of Gianni Versace and Donatella Versace. Though Francesca’s father isn’t a designer, he’s also heavily involved in the Versace empire, handling the business side of things. Having been surrounded by fashion and design growing up, it was inevitable that Francesca would turn to design, as well.
Francesca was here recently to attend the launch of her Fall-Winter collection for Bric’s. The Philippines is the first country in Asia to launch her collection. Bric’s is an Italian luggage brand specializing in functional and practical bags made with jetsetters in mind. One of the brand’s popular bags is the X-bag, a three-way convertible and collapsible nylon and leather tote that allows you to carry it as a handheld shopper, cross-body or as a pocket bag (the inner pocket detaches and comes with a shoulder strap).
A chance meeting in Florence set the ball rolling for the collaboration between the two. “I met the Briccola family at the Pitti fashion fair in Florence, and they asked me to collaborate with them. It was a real honor,” she says. Francesca’s collection for Bric’s is called “Travel Sense,” inspired mainly by her love for travel. “I love to travel. Every time I go somewhere, I always come back with pictures, so I put them in frames. If you come to my flat, you’ll see a lot of frames,” she says.
The frames were an inspiration for the print she came up with for the collection. “I put all of them together and added a touch of baroque and neoclassic because of my family DNA. I wanted to identify myself with that,” adds Francesca. She recalls how she grew up surrounded by ancient furniture and paintings from the 1800s. “Our house was neoclassic but with modern furniture, so I grouped the old and modern in a print for my collection, too.”
Mary Poppins bag
Her personal traveling style makes her a good fit for Bric’s. “I don’t bring too many clothes because I like to travel light, although on this trip to the Philippines I have way too many bags,” she says with a laugh. “I have a few Bric’s trolleys because they’re very handy, very light. It’s a great practical product and there is amazing quality but affordable, so it’s a good combination,” she says. “You can fit a lot of things in a small Bric’s trolley, it’s really like a Mary Poppins bag!” she adds.
Francesca has been everywhere, though it is her first time here in Manila. “I love Asia. I went to Tokyo, many times to Bali and Thailand. I also love South America, so I go to Brazil a lot,” she enthuses. “My last trip was Peru, I went to Machu Picchu. I love diving in remote places like the Maldives. I’m looking forward to visiting the Philippine islands next time. I love places where I’m immersed in nature. I also love to detach myself from cell phones and computers; just to be in touch with nature is very healthy and rejuvenating,” adds Francesca.
As a seasoned traveler, she has mastered the art of traveling light and values functionality, which is why she designed her “Travel Sense” collection with care and great detail. “The lining, the pockets for the mobile phone, the padded pockets for the iPad, the zipper pulls, attention to detail is very important,” she says. “When I buy a bag, it has to have a good weight and details are very important; it cannot be just beautiful, it has to be practical and functional,” says Francesca.
She picks up a small trolley from her collection and points out how she specifically chose the gold metal zipper pulls with a wave cutout. The “Bric’s” leather label has a contrasting color along the edge, as do the leather tabs stitched in the trolley. The color contrast reflects the season; her Fall-Winter collection has accents of coffee brown. The wave edging, a wave-shaped cutout which accents the outer leather pockets, is a constant in all of the bags from the collection. This incorporates her love of water and the beach into the bags.
After our interview, Francesca headed back to her hotel to pick up her mom. The two had plans to visit San Agustin Church in Intramuros and also Echo Store to look for Philippine-made beauty products. “I tend to plan long trips, but then once I arrive, I always leave a few days open if I’m not too busy with work to extend my stay or go and explore. Travel has to be an adventure.” says Francesca.
Bric’s is located at Shangri-La Plaza’s new East Wing and at SM Aura.
Francesca Versace’s tips for traveling light
When traveling, Francesca Versace recommends packing light. She usually brings one handbag, a small trolley for the plane’s overhead cabin storage, and a big bag for clothes and shoes.
“I love jeans and shirts, short dresses and loose pants. I love to be comfortable when I’m on the beach. It’s always handy to have a few dresses for evening, a few comfy shoes and one pair of high heels. It also depends on my mood and where I am.”
“Beauty products are very important, especially when you travel a lot. I love good creams, I love Sisley and Shu Uemura. I like oils. I’m a huge fan of natural aromatherapy oils. I always carry them around, and I love masques. I try to have small bottles so it’s not heavy. I prepare samples at home or buy smaller bottles.”
“I always have a small trolley with me, and then a smaller bag where I put my cell phones, jewelry and wallet. I divide my things. A small bag for precious items, and inside the trolley I have the heavy stuff: books, magazines, iPad, camera. I like to be organized. Like this small bag, this is for next year’s Spring-Summer, I call it a ‘Kiki’ bag, it reminds me of the song (‘Let’s Have A Kiki’ by Scissor Sisters) because it’s a disco bag as well, but practical for daytime, too.”