One - Of - A - Kind - Bag
This pink clutch bag by Alexander McQueen holds a special memory to Michelle Robles-de Castro because it was her last purchase before heading back to Manila, after taking two years of MBA and setting up Sta. Lucia’s international office in London. Together with a good friend, she decided to go on a final shopping spree and bought a matching bag to remember her crazy London adventure. “When we saw the bag, it was just love at first sight,” she fondly recalls. “When we were about to pay, we found out that it was half the price, thus, everybody was happy!”.
“An ‘It’ bag transcends all trends,” says Mitch Robles-de Castro, corporate communications manager of Sta. Lucia Land, Inc., sales and operations manager of Sta. Lucia Land International, and designer bag collector since high school.“It stands the test of time and remains popular and respected because of its history, workmanship, quality, intricacy, and practicality.”
This lady not only knows a lot about bags, she takes great care of every piece she owns. Hers are stored in an air-conditioned room; car dehumidifiers dot every corner of the cabinets for extra protection against molds.
Each bag is stuffed with white Japanese paper, kept in an individual dust bag, and placed in its original box. She makes sure silica gel is abundant, to prevent moisture. She also takes individual Polaroid photos and displays them outside each box for easy identification.
A Louis Vuitton “Speedy” in Damier Azur Canvas was her first-ever purchase back in college, and her most cherished piece is a “2.55” classic Chanel purse, made of quilted black lambskin leather and gold hardware. The beauty of this bag is that it’s made exactly like the original bag Coco Chanel made when it was first released in 2.55 or February 1955.
“I’m guilty of buying bags every time I travel,” she confesses. “I acquire most of them in their respective boutiques in the US or Europe, depending on the brand’s country of origin.”
In Barcelona, she acquired a light gold Chanel “Flap” bag made of glazed python skin.“I just think not a lot of people have it, let alone seen this style,” she says of the elegant alternative to the classic Flap.
In Tokyo, she bought a fur bag from a local designer. “I thought it was so adorable and stylish,” she says, “only to realize back home that fur and hot weather just don’t go well together.”
Eight months pregnant during this shoot, she sported a Rebecca Minkoff “Mini Mac” crossbody bag in black. “I have a really bad back injury,” she explains. “Because of this, I’m not allowed to carry heavy or big bags.”
Perhaps this is why she’s got her eye on a 28 cm Hermès “Kelly.” “I just think it fits my personality more than a Birkin,” she says. Its shoulder straps make it easy for her to carry. Its size is just right, with a fair amount of space for things, and yet small enough to transition from day to night. “I love everything about it!” she exclaims. “Absolutely drool-worthy.”
“Bags are part of self-expression. Butyour overall look, as well as how you carry yourself, defines you.” – Michelle Robles-de Castro, corporate communications manager of Sta. Lucia Land, Inc. and sales and operations manager of Sta. Lucia Land International