Where Fashion meets Opera: Perichette

Founded by designer Peri Conner, Perichette is a niche independent fashion label that offers one-of-a-kind luxury handbags and accessories to opera and theater-loving fashionistas. The brand debuted in Europe during Milan Fashion Week 2018 and will soon be debuting in the USA. The brand stands for the woman who knows what she wants and speaks of bold, feminine and timeless elegance.

When did you decide to become a designer? And what is your first fashion memory?

Years ago, I was attending several events where I was desperately looking for stylish and unique evening bags to match my attire. After unsuccessfully searching many stores I decided to make my own.  I started sewing evening bags made out of silk and cotton.  Friends and acquaintances were my first customers. I decided to take Perichette to the next level and start a luxury line. Perichette originates from the French word “Pochette”, meaning petite bag, and is the personalized bag of „Peri“.

Every woman knows how important her handbag is.  A handbag is the personal companion through a woman’s journey called life.  Day bags are functional and spacious – you can just throw all your personal belongings in your work bag and rush out the door to start your day.  But how about the soirées?- I thought. Picking the perfect evening bag is easy, but deciding what to put inside is very hard because evening bags offer limited space.  We want to look good at that special event, we want to touch up our lipstick, make sure our hair sits perfectly, we also want to have some painkiller not to let a headache ruin our night. Brush, safety pins, cash/change, credit card, driver’s license, mints, perfume, pain reliever, lipstick, powder, bobby pins, tissues, phone charger, just to name a few and I can go on with this list.  Perichette offers you spacious luxury evening handbags from the finest materials made by local artisans.

My first fashion memory was back in the days when I was 5 years old.  My mother used to go to a tailor to let her make custom dresses for special occasions.  I used to collect fabric leftovers I liked and put them together as garments for myself and my dolls.  I also remember the antique Singer sewing machine at my grandmother’s house where I was trying to sew and do what the tailor was doing. I always loved being surrounded by fabrics and crafts. I started at an early age with handcrafting and painting on T-shirts, silk scarves and ties and gifted them to my family. I also enjoyed working with wood and embellished jewelry boxes with stones and little glass pieces.

What would you have done if you wouldn’t have had become a designer?

I have a communication and marketing background, so I assume I would have stayed in this field but still would have tried to focus on fashion marketing and PR. Fashion has always been and will always be a part of my life.

Your favorite designers: yesterday and today.

There are so many designers out there who inspire me on different levels. Back home in Zurich, I admire the fierce designer Ezgi Cinar with her elegant and tasteful dresses.  I have been following Amina Muaddi with her amazing career as a shoe designer.  These women inspire me on a daily basis.  I admire strong women who master life and career like Nelly Don in Kansas City who built a garment empire and broke social taboos.  Elsa Schiaparelli is another empowered designer who invented a whole new direction combining Surrealism with fashion and took „trompe l’oeil“ to another level.  Despite her life struggles she kept suprising the world with „Shocking Pink“ and out of  the box designs.  Gabrielle Chanel took the world by storm by the simplicity of black and white. She reinvented her story and decided to transform her hardships into success.  Another inspiring designer is Alice Kriemler-Schoch, the founder of the Swiss brand Akris.  Aprons were the original product of her small business which expanded greatly as it passed through the generations.

Which is the strong point of your handbag collections?

Perichette prides itself in offering long lasting designs in both quality and look that will stand the test of time. There is no such thing as “out of season” or “out of trend” for any Perichette bag. Additionally, all Perichette products are handmade and produced in limited edition so that with time each bag’s value will go up, making each one of them worth collecting like art. Perichette‘s trademark color is purple which represents royalty, nobility, luxury, power and ambition.

How was your love for the opera born?

My love for opera was born through the love of classic literature.  I grew up reading a lot of  novels by Goethe, Dumas, Schiller, Lessing etc.  Opera taught me to bring these stories and their characters to life by beautiful music, costumes and sceneries.  I enjoy the marriage of drama and vocal art at operas, it makes me love, suffer and rejoice with every single character even more than reading, it makes your mind sore and alive at the same time.

Perichette, Violetta clutch in Gobelin fabric, Italian gold calf leather and 24 carat gold plated hardware.

What relationship do you establish with the Heroines of the Operas?

Perichette’s first line of bags, known as the Goddess collection, was inspired by Ancient Greek, Roman and Egyptian Empires as well as strong female opera characters.  Besides names of powerful ancient goddesses I also chose for the first collection Aida, Carmen, Manon, Die Marschallin (Marie-Therese) and Violetta. They are all empowered in their own way, they live their individual lives to the fullest and they fight for love like there is no tomorrow.  I personally find a little piece of me in every opera heroine.  I can relate to Carmen’s fire but I can also see myself as vulnerable as Violetta.  Every woman has a lot of facets and can be as wise as Marie Therese but also as daring and bold as Manon. We women are all passionate as Aida but can also be pragmatic as Amneris. I like designing my  handbags with a character so that the woman who wears them can identify herself with the brand.

Soprano Nino Machaidze with Carmen clutch

Which one of your creations do you love the most?  Which one did you regret creating?

This is a difficult question because every creation and design is unique. The most challenging design was the iconic Opera bag (Die Marschallin) which is a two-compartment bag inspired by the opera glasses case (known as theater binoculars). There is a lot of custom hardware and traditional artist techniques and skills involved in the production which make this handbag unique. Die Marschallin is definitely everybody’s darling and has a lot of admirers. I can not think of any design I would dismiss because they are all so different and offer many distinct features and characteristics.

You are about to launch a new collection: what will it be like? Can you give us some anticipation?

The new collection will be launched in September 2019 at Kansas City Fashion Week and is a summer / resort line called PLAGETTE. Plagette is in French a small beach, or in this sense, a happy summer place where everyone is overdressed. The Opera theme will make an appearance in a pop art inspired manner where we partnered with a very talented artist. The partnership will be revealed soon. There will be „loud“ colors and prints which gives it a modern twist compared to the previous collection where the spirit was more traditional. In this collection we are going with bigger bags which can be used as beach totes or for every day life.  We are also launching for the first time dresses and beach coverups to match the bags. Besides the summery colors Perichette is going the extra mile with a lot of black and gold tulle and mesh.

Three adjectives to define your brand…

Passionate – Playful – Poised

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