Bags Of Lego!

Les Petits Joueurs’ quirky statement bags hit the big time

When A-listers as diverse as they are influential (we’re talking the likes of Amal Clooney, Olivia Palermo and Helena Bordon) share a passion for the same niche fashion label, you can be sure it has tapped into the zeitgeist. Les Petits Joueurs is that label, and its quirky statement handbags can now be spotted adorning the arms of streetstyle mavens across the world’s chicest cities, making it the most-carried bag of Fashion Month Spring 2016. It’s an It-bag trend that might never have been, however, had Maria Sole Cecchi—law school dropout- -turned-Creative Director of Les Petits Joueurs—not embellished an old tote with a mosaic of Lego pieces in an attempt to revive it. We were struck by the astonishingly rapid success of her creative vision, and went to find out more:
Maria Sole Cecchi, Creative Director of Les Petits JoueursWhat inspired you to put Lego on bags?  
When I was living in Paris in my early twenties I happened to have some lying around my flat. It was the era of eye-catching, fun accessories, and I felt that Lego would be the perfect way to customize the black totes that everyone was wearing. So, I embellished an old bag with them and wore it out that evening. It was a huge hit!  

Is it a difficult manufacturing process?  
Creatively, Lego isn’t easy to work with, because it has existing colors and shapes that you cannot change—so I always have to work around what complements the Lego.  

And what inspires you now, each time you start off another collection?  
It can be a particular culture, or an artist, or a sunset…anything that moves me. Then I begin sifting through material samples to see what fits my ideas. I experiment a lot with new materials. Once the design is in place, we create a sample—it’s always exciting to see a drawing take physical form for the first time.  

We understand that the bags are made in Florence. Does Les Petits Joueurs have a big team of designers there?  
At the moment it’s just me, backed up by a graphic designer. However, the flow of work has definitely skyrocketed and I’m now looking to extend the creative team. Not designers—I want to keep my creative vision focused—but people to help with research and other supporting roles.  

When your bags are seen on the arms of the famous, does that bring enough publicity to reduce your marketing spend?!  
It’s always exciting to see celebrities enjoying my bags—from Amal Clooney, the epitome of classical elegance, to Kylie Jenner, who represents the fun, hip fashion lover. They definitely bring a lot of publicity to the brand, but we are still constantly investing in marketing.  

You are in business with your brother. How do you split roles and responsibilities?  
I manage the creative process and he manages the business. As the creative one, my mind runs wild with designs and projects. Andrea helps me organize my ideas into something concrete. Our complementary roles, I think, are key to sustaining a fashion business.  

Do you come from a creative family?  
My earliest fashion memory is when I was very young, when our parents opened luxury multi-brand stores around Italy. We would accompany them to buy items and learned a lot from observing how trends changed; what buyers liked; how to open boxes; and so much more. I may not have a degree in fashion, but growing up within the industry taught me everything I know.  

Which city is home?  
Florence—it’s where I was born and where my family and my business are. Sao Paulo is my home away from home. The years I lived there were some of my fondest; I have many dear friends in São Paulo, and it’s where Les Petits Joueurs took off.  

What in particular excited you about the ‘TechDreamers’ event?  
I was already thinking of using Swarovski crystals, so it was perfect timing. The fact that it was in collaboration with LUISAVIAROMA, which has supported us from the beginning, made it that much more special. They know how to throw an amazing event, and it was exciting that it all took place in my home city, Florence.  

Did you have a favorite piece? What made it stand out?  
Everyone did such an amazing job with their collaboration! The key was to incorporate the crystals seamlessly into each brand’s signature style. I loved the two bags we created for it: Swapping Lego blocks for Swarovski crystals gave them the perfect hint of sparkle.  

What forthcoming SS16 trends is Les Petits Joueurs gearing up for?  
There are some references to current trends, such as the mini totes, micro buckets and fringes, but we always keep faithful to the brand’s DNA.  

Finally, anything new on the horizon?  
Here are so many things I still want to do – I’d love to expand into shoes, for instance, but we’ll see… The road is long and the ideas are many!