COLOMBIAN ROOTS, GLOBAL REACH
Nancy Gonzalez, eponymous with vibrant color and luxurious textures has become one of the most celebrated handbag designers in the world. Known for her innovative use of precious skins and distinct color palette, her handbags have become instant classics.
Gonzalez, a petite, soft-spoken woman of the utmost conviction and unfathomable determination, knows firsthand what it takes to succeed. As a mother of two, she made a courageous choice for a Colombian woman to go into business for herself. Drawing from what she knew best, the inspiration of her native country, she created handbags that celebrated the natural beauty and rich culture of Colombia. Quality, exclusivity, authenticity and timelessness are the trademarks of true luxury. These, along with a combination of dreaminess and rigor, are the pillars of the Nancy Gonzalez brand.
The Colombian-born designer began selling in the U.S. in 1998, debuting her eight-piece collection at Bergdorf Goodman. According to Jim Gold, chief executive officer of The Neiman Marcus Group, “Nancy Gonzalez is one of the Key Brands in our accessories department. We’ve had an enormously successful relationship with her for Years. She is a true visionary who has revolutionized the precious skins market with her mix of unconventional colors and design.”
In addition to innovative design, the fundamental virtue of distinctive craftsmanship is what sets Nancy Gonzalez’s collections apart. She applies meticulous design and quality to all of her products. Her bags are handcrafted in her native Cali, Colombia by a team of local artisans with a remarkable manual ability of ancestral origin and a deep desire to achieve the highest quality. She believes in making craftsmen the patient inventors of a new know-how. Nancy is dedicated to enhancing her native community, committed especially to the enriching the wellbeing of her employees and their families. She is a driving force for social change, employing almost all women and providing day-care for their children. Nancy strives to instill her employees with dignity, optimism and structure by providing a rewarding work environment.
Nancy Gonzalez designs are always modern, yet they are inspired by classical elements. “Nature is my best accomplice and my source of inspiration is life,” she says. “I always try to push the limits of what can be done with precious skins.” Her clients are at the heart of her brand. Her aim is to convey joy, benevolence and strength through her designs to create an emotional relationship between her clients and their bags. “I incorporate elements into each piece that make us smile; a color, a texture, a detail, a surprise.”
Worldwide, consumers recognize her trademark originality and quality. The collection is sold at over 300 luxury retailers around the world including Bergdorf Goodman, Neiman Marcus, Saks Fifth Avenue, Harrod’s, Tsum, Lane Crawford, Net-a-Porter to name a few. In addition, she has two boutiques in Seoul, Korea and has recently opened a third outpost in the IFC mall in Hong Kong.
Recent accolades for Nancy Gonzalez include being awarded as Brand of the Year by the Accessories Council in November 2007. Acknowledgement has also come from museums, such as The Metropolitan Museum of Art’s Costume Institute and the Philadelphia Museum of art, which have collected her creations underlining the pertinence of her work within a historical and artistic context.
Santiago Barberi Gonzalez, President and Creative Director of Nancy Gonzalez, was immersed in
creativity and culture at an early age. Born in Cali, Colombia, his childhood was steeped in travel
and a heritage of savoring fine art and design.
He was inspired by Nancy Gonzalez, his mother. Her exquisite taste was greatly admired and led Mr. Barberi Gonzalez to conceptualize what today is the Nancy Gonzalez brand. Mr. Barberi Gonzalez remains the brand visionary for the company which he founded with his mother in 1998. He has been the force behind the global expansion of Nancy Gonzalez, with responsibility for every element of the brand’s presence and business strategies from international sales to visual presentation.
Mr. Barberi Gonzalez established the company's US headquarters in New York. From there, he creates and defines the "voice" for the Nancy Gonzalez brand both visually and conceptually. From campaigns, to stores design, to merchandising the collection, he oversees the creative teams he has chosen to collaborate with from concept to reality.
Mr. Barberi Gonzalez unexpectedly inspired the addition of the company’s Santiago Gonzalez collection for men. When he started carrying a few one-of-kind men’s designs he designed for himself, store executives immediately took notice – and asked to place orders. His line has become a full collection that is sold at Bergdorf Goodman, Mr. Porter, Isetan, Harrods among other luxury retailers worldwide.
Santiago Barberi Gonzalez was educated in the United States. After prep school he attended Babson College in Boston for business administration and then SCAD to study fashion merchandising and art history. While at SCAD he started Nancy Gonzalez and traveled between Savannah and New York until graduation. He sits on the Board of Directors of the Accessories Council. Last year, Wallpaper Magazine invited Mr. Barberi Gonzalez to participate in the 51st edition of Salone del Mobile in Milan to collaborate with designer Aldo Baker in designing a stool all covered in Crocodile. He resides in New York and Paris and is a passionate collector of contemporary art and design.