Downtown Magazine

Black Crocodile Briefcase

Nancy Gonzalez, a petite soft-spoken woman from Colombia, set out to make her handbag designing dreams come true, and in 1998 she made her United States collection debut. Over the past several decades, the brand, which is notable for original use of precious skins and unique colors, has become a household name in the fashion-savy circles around the globe. "I incorporate elements in each piece that make us smile; a color, a texture, a detail, a surprise," she says.
You can find her extensive line of woven clutches, weekenders, satchels, hobo bags and box clutches, in 150-plus designs and nearly 200 colorways, at more than 100 stores worldwide, including Bergdorf Goodman and Saks Fifth Avenue.
Even more important, Gonzalez continues to keep close to her native community by employing local women and providing daycare for their children. She instills dignity, positivity and structure in a rewarding work environment. Meanwhile, Gonzalez's son, Santiago Barberi Gonzalez, who is president of his mom's brand, took a cue from her and introduced his first men's collection during the 2010 holiday season.
The Santiago Gonzalez collection, sold at Bergdorf Goodman and Neiman Marcus, features men's luxury leather accessories, including wallets, small leather goods, totes and backpacks made of precious skins, a la Nancy. Asked what his vision for the line is moving forward, Santiago says, "The line is a system of travel and day bags for the active man. The evolution of it will focus on adding new styles that build upon the collection for the male clients who already own pieces."