While a brand’s wares may be featured in any number of editorials during the year, its best opportunity to assert its aesthetic for each season arrives in the form of a lookbook campaign, which is then distributed to editors and often appears as part of the brand’s advertisements.
For handbag designer Monica Botkier, her Spring 2013 lookbook is personal in two big ways: Firstly, she shot the whole thing herself (little known fact: she was a photographer before she started her line). Secondly, she teamed up with a style blogger she’d actually first met years ago: Aimee Song of It-blog Song of Style.
Botkier and Song let us go behind-the-scenes at the bright and cheery lookbook at Pier 59 in December, and revealed the history of their partnership and—perhaps most importantly—what they keep in their (seriously chic) handbags.
StyleCaster News: How did you guys meet?
Monica Botkier: The first time we met was years ago, actually. Aimee was probably the first blogger on my radar who really caught my eye with her style and photography as well—because of me being a photographer with my background. That was San Francisco—I still remember those images really well … I had started Botkier before bloggers existed I guess, and there was so much going on, but Aimee really stuck out. Her style was on par with what I love and I think it’s really distinctive. So that was the beginning of the relationship.
You shoot your own photos for your lookbooks, which a lot of people don’t know.
MB: Yes, that’s my background. That’s what I did before I started Botkier—by accident, or unintentionally. So almost 10 years later! But I’m so happy to be back here because I used to shoot at Pier 59.
Were you excited about the shoot, Aimee?
Aimee Song: We talked for a while, and I’m glad that this all happened. I’m happy to be here. Botkier’s obviously one of my favorite handbag brands—I carry it almost every day—and my sister steals my all of my bags. My sister has Instagram and she posts a lot of my bags on her Instagram, and Monica leaves comments like, “Oh my gosh! It looks cute on you, too.”
This lookbook is for spring—what’s the feel for the new season? We see a lot of classics.
MB: It’s really about bright and fun—it’s supposed to be a very happy collection. We’re introducing some really great price points, as well, like small, cross-body pouches that are, like, $195 entry price points. So it’s great for a traveling girl like Aimee because if you’re going somewhere, you throw it into your big bag and then wear it out at night. But generally, it’s pastels and brights—a lot of lines and graphic. I think that everything I’ve done since the Trigger bag (Botkier’s best-selling classic) has included a lot of hard lines in there and geometric shapes. We’re really amping that up. It’s almost a softer version of a mod story. Not such intense color-blocking, but really telling a colorful story. I just wanted happiness. The winter just seems so … long.
Last question: What are the key pieces in each of your bags?
MB: I have a lot of pouches — I have my makeup pouch and then my pen pouch. Hand sanitizer and face spritzers—love those. Especially if they’re orange-flavored, or something. It’s such a pick-me-up.
AS: I always have lipstick and Aquaphor—because I have dry skin, and there’s nothing worse than dry skin. I also sketch all the time so I always have a notebook.
Photography by Adam Katz Sinding