Coccinelle’s Creative Directors: Made by Women for Women
With the task of rethinking the codes of the Italian accessory brand, making it more fresh, contemporary and designed for an international clientele, Coccinelle entrusts its new course to the vision of the Milanese Eleonora Pujia and the creativity of the Belgian designer Vinciane Stouvenaker.
After attending the “4 Rooms” event for their new Autumn/Winter Collection 2019/20 in Milan, MiND talked to them about their creative vision for Coccinelle.
How did you get started as Coccinelle’s Creative Directors? Can you walk us through your backgrounds?
Eleonora: I started many years ago working for Prada and Miu Miu. Then, in 1994, I started my experience at Coccinelle. The first single-brand retail store was launched in Milan. The time had come for the brand to express its own identity through a sales point dedicated solely to our product. In those days there weren’t many brands working on the retail sector, so we opened a shop in the heart of Brera district, a fresh, young, innovative area. Then I became a communication manager. I really enjoyed telling stories about charity and collaborations that were always related to the product. In 2016 I left my position in communication to become Creative Director of Coccinelle together with Vinciane.
Vinciane: I grew up in Belgium, but I’ve been always fascinated by the combination of art and fashion of Made in Italy. So, in the 1980s, I moved to Milan. I founded the accessory brand De Couture and, in 2011, I joined Coccinelle as an external designer and then gradually I became Creative Director. Eleonora has always been my point of reference, we got on immediately.
"We are two complementary figures, similar and different at the same time."
How does maintaining a background in communication and fashion design give Coccinelle a creative edge?
Eleonora: We have the same concept of sophistication, an aesthetic taste that makes us recognizable. We start from different points, but we always end up at the same point. Vinciane is a true expert on style, and her cosmopolitan taste always brings a modern and sophisticated touch to the collection.
Vinciane: Eleonora always understands me straight away. We start with a creative project; I follow the product design part and then we share the work based on our characteristics. Although lately we started doing a little bit of everything together starting from the creative themes that also include communication, retail, visuals and events.
Some of Coccinelle’s brand values are: Openness, Confidence, Commitment, Zest for Life and Joy of Living. How do you apply these values to your job and on a personal level?
Eleonora: Coccinelle has always been a company based on the product; there has always been a quest to give something new, a new image, a new look, new colors. Every season there’s this desire of knowing “what is Coccinelle doing this year?”.
Vinciane: We decided to create a new story made by women for women. We put the self-confident, conscious, feminine woman at the center. These values have been redefined focusing precisely on what the woman represents for us, starting from the choice of the bag, colorful and multifaceted as women’s joy of living. The woman, through these bags, can express her soul. It is inclusive, it is open to everyone and not meant for a single type of woman.
Eleonora: We created a story of color, of complicity, of naturalness. We always try to have an appealing product, which you can’t live without. So, bags that are real accessories, daily companions, protagonists of an elegant luxury. We use our own bags. I happened to see people working in other companies that do not use their product. I find it hard not to use one of our products, especially when a new season starts, and you have to try a new bag. I was looking at the wardrobe the other day and I noticed that I can’t get rid of any bags. One day I hope to leave them all to my daughter.
Vinciane: These bags are timeless. At the moment, I can’t go out without a bag called Fauve, a little feline, a bit like a woman’s alter ego. It is so spacious and functional … I would like to have it in different colors, one for every facets of my personality.
"We decided to create a new story made by women for women."
Can you describe the retail experience that customers have when entering a Coccinelle store?
Vinciane: Coccinelle recently opened a new boutique at 15 Corso Vittorio Emanuele in Milan, a place where people will meet to live different sensorial experiences, all dedicated to the female world. Thus, the architect Roberto Baciocchi created a strategic and emotional meeting point, capable of transforming shopping into a pleasurable experience, a space to celebrate women, their innate joy of life, conviviality and femininity.
Eleonora: When I first tried to imagine a Coccinelle boutique, we thought of a different place…one where people would have looked around in wonder with the eyes and the emotion of a little girl. A bit like entering a pastry shop. From the harmonious round tables to the delightful armchairs, to the soft poufs used as unusual displays on the completely beveled corner display case, the curved lines dominate the space together with a sweet color palette stolen from a box of pastries. The perfect space to choose the bag of desires, an indispensable ally in the life of every woman, to exchange confidences and suggestions. Today, the boutique welcomes its customers with the intimacy of a living room, and the concept will be extended to future brand stores.
New Coccinelle flagship store in Milan.
How do you see the future of branding and store design evolving, specifically in the accessory industry?
Eleonora: I believe that the retail world in general is evolving. All those places where you live unique experiences will work more and more. Shop assistants don’t have to be robotic; they must let you experience the brand you are about to buy. Also, it’s important to emphasize the fantasies of people entering the store. If they have chosen you it means that they have a certain kind of fantasy and interests. I imagine that all the shops are fantastic worlds that tickle you, exalt you as a person and make you try new experiences.
More and more fashion brands are integrating digital devices into their stores to build a better customer experience. How is Coccinelle responding to this?
Vinciane: The digital world is certainly complementary to our stores. It is important that one helps the other. Having started to tell a story to experience new emotions through the store, we would also like to do it through the digital medium, making our desire for innovation perceived.
“The most challenging part is to communicate your brand by differentiating yourself. That is conveying the idea of a product which is innovative, trendy and concrete but distinctive at the same time.”
Do you already have any plans in mind that you can tell our readers about?
Viniciane: We would like to break the rules and go further. One day we won’t innovate only within our sector but we’re thinking of collaborating with other creative forms. Maybe with furniture designers. Also, we would like to go beyond the frontier, to become a point of reference in America or Japan.
Defining their creative style as simple but sophisticated, modern and elegant, Eleonora and Vinciane gave us a hint of what two female leads can create for the Coccinelle female community. Be ready to be amazed by something new!