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EXCLUSIVE: RAUWOLF’S KRISTINE JOHANNES ON DESIGN, LUXURY AND MIDDLE EAST

If you don’t have Rauwolf in your bag department, you’re missing out on the latest IT bag. Seen mainly on red carpets and the most glamorous events of the town, Rauwolf clutches are unusual and striking. The luxury accessories brand was launched in 2012 by New York-based, German-born designer Kristine Johannes, and with much success; some of her celebrity clientele include January Jones (her favorite), Kate Bosworth, Diane Kruger, Katy Perry, Kylie Jenner, Sienna Miller, Emily  Blunt, Naomi Watts and we can continue…Why? because the ultra-modern pieces grab attention with their unique materials and elements of design making them a real fashion statement. Luckily for us,  now we can also add the gorgeous pieces to our collections. With the exclusive launch of Rauwolf at Bloomingdale’s Dubai, we got a chance to talk to Kristine Johannes herself….

Shoestova: My first and main question, does an iPhone 6 fit into your clutches?
Kristine: Initially our cuts were smaller but when the iPhone 6 came out, we had to completely redesign the clutches. An iPhone 6 fits just fine along with a few more things: lipstick, credit card, cash and keys.

S: Rauwolf is a luxury brand that comes with a corresponding price tag. Tell us more about the idea of producing luxurious bags from materials like Plexiglass which is in essence plain plastic?
K: When I went into the markets, I noticed there was nothing that I found truly exciting, inspiring, and one of creativity in the evening bags category.  You look at clothing, you look at shoes and you see them crafted with lots of creativity and very futuristic ideas, while for me evening bags always looked a little old or dated.  Plexiglass had a very modern look to it and you have a lot of creative freedom; you can cut it, mold it, shape it with heat…Yes, it is a very simple material, but you can make it into anything you want. We also started to incorporate laser effects, gold washes and even wood. It’s very easy to take a very beautiful raw material and make it into a design; it’s much more challenging to have a simple material and make a great design.

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S: When we first saw your clutches, we were sure that they were created by a man. Are you an engineer
K: Well, my father is a mechanical engineer so I grew up with that and I went to art school like every other designer. The other thing that makes my clutches such is I think, the “Italian hand”; Italians have this tremendous intrinsic hand for crafting. When I go to Italy where my clutches are made and discuss design, everyone is like “omg, how are we gonna do this?” and we all sit there, scratch our heads then start with trial and error. Every time I look at my product, all I can see is what could be improved. My goal is to make the perfect product. My husband always tells me, perfect is the enemy of the good but it’s an idea I just can’t subscribe to.

Rauwolf @ Bloomingdale's - Dubai AED 10,000S: In the fashion industry, people are always jumping from one “new and different” thing to another. What’s next for Rauwolf?
K: I don’t want to create products for product sake; it has to mean something and there has to be reason for it.  I’ve been playing around with jewellery recently and that’s something that I’m excited about in the prospects. I think there are a lot of products to come down the road, but because fashion is so difficult and picky, I have to be sure that whatever I launch – it’s got to be good.

Rauwolf @ Bloomingdale's - Dubai AED 6,400 (2)

Rauwolf @ Bloomingdale's - Dubai AED 6,400S: The Middle East is well known for its love of the exotic and everything luxury. Do you believe you can be successful in this market?
K: Some of our most loyal clients have been women from Dubai. They are the ones that will send e-mails to our store and say “we need a new bag” so I’m excited for it! All I want is to make sure that my products are as good as possible. Rauwolf is not an every man’s brand; it’s for somebody that is looking for something very unique and  I think that there is a lot of desire for uniqueness in women from the Middle East so there’s definitely a market for it.

S: What do you think about the Middle Eastern women and our fashion, do you feel like we can make it somewhere on the map of fashion capitals?
K: You already are and the idea of Middle East as fashionable destination is bubbling up to the surface right now. What I think is so wonderful about women in the Middle East is that they love and embrace color.Rauwolf @ Bloomingdale's - Dubai AED 7,500

Rauwolf is available exclusively in Bloomingdale’s Dubai, for more details visit rauwolfnyc.com

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