Ella McHugh - Ella McHugh

Finalist of the The Best Handbag in Overall Style and Design

United States

2014 Finalist Ella McHugh Ella McHugh


What was your inspiration for this bag?
My inspiration comes from the glamorous silver screen era. In my designs, I try to capture the mystique of the 20's and 30's, adding an updated elegance to create an exquisite piece. The handbag pictured is a Monika frame bag in Fire, a metallic python with palladium-plated hardware accented by a pyrite stone. As with many of my designs, a detachable strap gives women options for carrying the handbag.

What are the retail price-points of your line?
My collection retails from $1,075 for a crackle-effect calfskin clutch with calfskin trim to $6,650 for an exotic alligator clutch. The Monika Fire retails for $2,225.

Do you change your silhouettes and materials every season?
Each season I offer my signature silhouettes, which are all named after important women in my life, changing the designs by working with new skins and leathers in exotic and dramatic patterns, prints and treatments. Every season I also introduce new silhouettes, steadily building my repertoire.

What other handbag designers have inspired you?
Judith Leiber is an inspiration to me. Not only did she create the minaudiere category and expand the market for collectible handbags, her personal story is empowering.

What makes your line innovative and worthy of overall?
My collection is innovative in its daring use of skins and leathers as well as in presenting them in unexpected handbag silhouettes. Standout fabrications include rubberized alligator, crackle-effect calfskin, hand painted python, and lace-print hair calf. Each design also includes a semi-precious stone and palladium-plated hardware. I work closely with third generation Italian artisans to ensure that each handbag is a collectible work of art.

See other finalists from the 2014 handbag awards