The meteoric rise of the basket bag kickstarted with the standard ones we found in Bali. You know what they look like – circular or boxy with a long leather strap. It wasn’t long before they popped up on the arms of people who dreamed of looking like Jane Birkin, who loved its summer vibes, or were looking for something to replace their standard black leather bag.
But for anybody who’s in the search for a purse that looks designer (albeit without the immense price tag) that’s not run-of-the-mill, here’s La Filippine – a Singaporean label that’s one part subtle (like the French) and the other, artisanal (they are made by Filipino craftsman afterall).
We speak to Julia Barba-Baudlot, the creative mind behind La Filippine, on the sense and sensibilities of her label and how she is making life in our sunny red dot a little more stylish.
1. They’re inspired by heritage and made-in-Asia pride
"My mother is one of the oldest costume jewellery exporters in the Philippines, so I am fortunate to have such a rich heritage in craftsmanship," explains Julia.
"My first job was at her workshops, [where I was] placing 'Made in the Philippines' stickers on her products. But, when I [got] married and moved to Paris, I fell in love with art and started working for art galleries. In fact, I [had] worked for two art galleries when [my husband and I] first moved to Singapore 4 years ago."
The brand has also branched into creating sandals. Pictured here: The St. Didier sandals name after a commune in Provence.
2. Each bag is a piece of Provence-inspired living
"From the very beginning, I wanted all my products to be handcrafted by artisans in the Philippines," says Julia.
"The brand I had on my mental mood board was a contemporary line [of] handsome yet feminine pieces – each of which were inspired by Provence, the south of France."
The classic French market basket gets a luxe upgrade with leather handles.
3. They look good even if you’re carrying them to Bedok or Bali
"La Filippine pieces are designed and crafted with this client in mind: a cosmopolitan who is often on holiday," Julia continues.
"But, my pieces are not only fit for globetrotting. They’re also designed to add style and elegance to your everyday duties. I use my baskets when I’m with my children so it can carry a baby bottle, dolls, crayons [and] all that fun stuff that add character to your purse."
The Vanya is made of abaca, jute, velvet and faux leather and fits everything you need for a jaunty weekend.
4. Each piece is lovingly handcrafted and pieced together
"My baskets have a very layered and intricate journey before they arrive on the arms of my clients," says Julia.
"They are composed of work from artisans in three different islands. The final product is meant to have this essence of effortless elegance, but the voyage to achieve this look is based on dedication, organization and skill."
La Filippine’s bags look good on anybody at any age.
5. For anybody looking to launch their own label, don’t ignore social media
"During La Filippine’s young [age of] 2 years, I suppose the best story (that is still currently being told) is how Instagram has been profoundly instrumental in its growth," explains Julia.
"I’ve been fortunate enough to have experienced Instagram’s beautiful domino effect: a hashtag, to a follower, to a client then to a stockist. And more often than not many of these connections have evolved into personal friendships. When used thoughtfully, Instagram can be a truly effective business tool."
Shop La Filippine today at lafilippine.com.
Photos: La Filippine