Renowned for her use of exotic skins and bold colors, designer Khirma Eliazov's handbags were created to stand out in a crowd. Custom-designed hardware, and innovative design are hallmarks for her sophisticated pieces. She has a
Located in an old fire station nestled in the West Village, right off of Bleecker Street in New York City, Khirma New York is a go-to destination for luxury accessories and jewellery. Named after its founder and handbag designer Khirma, the boutique showcases a phenomenal selection of up and coming international handbag, accessory and jewellery designers.
VacationStyle: You have said you experienced a profound cultural awakening while studying abroad in Florence - so much so that you passed on pursuing a law degree after college… Can you tell us a little bit about your ‘aha’ moment while living abroad in Florence?
Khirma Eliazov: Florence was the first time I had been given the opportunity to be purely creative for 6 months. The only classes I took were sculpting painting art history and Italian. I found myself spending hours in the studio not even realizing how much time had passed. I understood that my creative side was something that I really needed to expand upon to be happy. So I came home and decided no law school.I went into fashion instead not knowing what I wanted to do be I just needed to start and would figure it out.
VS: Do you find inspiration in your travels?
KE: Yes, traveling has been one of my greatest inspirations for the collections. The colors and the textures of the buildings or the landscape and the shapes you can find everywhere. Whether you are in a city or out in nature. The inspiration finds you. You don't even have to seek it out.
VS: Where are your favorite places to travel to and some of the best-kept secrets you’ve found?
KE: I love Africa I've been there several times. Being on a safari in Botswana is like nothing else I've ever experienced. Its definitely something everyone needs to experience at least once in their lifetime. I was privilaged to stay at Xudum Xaranna in the Delta (Botswana) which was just beyond amazing!
When you're in Florence, you must get a panini from Ino and dine at Cibreino.
VS: What are your favorite hotel styles?
KE: I love small boutique hotels that pay attention to all the details and feel intimate.The decor actually really depends on the location. In Capetown, I love the The Clarendon Bantry Bay. In a large city modern decor feels appropriate but in small beautiful cities such as Florence or Marrakesh its really about the hotel capturing the essence of your the city and country you are in.
VS: Any places on your bucket list?
KE: I'd love to go to Iceland and the city I was born in, Tiblisi Georgia. I still have never been back.
VS: Any travel rituals?
KE: Always have to wear a cashmere wrap sweater which doubles as a blanket, sleeping mask and moisturizer for your hands on long flights. I cannot travel without an eye mask, a cashmere sweater wrap, a neck pillow, and moisturizer.
VS: Packing strategies?
KE: Rolling the clothing definitely gets you more space!
VS: Tips for how to eat while traveling? Super heathy or when in Rome?
KE: Definitely when in Rome!
VS: What’s your plane style?
KE: I usually wear jeans and leather jacket. Comfortable yet put together. Never heels always flats. Favorite Nike limited editions sneaks I got for my birthday. I always carry my Mignnone pouch bag and carry on my Mash duffel. Luzi tote-collab with goods for good made in Malawi with proceeds that go back to them.
Depending on length of the trip I work for the first couple of hours and spend the rest of the time relaxing and watching movies to unwind or reading my favorite magazines for long flights.
VS: How would you define your style?
KE: Feminine with an edge
VS: What was the story behind your first collection?
KE: My first collection was my hardest I had no idea what I was doing I had never designed anything, I could barely draw and I had never produced or sold anything. All I knew was its something I wanted to do and I would have to just start researching and meeting as many people as possible and START! I wanted more than anything to create something beautiful smart and very distinct. So many people couldn't understand why I would want to try something I had no experience in. For me it was the challenge and the excitement of doing something I am really passionate about that inspired me and how that passion brings happiness to others. I started with 3 bags no funding and a trunk show a little over 4 years ago. Today so many of my dreams have come true we are in 60 plus stores globally and I have my own store in the West Village. I'm still constantly learning and being challenged but I love what I do. The people I've met along the way have made this whole journey incredibly worth it and constantly inspire me on the good and the bad days. I look forward to what's ahead for us.
VS: How did your work as an accessories editor influence or shape your collection?
KE: It really helped me identify what's needed in the market and gave me the skill set needed to edit a collection. That skill set has proved to be priceless over the years. I also had the amazing opportunity to work with amazing mentors that have helped me over the years after I went out on my own.
VS: Aside from handbags, what is your go-to accessory of choice?
KE: I love jewelry. It really is an amazing way to express your personal style.
VS: Where do you see your brand in the next few years and down the road?
KE: I see us growing our direct to customer business and moving into shoes and a capsule of mens.
VS: What made you want to design handbags and not a different accessory line?
KE: I started with what I loved the most. Not knowing all the intricacies that go into producing a handbag. Ignorance is bliss and I was a quick learner.
VS: Can you tell us about one collaboration you did and your experience?
KE: My collaboration with Swarovski was my first and it was amazing to be able to work with a material that combined with ours produced a beautiful collaboration of bracelets that 4 years late is still one of our best selling accessories.
VS: If you could pick one bag you’ve designed that is your favorite - which one, and why?
KE: The Mignonne pouch. It’s the first bag I ever designed and got me into the NY Times twice (bucket list) so I will always have a special place in my heart for her.
VS: Any secrets to treating your bags?
KE: Just with lots of TLC, but the bags are pretty resilient.
While on vacation…
Detox or Retox? Both
Underpack or Overpack? Overpack
Flats or Heels? Flats
Favorite sunscreen? Clarins
Hair up or Down? Down
Makeup or No Makeup? No makeup
Warm-weather or Cold-weather? Warm
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