Cast of Pretty Little Liars
Sally Papedis. The flaxen-haired brainchild and creative designer first made waves in 2011 when she launched Stella Grey, a chic collection of minimalistic totes, carry-alls, and cosmetic cases in bold reptile-embossed leathers, buttery soft suede and colorful hides. Since then, her bags have become a cult classic and have been spotted on the stylish shoulders of the Pretty Little Liars cast.
We recently caught up the handbag designer who spilled on guilty pleasures, an obsession for foreign actors named “Hugh”, and what she’s hiding in her own purse.
LUXE VIVANT: What inspired you to launch a line of luxury handbags, clutches and travel totels?
SALLY PAPEDIS: A friend once told me how challenging it was to find a cosmetic case that didn’t remind her of her grandmother. I realized the fashion market was missing this segment, luxurious makeup bags and carryalls, so I wanted to create one that was functional and attractive. I started researching high-end vegan leather fabrics that were waterproof, durable and easy to clean. A month later, I had designed my first prototype.
LV: Why did you name your line, Stella Grey?
SP: During my design school days, I was this cool punk rocker that went by the name “Stella”. I always liked the name “Grey”, it’s a neutral name. When I first wrote the name down on a piece of paper, it was like b-i-n-g-o!
LV: Which bag are you carrying today?
SP: The Addison Tote in white ostrich (pictured below). It’s lightweight and you can stash anything in it. I take it everywhere.
LV: What’s in your handbag right now?
SP: Stella Grey, of course. A Sloane Pouch in blue python holds my makeup and the rest goes into a vegan Crosby Case.
Work uniform: Skinny jeans, wedges, and a Stella Grey hide cuff. When I’m at shows, I’ll wear a Stella Grey tee. They say it pays to advertise.
Where you go for inspiration: I am always watching what women are pulling out of their purses, especially their cosmetic cases.
Perchance Gold Coast
Favorite store or boutique in Chicago: Perchance Gold Coast.
Favorite restaurant in Chicago: Tavern on Rush.
Favorite travel destination: I was in Paris for 24 hours and would love to return.
Who you most admire: Strong women with a positive attitude about life, love, and family.
Three words that best describe you: Fun, motivated, and strong.
A Hunk Named Hugh
My celebrity crush: Hugh Laurie and Hugh Jackman.
Most decadent thing you’ve ever purchased: A pair of Fendi sandals.
Favorite indulgence: Chocolate-dusted almonds from Harrods of London.
Favorite songs on your iPod: Anything with a good beat gets me moving.
Book you are reading: My business has consumed a lot of my free time in the last few years but I’m looking forward to tackling a long list of suggested reads.
Guiltiest pleasure: Reality TV.
Facebook or Twitter: Facebook.
You stay home to watch: Mad Men with my hubby.
Hidden talent: I’m an ex-gymnast which means I can still pull off a few tricks on a diving board or a flying trapeze.
Signature cocktail: A big goblet of crisp pinot grigio or a stiff margarita on the rocks, no salt.
Your favorite words of wisdom: “Ask for help.” It never ceases to amaze me how people will come to another’s aid. Don’t be afraid or too proud to let others know when you really need it.
Most Needful Thing: Coffee (and pretty jewelry, of course)
You can’t get through a day without: Caffeine.
The worst advice you were ever given: “Go big or go home”. I am more interested in creating longevity and brand recognition than simply making a lot of money fast.
Why you love doing what you do: Having a creative outlet that was always missing when I was working in the corporate world. I also enjoy being my own boss.
Advice for anyone pursuing a career in design: Be patient. Don’t dwell on your mistakes, learn from them.
LUXE VIVANT has dedicated its site to the “love of living luxuriously”. Finish this sentence, “When it comes to living luxuriously, always…”: Carry a Stella Grey bag.
Click HERE to shop the Stella Grey collection.