It's hard to believe that a mere seven years ago, Laura Nelli had sewn nothing more than a pillow (a home ec project). That didn't stop the lovely lady from pursuing her big dream -- to master the art of handbag design. Fast forward to today, and it is clear that her ambition and determination carried her far. The Minneapolis native has a nationally recognized accessories company, NELLE & HAROLD, which is sold in more than 35 boutiques nationwide in addition to her online store. The attention to detail and immaculate construction of her handbags has captivated a noteworthy audience of style editors and industry insiders, and she has consecutively topped the "Best of the Cities" list at METRO, Minnesota Monthly, and Mpls/St. Paul Magazines four times. Our thoughts? We love her adorable clutches. In fact, our team has over a dozen between us and we are looking forward to growing our collection.
The Style-Architects team was lucky enough to catch up with the pretty craftier. Read below for our exclusive interview with Laura: Who are your favorite fashion lines and/or designers? Hands down my favorite fashion line is Lanvin, and that in large part can be attributed to Alber Elbaz. His simple, feminine clothing is exciting, but what I truly love is his use of color and accessories to create drama. Like every other 30 something J Crew is a staple in my closet, they just make it so easy to dress! And I have to give a shout out to Tara Latour, she recently made my wedding gown, I have never worn a finer, nor more perfect fitting garment & no, I can't share a picture yet!
What fashion trend did you embrace in the past that you wish you could take back? Ugh... Volume! At 5' 2" and a few centimeters, the last thing I should have worn was volume. However, I wouldn't change it, that is what your 20's are all about, wearing deliciously trendy clothing and learning what works and what doesn't.
How do you spend your Saturdays? I wish I had something charming to say like having brunch with girlfriends or hitting up my local farmers market, doesn't that sound picturesque? Truth is, I attempt to clean our house on Saturdays, and more times than not end up taking a nap in the afternoon. Then I wake up, make a nice meal for my NEW husband and we watch TV comedies like Curb your Enthusiam, 30 Rock, Bored to Death, etc... Sometimes I do take our dog Buddy to the dog park in the a.m. and grab an iced Americano on the way.
Where do you get your inspiration? Color and texture drive my designs, what did they say in Mermaids, "know your colors, know your fabrics"? That is the mantra that I like to chant to myself while I am designing a new collection. I also look to the runways for inspiration & trends & sometimes I design something just because I feel like it.
What adds pep to your step? Any activity that involves a lake; I am a tried and true Lake Girl! Having grown up in North East Wisconsin and spending my summers on the lakes, there is nothing I love more than running full speed off a dock and diving into the water head first. However, living in the city I don't get the chance to do this very much, so instead I slam coffee & eat sugary treats.
What is your favorite hangout in the Twin Cities? My favorite hangout is Chris & Rob's in South Minneapolis. They serve Chicago style hot dogs that are pretty darn close to the original thing. I love hijacking my husband and taking him there to sit on their patio after a long workday to eat hot dogs and drink Diet Cokes.
Photos by Cadence Cornelius Photographs