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The Collector Geneva – A Fashionable Q&A with Sophie Bonvin

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In NewsWhistle’s weekly question-and-answer series, Clara Morgan speaks with some of her favorite influencers and finds out more about their lives and careers. This week, Clara speaks with The Collector Geneva founder Sophie Bonvin.

Born and raised in Switzerland, Sophie knew from an early age she had a passion for all things style. But it wasn’t until 2014—after a successful career in international finance—that she decided to chase her dream of working in luxury fashion, launching the Collector Geneva, a line of high-end handbags and accessories.

Along with a signature line, the Collector releases an artist collaboration every two years (previous collaborators include Laura Chaplin, granddaughter of film icon Charlie Chaplin). The line launched their more recent collaboration, the CODE Collection with artist Bill Claps, in New York City.

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How and when did you first realize you wanted to work in the fashion industry?

As a child my favorite toys were my Barbie dolls, and I loved dressing them up. I was also very selective about what I would wear, one day even telling my mother I would not go to school in the clothes she wanted me to wear.

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How would you describe your personal style?

Feminine, elegant, classic with a contemporary touch.

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Where do you find style inspiration?

In nature, while traveling, in the street and at the art fairs.

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Who are your favorite fashion designers?

Mr. Karl Lagerfeld for Chanel, for his amazing fabrics and perfect cuts; Mr. Yves St-Laurent for his classic lines; and Dolce & Gabbana for the color and happiness of their collections.

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What is your biggest career highlight to date?

I was so happy the day Mr. Bill Claps accepted our collaboration. He is such a talented artist, extremely intelligent and with a lot of humanity, sincerity, and personality.

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What is a typical day in your life like?

I do not have a routine; it depends on my agenda. I always find time to exercise (gym or yoga), go to my office, check the news of the day, meet up with the designer and team and go to lunch or dinner with friends or clients. I always finish my day quite late.

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What are three never-miss events on your calendar? Première Vision, the fashion fair in Paris; Art Basel (the contemporary art fair) in Basel, Switzerland; and some fashion shows in Paris or Milan.

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What are your three favorite locations in New York City?

Central Park, the most special park in the world; the Guggenheim; and the New Museum of Contemporary Art.

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What are your three favorite restaurants in New York City?

There are so many! But the places I always go while in New York are Amaranth uptown, Cipriani Downtown, and Balthazar.

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What about your three favorite bars?

The Soho House, the Public Hotel bar, and the bar of the Four Seasons Hotel.

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What has been your best New York moment? What about the worst?

While I was working for a global Swiss bank we had a teamwork event at Tavern on the Green in Central Park, with the Verbier Youth Orchestra and the famous American conductor James Levin. At one point I was chosen to conduct the orchestra with Mr. Levin, to experience the leadership skills of the conductor. It was incredible and unique. The worst was when, after I had finished shopping, a heavy shower started and I got completely wet. There were no taxis available, and my beautiful new shoes were completely soaked.

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Name your go-to… 

Outfit: In New York, [something from] Bergdorf Goodman

Perfume or Fragrance: Serge Lutens’ La Fille de Berlin

Movie: The Thomas Crown Affair

Book: I just finished the book All the Light We Cannot See by Anthony Doerr, winner of the Pulitzer Prize. It is so well written, a beautiful and inspiring story.

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SOCIAL EVENT CHAPLIN GVA WITH LAURA CHAPLIN AND SB (2)Sophie Bonvin with Laura Chaplin

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Name your favorite vacation spot, and the hotel you stay at while there. What makes these spots special?

I am a very curious person, and I have traveled a lot in my life; I’ve lived on three different continents. One of the most fascinating places is Bora Bora and the Four Seasons Hotel. The Hotel Eden Roc in St. Barts is also a very special place. I recently stayed at the newly renovated Hotel de Crillon in Paris, and the designer Tristan Auer did a super job.

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What are your three most played songs?

I love many different styles of music, old and new, and it always depends on my mood and the place I am in. On my list for sure: Bryan Adams’ “Summer of 69,” Pharrell Williams’ “Cold Play,” and “Despacito” by Luis Fonsi featuring Justin Beiber.

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What are three items you couldn’t live without?

A telephone, a toothbrush, and a handbag!

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If you could meet anyone in the world, who would it be and why?

I would love to meet Ms. Christiane Amanpour, the journalist and chief international correspondent of CNN International. She has lived incredible moments, interviewed a lot of leaders and must have so many stories to tell.

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What is something people might not know about you?

I am a very open and direct person. To some people I can seem very cold, but I have a big human side and I am very sensitive.

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Do you have any advice for those aspiring to work in the fashion or design industry?

Follow your dreams, always keep control of your cost and be perseverant, as it is a very tough and crowded business.

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What changes do you think your industry will undergo in the next 5-10 years?

With the rapidly moving technology the clients will soon have the possibility to visualize themselves in 3D, wearing the clothes and bags they love. We will have many more online sales, and that is already a mega trend.

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Is there anything else you’d like to share, discuss or promote?

While creating new products I always work closely with our designers to make items I would want for myself. When we finish the prototype I always test it out for a while, to see if we should develop it. I join our chief designer in selecting exotic skins, python, alligator, etc. in the showroom of our providers in Paris and Milan. For me, it’s so exciting to see all these beautiful skins. We work on a very limited artist collaboration every two years, and my dream is to one day collaborate with people with disabilities as well. Art can help them so much in terms of self-confidence and empowerment.

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To learn more about Sophie and The Collector Geneva, visit http://thecollector.ch/.

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All images courtesy of Sophie Bonvin.