A chance meeting in New York City with Patti LaBelle’s stylist set the stage for Pegge Goertzen’s infiltration into the world of celebrities. One of Goertzen’s handbags (designed under her Zenzara label) set off the couture gown LaBelle wore when she performed at Star Jones’ wedding — one of last year’s most memorable Hollywood events.
Goertzen took her inspiration for couture handbags from a trip to Italy, where she found Fortuny Fabrics — a company synonymous with detail and texture. Costing hundreds of dollars per yard, the fabrics bear the names of princesses, poets, artists, countesses, and composers. “They are expensive, all made by hand,” says Goertzen, a Palm Springs resident. Fortuny designs its fabrics in guarded environments to protect the integrity of the original style propagated by Mariano Fortuny. The history appealed to Goertzen and led to the launch of Zenzara two years ago.
Every detail of every purse and handbag appeals to the aesthetically tuned eye. “These bags are hand-sewn with fine detail,” she explains. “They have sparkling crystals; pearls; and glowing, faceted gemstones. Against the unique canvas, I’ve imprinted my own brand of artistry by infusing each handbag with antique embellishments and witty details, resulting in conversation pieces that are thoroughly modern.”
One handbag is made from an 18th century Italian fabric, detailed with antique fringe and a strap accented in blue beads. “There are lots of handbags and purses to choose from, but each one is different,” Goertzen says. The handcrafted bags retail between $900 and $1,500.
Fortuny fabrics have been known throughout the world for generations. “They’re singular blends of delicate shadings, lush colors, and rich depth,” Goertzen says. “And they are a remarkable rendering of 17th and 18th century European designs.”
In mid-October, the handbag designer attended Mercedes-Benz Fashion Week at Smash Box studios in Los Angeles and was approached by stylists for Halle Berry, Kate Hudson, and Tori Spelling.
Only time will tell if we see her precious designs on the arms of the rich and famous on the red carpet. Meanwhile, the rest of us can check out the goods at www.zenzara.net.