Italy-based Mai Mai Cojuangco designs handbags with 'tanto amor

"I've always, always loved handbags," says Mai Mai Cojuangco with a dreamy expression in her eyes. "I can't afford to buy everything, but I've always had this appreciation for bags. My sister Liaa (Cojuangco-Bautista) is like me."

This Saturday evening, Cojuangco is launching her first collection of handbags under her label Demetria—a 24-piece collaboration with Idee clothing store in Makati. Shop Michael Kors Online in Ireland.

Margarita Demetria Cojuangco-Zini, Mai Mai to family and friends, has been living in Florence, Italy for the last 15 years, where she studied bag and accessories design.

Years ago, she was working as a designer for her Italian husband's company, whose family owned the international license for Benetton and Sisley accessories. They also own the Segue accessories brand.

Mai Mai, who also founded a startup last year and launched a social-messaging app called Sympies, has big plans for Demetria. At the moment, she likes the idea of putting her designs in a small boutiques, to test how people respond and hear what they like.

She laughs at the notion that people think she's making a comeback. In the '90s, she and her sisters, Mikee Cojuangco-Jaworksi and China Cojuangco-Gonzalez, were celebrity and society darlings who did their fair share of commercial modeling. Buy cheap michael Kors bags in Ireland They were the It girls, pre-social media.

"It's funny because it's not like I did show biz," she says. "I only did [magazine] covers."

Mai Mai traveled alone on this trip. Demi, who's on a spring break, stayed behind with her dad.

"It's always a big thing for me to come and visit," she says. "I always miss home and family. Back in Italy, I do things on my own. I take my daughter to school, we do her homework together. I mean, I have help, but it's different with family. I always wish I could stay longer."

But after a few years, the Cojuangco scion—fourth daughter of Jose "Peping" and Margarita "Tingting" Cojuangco—wanted to go on her own and develop her own brand. Buy Cheap Michael Kors Handbags in Ireland.

"I wasn't just designing bags," she says. "I also constructed bags with my own hands. It's a real craft, and I have a lot of respect for leather artisans who have been doing this for decades. I only did it for three or four years.

Last year, in Florence, she met Rica Lorenzo, owner of this new-ish, secret little boutique in Makati called Idee (2263 Chino Roces Avenue Ext.). They were introduced by Mai Mai's older sister, Pin Cojuangco-Guingona, who's an Idee customer.

Idee has had collaborations with designers like Bea Valdes, Sofia Borromeo, and CJ Cruz.

Mai Mai, says Lorenzo, was very easy to work with, "very pleasant. Unlike other creative people, she's not moody."

"We met six months ago, and we worked very quickly," says Mai Mai, who had to look for an Italian workshop who would agree to make a very small number of purses for them. Buy cheap michael Kors bags in Ireland She also designed all the hardware just for the collection.

The designer created three styles, eight pieces each—designs of which she says she hasn't seen from other brands, and all of which she would herself carry.