We’re so excited to welcome to the blog entrepreneur, designer, and all-around inspiration Christine Tortora! Christine is the creator and visionary of ViaBuia, a Florence-based handbag line with Brooklyn roots. While she currently resides in Italy with her bags (not to mention her husband), she was born and raised here in New York, and is never far from this city in spirit. Today she shares with us some of her go-to spots when she is home, as well as how the city has inspired her line.
Name: Christine Tortora
Occupation: Handbag designer and founder of ViaBuia bags/Freelance developer
New Yorker since: Birth
What hood do you stay in when you’re in town? Brooklyn, with my family
And where do you get your morning coffee? If not at home, I usually stop at a small Russian cafe by the Sheepshead Bay subway stop
Restaurant you’d be really, really sad bordering on clinically depressed if they closed: Already happened! Pastis! But apparently it’s back? Whatever, the original was so awesome. [Editor’s note: It will be back, but not until 2017 apparently]
Every tourist must visit: Coney Island
NYC trend you’re currently loving/hating: Soul Cycle and green juices—sort of irritated by both as an outsider.
Favorite way to while away a non-workday NYC afternoon: Central park and tea or Prosecco at the Plaza with mom. Fancy.
NYC’s best-kept secret: ViaBuia bags
What do you miss most about NYC when you’re in Italy? So many things—the people, the energy, the diversity, and all of its 24-hour conveniences.
How has NYC influenced/inspired your handbag collection? The urban twist on all ViaBuia creations is very much inspired by the city girl who carries all her necessity and walks incredibly fast. Lightweight bags with edge and major versatility. ViaBuia girls are special—a club. And they come back for new pieces all the time. Love the loyalty and shared appreciation.
What’s the first thing you do when you come back for a visit? Breakfast at the diner with loads of coffee followed by a manicure and pedicure. This will sound crazy since I live in Florence, but I also require Brooklyn pizza within the first 48 hours of my arrival. It’s the best.
Since you’re in the fashion industry–please tell us how we can build a wardrobe like yours. Where do you shop when you’re in the city? Shopping has taken a backseat since I launched my brand. Ironic I know, but I do have fun mixing blazers and fedoras with simple tee shirts and jumpsuits. One-pieces are my favorite, so comfortable and easy while super cute. When I do buy there is usually a comfort aspect in my decision. Heels are a rarity since I am always on the go on cobblestones or factory floors. This is a shame since my husband is 6’4″. At times I’ll wear a pair on a plane ride to keep my feet reminded that they must adapt on occasion. That and my fedora…#fedoratortora.
What Buia bag is best for a city neighborhood walk? Pastina, hands down. The Pastina bag is inspired in shape by 1980’s traditional compact camera bags, but now our cameras are our iphones, usually. So there is some irony to it. This bag has a built-in coin pocket and leather slots for your Metrocard and license. The main compartment fits eyeglasses perfectly, and unless the iPhone 8 becomes an oversized banana we should be good on volume. You can also loop a belt through the back and removed the long strap for an old-school refreshingly cool fanny pack.
What about for a night out on the town? The signature clutch in the collection currently is called the Invitation Bag, a super flat and chic shape that works for any occasion and offered in loads of textiles and colors (also makes a great bridesmaid accessory). The newest kid on the block is the Pupa bag, a mini Pastina with a dynamite chain. I’d recommend this little doll to anyone going out that wants to remain hands free and look amazingly put together.