Portable Provenance: Hotel Bel-Air Magazine, The Luxe Life
Zenzara’s unique collection creates modern art from antique treasures
By Valerie Summers
Perfect timing and inspiration came together when Pegge Goertzen launched Zenzara, her exclusive line of one-of-a-kind handbags created from the textiles of world-renowned fabric maker Mariano Fortuny. This vogue du jour recently became the stylish woman’s most prized accessory, leaping from practicality to fashion statement.
Against the complex artistry of Fortuny canvases, Goertzen lovingly hand-embellishes each Zenzara handbag with a medley of ornamentation, from French coil fringe and antique adornments to vibrant gemstones, sparkling Swarovski crystals and pearls. Serving a unique dual purpose, many of the distinctive, painstakingly crafted handles are removable and may be worn as jewelry while the handbags convert to clutches.
The multi-talented designed became acquainted with world-renowned Fortuny textiles, which have been featured in exclusive home decor, during her former career as an interior decorator. Goertzen’s fascination with Fortuny’s genius led to her ambitious collection of the unique museum-quality workds of art. While her original intent was to produce an exclusive line of decorator pillows, Goertzen was inspired to create the handbags after purchasing her first sewing machine just four years ago. Through trial and error, she perfected the construction of the hand-crafted Zenzaras, most of which incorporate hidden magnetic closures. While many of the handbags feature faceted gemstones such as apricot carnelian, London blue topaz and yellow jade, with a finish of golden coil fringe, several are more understated. “I like it when people wear the handbags with jeans and casual clothes as well,” says Goertzen. “They don’t have to be used just for the black tie events.” Zenzaras are now included in the wardrobes of Cate Blanchett, Angelina Jolie, Demi Moore, and Kate Winslett, among other celebrities known for their independent styles.
Goertzen continues to travel the world on treasure hunts for authentic antique lace and unique adornments, which she rescues from deteriorating silk vestments, crystals from antique chandeliers, 18th- and 19th-century ribbons, cords, and appliques. These elements are all given new life as they are incorporated into Zenzara designs. As a very personal touch, Goertzen includes a handwritten note in each handbag describing the details of its ornamentation.