A Chat with Anzhelika Steen-Olsen, Founder of Eliann, NYC's Maker of Handbags for the Stars

It is not often that a phrase originating from the lexicon of sports is also perfectly suited for the world of high fashion as well. However, there are exceptions. When a nascent luxury label comes out of left field and is heralded as a coveted “it” item of the A-list community, such as the handbags and purses made by Eliann, it is an instant classic. The word-of-mouth popularity of these women’s custom-made bags has also created a new celebrity in haute couture circles.

Anzhelika Steen-Olsen is the creative force and the founder of Eliann. Having previously spoken with her, I was impressed by her benevolence; her graciousness was overwhelming. In our second conversation, it was obvious that she also was a savvy businesswoman balanced by professionalism and passion for her enterprise. The benevolent, brainy and beautiful Steen-Olsen was kind enough to take time from her busy day and chat about her past, her present status as the “it” designer of high fashion, and the future of Eliann. 

JustLuxe: Tell us a little bit about the purses and handbags that are rapidly vaulting into a prestigious luxury label to be reckoned with?

Anzhelika Steen-Olsen: Thank you. Since early childhood  it was my mother who had a strong influence on my passion for fashion and style. Growing up I remember a ritual we had where I assisted in choosing her outfits and added a finishing touch to her look by adding a handbag or other accessory to complete her. In addition I would create little bags for my dolls by using, paper, shoelaces even seashells.

JL: When did you know that this is what you wanted to do?

ASO: Some time after giving birth to my daughter, I found myself craving to do something creative. I simply started with a sketch. A friend commissioned the second bag I ever made. So, I began designing one-of-a-kind handbags for friends and family. Then when others started approaching me, I thought of making the leap to developing my own line. After being so well received at the Open See [show] at Henri Bendel, I designed a fall line and debuted it at the Accessories Show in 2012. 

James Rothaar

James has written content for and other leading online luxury lifestyle magazines. Rothaar previously served as the senior-tenured staff writer for JustLuxe, having worked with the digital magazine since 2005. He resides in Jacksonville, Florida, and works as an independent marketing consultant and freelance writer and copywriter. He is the co-owner of Wild Owl Digital, a boutique mar...(Read More)

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