A Lesson on Luxury: How Maimai Cojuangco's Demetria + Idée Collection Sold Out on its First Day

Buyers saw the handmade Italian bags as a needed luxury item.

With three generations of women in the Cojuangco family named "Demetria" inspired by the Greek goddess of harvest, Maimai Cojuangco calls her new collaboration of bags Demetria as well, the name shared by her grandmother, her daughter, and herself.

The chic collection is a collaboration with Idee, and to call it exclusive is an understatement. A total of 24 bags were handmade, with eight bags allotted for each of the three designs. Within hours of the launch, stocks flew off the shelves of Idée at Lapanday Center, Don Chino Roces Extension Avenue.

It began when Idée owner Rica Lorenzo Davila reached out to Maimai during a trip to Florence, Italy, where the designer now lives. In the course of a year, the pair met a few times without any real-time pressure for their collaboration. “We said whatever comes out of it will come out of it,” says Davila. In that fruitful year, Demetria + Idée was conceived, produced, and successfully received by the Philippine market.

Rica Lorenzo Davila and Maimai Cojuangco

The handmade bags started with a raw pattern made from cloth. Once that was finalized, the actual pattern was cut from different pieces of leather. In a few weeks, the bags were completed and just a day before their debut on the Idée shelves, Davila flew them into the country.

Apart from their very limited number, what makes these bags special is the painstaking care given to each one. Take the Bucket bag, for example, a design popular in the market. Cojuangco put a customized touch on each one by personally sourcing each silk foulard used to close each bag from vintage stores. "Each and every one is different because they were not produced for Idée. They're all really beautiful scarves that I found," says the designer. The designer loved the Demi so much, she named it after her daughter. Also a favorite of Davila's, the Demi's complex structure is a non-amateur design, she says.


The Bucket bag

The Demi

The Sempre, which in Italian means “always,” is a bag practical in size and perfect for everyday use. "It's the bag that I carry the most often," says Cojuangco. "I just throw everything in and I like that it gets scratched with my wear and tear." There are a lot of elements and thought that went into each style that the value of the bags transcends mere utility. Davila says that each bag holds its own story that each holder will certainly appreciate. Just as the wearer loves using it, many people loved making it.

The Sempre

Considering its price points, the store owner justifies that each bag is more than its monetary worth, what with the care and the work put into it. The collection targets women who already have a complete collection of bags in all shapes and sizes but still feel drawn to the artisanal value of the bags. The novelty of a handmade bag from Italy with carefully selected and cut leather or a Céline scarf becomes a significant addition to her growing number of bags—in short, these bags are a luxury.

“Luxury would be anything that you don’t obviously need but has a certain value… It’s also something I feel that should give pleasure. It should be valuable and a source of pleasure—particularly your source of pleasure, not somebody else’s," says Davila of the collection. It is something that should feed a need or a desire for."


About The Author
Hannah Lazatin
Senior Staff Writer
Hannah is a communications graduate from Ateneo de Manila University. She’s originally from Pampanga and from a big, close-knit family who likes to find a reason to get together at the dinner table. Experiences inspire her. “Once, at a restaurant, I received an interpretation of my second name ‘Celina,’ and it meant 'someone who tries everything once' and that is me through and through,” she says. As for the job, she wants her “readers to be inspired by the stories of the people we feature and to move them to reach for greater things.”
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