You always seem so strong, so bright and joyful. What's your secret?

“I believe that you can always choose the sunny side of life. When you HAVE A DREAM, you are half-way to making it come true. Life is meant to be LIVED TO THE FULLEST!”

What started you on your career in fashion design?

“It all starts with desire. I had three mentors: KARL LAGERFELD, Jil Sander and Kenzo at the LVMH Group, all of them bright, gifted and very inspiring. They helped me to learn my craft and, eventually, how to EXPRESS MY OWN STYLE. I launched my own brand in 2000.”

You traveled a lot, even as a child. Has this influenced your vision of art? Which great artists or encounters made a lasting impression on you?

“When I was a child, I saw Herbert Von Karajan conduct many times. When I was a student at Parsons School of Design in New York, I met ANDY WARHOL, a very astute observer. On several occasions, I visited the Roy Lichtenstein's studio in the Hamptons. I remember a delightful ENCOUNTER with François Cheng, a travelling author of Chinese origin who is a member of the Académie française. Today, I'd love to see Monet's Water Lilies at the Chichu Art Museum on Naoshima Island in Japan, home to a very eclectic collection of an eccentric private collector. I'd have loved to have met Pablo Neruda, the Chilean poet, during his exile in Capri.”

Can you tell us about your sources of inspiration?

“My best ideas often come to me when I'm sleeping, in the early morning hours. I find contemporary art, architecture and literature inspiring... I sometimes learn poems by heart in the plane! When I travel, I am fascinated by people, crafts and visual impressions, not to mention the finer things of life.”

If you had to pick three characteristics to describe the world of Barbara Rihl, what would they be?

“ARTY, Cheerful and STORYTELLING.”

You like to hide good-luck messages in your bags...

“I design Limited Edition collections and like to customize some with a HIDDEN MESSAGE!”

Which of your bags is the most popular?

“It would have to be the Miss Sarah handbag, which I designed early in my career. You can unzip its four zippers and fold it up flat to put in your suitcase. In addition to being a fashion designer, I'm an illustrator and one day I started sketching fashion designs right on my creations. At the time, people thought it was pretty crazy, but now that's what they like most about my bags. My mentor Karl Lagerfeld taught me that STYLE IS ALL ABOUT BOLDNESS!”

You refer to your handbags as "happy travel companions." Are you good company when you travel?

“Ever since I was very young, I've felt at home all over the world, especially in Asia. I've traveled a lot and met many beautiful people. I love to share thoughts about music, art and THE FASCINATING WORLD OF CREATIVE GASTRONOMY.”

Who wears your bags?

“I'm very touched by all the unknown women that have been fans since my first collection but also extremely proud to see celebrities like EMMA WATSON, CATHERINE THE DUCHESS OF CAMBRIDGE, MICK JAGGER and LENNY KRAVITZ wear my bags.”

What are your latest news?

“I design COLLECTOR bags for more than 15 major airlines, such as Air France, Cathay Pacific, British Airways, KLM and Singapore Airlines, Ana Airlines... We also recently opened 25 shop-in-shops at airports all over the world, and there are many more to come.”

How do you manage to still manufacture affordable bags in France?

“I took off all unnecessary details and use PRECIOUS ITALIAN LEATHERS.”

Your family background is composed of lawyers, loving art?

“I was born in Vienna to a family that frequents artistic circles. My mother was a fashion designer and model, my father a lawyer who adored CLASSICAL MUSIC. My grandparents both lawyers, loved to PAINT WATERCOLORS and studied GERMAN LITERATURE.”

What would your motto be right now?