Sophie Hulme

It was designer Sophie Hulme‘s first trip to Shanghai but as her car pulled up to her hotel, she could spot something very familiar in a foreign land. A woman on the street was carrying one of her designs.

“It was so weird. My bags were here but I hadn’t been,” she recounted on the sidelines of an event at the Lane Crawford Central store in Hong Kong on Tuesday. It was her second pit stop in the region to launch her exclusive evening bag collection with the department store.

The four plexi-glass pieces are the first time the emerging label has ventured into that category and true to the brand signature, Hulme wanted to inject a bit of masculinity to it.

“Evening has that very lady feel and it’s quite nice to have the edge, masculine feel in evening. It’s got a cross body strap that you can also wear. To be honest, I wear it in the daytime [too],” she said.

The rest of the collection for Lane Crawford– ten pieces in total — is based around the theme of love — not surprising for someone who was recently wedded.

“I actually got married this year, so that’s why I celebrated the love idea and then I took hearts and things like that,” Hulme explained.

To make sure the pieces didn’t veer too cutesy, she chose colors that are “quite grown up: dark charcoal, deep red” — although she admits there’s an appetite for girly items in Asia.

“In terms of the cute stuff and the characters, people do respond to that. It’s something that culturally that sits well with here,” she said.

The United Kingdom’s former first lady Samantha Cameron gifted a Sophie Hulme handbag to China’s first lady Peng Liyuan last year– a move that boosted the designer’s profile in the region.

“It made huge awareness in China and Asia as a whole,” Hulme said.