Maria Caruso Martin | Handbag Designer & Creative Director
Maria Caruso Martin is the passionate founder and creative director behind the Bella Rosa Collection of consciously crafted bespoke Italian luxury clutches, handbags, and heirloom wedding gifts. A multi-talented designer with over 25 years of experience, her keen eye for a couture-inspired aesthetic balanced with elevated signature accent elements brings to life an unparalleled line that is classically tailored and remarkably timeless. A second-generation Italian, her own rich family history serves as the foundational love story that influences a distinctive signature look coveted by brides such as Sophia Bush, in addition to red carpet royalty like Lupita Nyong’o. Her designs have been featured in Vogue and she has appeared on the Oprah Winfrey Show to share her personal wedding style with an audience of millions.
From the age of five, Caruso Martin saw a bright future in the world of design. She loved accompanying her mother to design meetings for their family’s home interior, her soul lighting up as she browsed the colors, fabrics, and textures. At 12, while most of her classmates spent their Christmas season pining for toys, she requested a subscription to Architectural Digest (which she still enjoys today). Six years later, despite her blossoming creative interests, she followed her father’s practical advice to pursue a bachelor’s degree in Management and Consumer Studies at the University of Maryland. “Either you have design talent or you don’t; it can’t be taught,” she recalls him saying. Now, decades later, after running her own successful design firm and establishing Bella Rosa, she is inclined to agree.
The idea for the Bella Rosa Collection sparked in 2018, during a 50th birthday trip to Caruso Martin’s beloved home country. A big believer in celebrating life’s milestones, she planned an event for every week of that year, culminating in a three-week Italian escape to Florence, Como, and Venice. There, beneath the full pink moon, she spoke aloud her dream to incorporate Italy into her work life. Well-versed in fine fashion and steeped in a film-worthy family love story for the ages (part of which was borrowed by Judy Blume for her 2015 release “In The Unlikely Event”), every element came together flawlessly in 2019 to create the Bella Rosa Collection - a luxury hand-tailored line of heirloom clutches and handbags named for her grandmother Rosa.
Part of Caruso Martin’s passion is fueled by the challenge of establishing a collection that pairs luxury with sustainability. She is equally dedicated to giving back, committing a portion of every purchase to global charities that empower women. Much of her motivation also comes from hearing the excitement in the voice of each bridal or red carpet client as they share their plans, dreams, and hopes for their special moment. Caruso Martin believes it’s moments like these that create a rich life worth remembering, and she designs each bespoke piece to perfectly complement the experience while becoming part of an heirloom legacy collection. In fact, she created the first-ever Bella Rosa clutch for her own wedding day, with a love letter from her fiancé tucked inside.