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Sophie Habsburg

text Teresa Favi ph. Gianmarco Chieregato

December 13, 2022

Our interview with Sophie Habsburg

From her boutique in the centre of the Eternal City, the style icon tells us about her incredible life

Sophie Habsburg was born in Paris, she lived for many years in Madrid then lived in Rome for thirty years, which became the city of her family and friends, here she launched her last creative project. It may seem unusual for a person who descends in direct line from one of the most important European families: her grandfather was the only brother of Carlo I, the last Emperor of the Austro-Hungarian Empire. She explains, in a pleasant discussion, sitting on the sofas of the handbag shop -  a living room in the heart of the capital -, because she has never accepted the stereotype of ‘princess’. “I was 18 years old when, after college, I returned to Paris to study interior design. I felt the need to be independent, I wanted to learn but not at school as my family would have wanted. I was convinced that I would have done much better if I had learned working” says Sophie, who since then has started to do a thousand jobs, from model to radio speaker, from journalist to designer.

Sophie Habsburg con i suoi cani

Do you remember any anecdotes of these first experiences?

One of my first things I did was a television commercial for Schweppes, the famous tonic water, I had a small role in a commercial that was shot in a castle in England. The funny thing is that in that castle my parents had been guests several times!

Sophie Habsburg

How did you start your modeling career?

When I was twenty, I went to Spain with no money in my pocket, no language, nothing at all. In Madrid, I had a wonderful aunt who immediately offered to host me while I was looking for a job and an apartment. Here, my modeling career took off, but in the meantime, I was able to find other jobs like jewelery, designer, decorator, radio speaker and journalist. These last job, also gave me a certain popularity in Spain. I was also president of SOS Children’s Villages, an Austrian origin organization, created to help children in need in the poorest countries of the world. We created, three or four new villages, and that was a great job for me, an incredible experience.

We know that as a journalist you have interviewed some famous people such as Mick Jagger and Sultan of Oman…

The Spanish weekly publication dedicated to celebrities ¡Hola! Contacted me to interview some great people. Those interviews were fascinating, I loved to do them: whether It’s an actor or a politician, it’s nice to discover that we only know the real face of someone through his public image.

Among the many celebrities you interviewed, who do you remember in particular?

Certainly, Richard Gere with whom we became very close. We also worked together for SOS Children’s Villages in India and Tibet. At the time of our interview, his career was taking flight with American Gigolo, he was a beautiful and charming man.

Sophie Habsburg nella terrazza della sua casa a Roma

How did you come to Rome?

I was at a very confused time in my life. While I was walking down the steps of Trinità dei Monti in Piazza di Spagna during a parade, the one who later become my husband (Prince Hugo Windisch-Graetz, a gentleman of the Pope, ed.) saw me on television and came to look for me in the hotel. After two weeks he told me: “Let’s get married”. From there our love novel started.

In 2010 you started designing your own line of bags, how did the idea come about?

I couldn’t find well-made, original designed accessories at affordable prices. I had some beautiful fabrics from my interior design work, and I asked an artisan to make me a bag based on my design. I remember my friends kept asking me to make them for them as well.

From there I soon started producing my own line and today this space at 35 Via degli Orsini and online shopping are the crowning achievement of this fascinating adventure.

Sophie Habsburg nel suo negozio

Your handbags are sold all around the world…

Yes, from Japan to the United States.  And not only in real European circles. They are very appreciated by many women in the world who want a bag with personality, high craftsmanship, without spending too much money.

Who are your most loyal clients?

No doubt, my dear friends Queen Máxima of the Netherlands, Sophie of Wessex and and many others.


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