You can read all about Bianca Mosca’s new handmade Weekend 45 and City 24 bags on http://robbreport.com/LuxuryNewswire/fashion/handcrafted-new-italian-bags-work-and-weekends
The august members of France’s L’Académie française are aghast. Any form of corruption of the French language is frowned upon especially the intrusive introduction of Anglo Saxon compound words or phrases. Yet the expression “Le Weekend” has entered the French lexicon despite the best efforts of the language’s guardians.
For others the word weekend signifies the beginning of a brief holiday period to be spent in luxurious surroundings and possibly a romantic location.
Packing for such a brief trip presents a dilemma as space will surely be at a premium. Certainly, a stylish bag is an absolute necessity for the true dandy and his companion.
With this in mind I set out on a quest to find the perfect weekend bag. An essential requirement is that the core material needs to be a high quality yet relatively lightweight and supple leather. Taurillon is a type of baby bull leather with a lightly grained appearance and is extremely luxurious to the touch. It’s strong, hard wearing and ages beautifully. It’s used principally by ultra premium brands such as Hermès and Louis Vuitton for their top of the range models.
A particular bug bear of mine is the quality of metal fittings used for closures, buckles and locks. A great looking bag can be let down badly if these are of an inferior type. Solid brass coated with a heavy plating of palladium is the gold standard (if that’s not an oxymoron).
Size is important, so I’m told, and the perfect bag needs to fit the highly restrictive regime employed by airlines these days. So 45cm width is the maximum permitted unless of course you’re one of the lucky one’s who are flying privately.
Design-wise my preference is for maximum use of space rather than lots of fiddly pockets and hidden storage spaces.
Whilst carrying out my research I heard that Bianca Mosca were on the verge of introducing a new range of luxury bags for men. When I contacted Tim de Rosen, their CEO, he confirmed that one of the bags being developed was a weekend bag.
Well here is the very first preview of that bag which ticks all my boxes. It’s made from Taurillon leather, has palladium plated brass fittings, a width of 45cm and is certainly a handsome and capacious piece that fits my bill perfectly. The only problem is that it won’t be available to buy for a few months yet or should I say several weekends to come.
Paraffection S.A. is the subsidiary of Chanel that was established in 1997 to preserve the heritage, craft and manufacturing skills of a group of highly skilled fashion artisans working in specialist ateliers located mainly in the Paris region.
By 2015, Paraffection had acquired twelve “Atelier d’Art” or workshops capable of providing the parent company Chanel with the specialized skills required to decorate and embellish its haute couture creations.
“The driving force behind our decision to take over these companies was affection,” insists Paraffection director Dominique Barbiery. Cleverly, the Paraffection investments have been marketed as a labor of love.
‘Paraffection’ loosely translates to mean ‘for the love of”. Mr Barbiery states that Chanel’s relationship with its satellite firms is to “protect, advise and assist” the firms, not gobble them up, merge them or take over their work.
This year Chanel will celebrate its 13th Métiers d’Art show an annual event to honor the fine craftsmanship that its artisan partners in the Paraffection group bring to the house’s collections. With a runway show that takes place outside the traditional fashion schedule, each year, Chanel turns to a different location to pay tribute to the workshops that provide the house with everything from lace to silver buttons and fine embroidery work. After Salzburg last year, Dallas in 2013, Edinburgh in 2012 and previous shows in Mumbai and New York, Chanel headed to Rome for last season’s Métiers d’Art 2015, in the city’s Cinecittà film complex.
Chanel is not the only institution safeguarding French fashion. When, in 2012, the French lingerie manufacturer Lejaby announced plans to outsource production to Tunisia, then president Nicolas Sarkozy pledged to seek a solution. Lejaby was bought out by a French leather goods manufacturer that supplies Louis Vuitton, in a move overseen by Bernard Arnault, CEO of LVMH, and close friend of Sarkozy, who called the takeover part of “the battle for employment in France”.
Within the leather goods industry companies such as Hermès continue the tradition of artisan production at their atelier in Pantin near Paris where the prevailing sentiment is that of everlasting love: each bag is affectionately crafted by a single artisan from start to finish, which would explain why they only turn out two pieces a week. No leather-worker is allowed to intervene in another colleague’s bag and each individual has their own set of tools, which they eventually take home with them when they retire.
Similarly Bianca Mosca, known for it’s ultra luxury exotic and precious leather bags and accessories, is a close adherent of the atelier approach.
Visiting their fragrant workshops in Italy and France is a real sensory experience. Your eyes, your nose, you ears; they’re all part of a luxurious journey. First, it’s the tap-tap-tapping sound that rhythmically follows your every step, a sign of industrious hands at work. Then it’s the smell of the leather, from the simplest and supplest Taurillon leather to rare finds like Louisiana alligator in a rainbow of colors, all sourced by Bianca Mosca’s experienced leather-hunters.
What is clear is that making luxurious objects in the ancient traditions espoused by the true ateliers of France and Italy takes time-a lot of time.
“The end result is worth it” says Tim de Rosen of Bianca Mosca.
“Louis Vuitton has become too ordinary,” a billionaire woman told China Market Research Group. “Everyone has it. You see it in every restaurant in Beijing. I prefer Chanel or Bottega Veneta now. They are more exclusive.”
Gucci is similarly suffering from a reputation problem, while bespoke goods and less-well-known European labels are soaring in popularity amongst affluent buyers.
Exclusivity is the eternal watchword of the luxury goods industry. But in the digital age where information is ubiquitous how can luxury purveyors maintain the aura of being exclusive when their brands are in danger of becoming over exposed?
Bespoke items remain the ultimate luxury good.
The concept of bespoke dates back to the emergence of London’s Savile Row in the eighteenth century as the premier tailoring destination for men’s clothing, including suiting, shirts and shoes, designed for and made specifically to the measurements of each customer.
Over time, the term bespoke has evolved to gain a wider currency that today encapsulates any luxury product or experience that has been specifically tailored to the exact requirements of a customer. It is entirely separate from the over-worked expressions custom or made to measure whose meaning is to make certain adjustments to an existing design or pattern.
Bespoke is the epitome of the luxury experience and therefore inherently the most expensive option available.
Whether it’s a handmade suit from Brioni, a specially commissioned cigar humidor by Elie Bleu or an alligator bag from Bianca Mosca the ultra‐high‐end and bespoke category is a no‐limit segment where all the craziest dreams (and prices) come true.
“The brands bought are actually more important than the level of money earned,” HSBC managing director Erwan Rambourg wrote in his recent book, “The Bling Dynasty: Why the Reign of Chinese Luxury Shoppers Has Only Just Begun.”
Rambourg created a brand pyramid to show how major brands range in accessibility from everyday luxuries to ultra-high-end luxury and bespoke like Hermès and Bianca Mosca.
What of the future? If it’s a safe bet now that tomorrow’s luxury consumer will seek brands that speak to their unique selves, further down the road, logic says it will go one step further: affluent consumers will demand solutions that can adapt on the fly to precisely the person they want to impress.
A new study conducted by Bianca Mosca, known for its ultra luxury bags and accessories made from Louisiana alligator, reveals that so called “Man Bags” including totes, duffels, clutches, backpacks, messenger and bowling bags now represent one in five of all sales in the global $35 billion luxury handbag market.
Despite the reported slowdown in China and recent setbacks in the global luxury market the 2016 outlook for luxury men’s bags has never been brighter.
According to Bianca Mosca’s estimate the aggregate value of men’s bag sales by value has more than doubled in the last decade with men now spending over $7 billion a year on luxury bags.
Yet whilst volumes have been growing at 5% per annum the amount spent per unit has been climbing by 10% a year leading to the conclusion that men are spending substantially more on each bag they are purchasing.
The study goes on to forecast that global expenditure on men’s luxury bags will rise to $10 billion by 2020 with just under 9 million units sold.
A Bianca Mosca spokesperson said:
“A major part of the rise can be explained by the growth in the numbers of metrosexual men who are becoming more comfortable carrying handbags that are quite unlike the briefcases of yesteryear and are willing to spend serious sums of money to acquire a fashionable accessory”
A further factor impacting the prices of luxury bags is the pressure on raw material costs particularly for the type of premium exotic leathers used by Bianca Mosca. The price of first grade unblemished Louisiana alligator skins has increased by 12% a year for the past three years and is forecast to continue growing as demand for exotic materials continues to outstrip demand at the top end of the luxury market.
Bianca Mosca which this year is celebrating the 70th anniversary of its founding in 1946, will be launching a new range of men’s handbags, briefcases, weekend bags and clutches in Spring ‘16.