Nearly 10 years ago now, I invested in the best bag I’ve ever owned. It takes guts to make the giant leap from canvas shoppers and mass-produced purses to finally spoil yourself with a bag that will last forever.
Well, this bag, by Numero 10, was that leap for me – and it has seen it all. From a diaper bag, filled to the brim with baby essentials, to a workhorse purse able to carry my laptop and notebooks on a daily basis, the craftsmanship has been tested to its limits.
The beauty of the bag not only lies in its impeccable, Italian craftsmanship, but also in its design. Leather subtly worn at the edges from the first day, means any subsequent scuffs go unnoticed. For the past few years I have searched for a replacement, only to find this one on my shoulder again and again.
Numero 10 is the creation of Alberto Mondini, a craftsman in Bologna who has been working as a leather artisan for more than 40 years. I will swear by his bags, and, call me crazy, but I am now obsessing over the playful denim look of his Vancouver Lambpli bag (pictured left).
I dare say, my mother and I have very similar taste in bags. We tend to prefer the hold-all bag. After all, you never know what you’ll pick up on your morning walk. But, for the edit below, we did make a few exceptions and we hope you enjoy our roundup of bags from around Europe.
The Sammal Slouch Tote by Lovia might just be our favorite … not only for the company’s sustainable practices, but also for its simple design and functionality. Sammal means moss, “which is the natural purifier of our forests, breathing out fresher air.” With this metaphor in mind, the Sammal tote has no lining, allowing the leather to breathe. Of note, this bag is made of excess leather-cutting waste pieces from the Finnish furniture industry.
NO/AN is the handbag line conceived by Brussels-based Finnish designer Anna Lehmusniemi. Encouraging her clients to reconnect with the beauty of patiently crafted bags, the designer imagined supple and relaxed styles that could not be tied to any seasonal trends. Each bag is made in Portugal by artisans in a family-owned atelier, where they sign every bag they produce. The Plen tote is as soft and supple as they come.
The Philosophy bag, by Natural Nuance, is one of those timeless pieces, and thanks to the designers’ commitment to sustainable practices, this bag was handcrafted with the circular economy and the environment in mind. We encourage you to read their blog for more info. The smooth, naturally-tanned leather and the bag’s durability speak to its material quality and craftsmanship.
Ruben De Abreu’s signature diagonal collection is all about crossing lines. “These are the paths that cross between architecture and personal histories, allowing the bags to become part of new stories written through travel, work and experiences that shape each one differently.” The iconic Zita bag seems to embody the collection in both form and function.
Leather designer and craftsman Giancarlo Nevola, began creating belts and small leather goods back in the early ‘80s. His attention to a refined aesthetic, and use of the highest quality materials, brought him immediate success, and led to the establishment of Reptile’s House, his own luxury accessory brand. His handcrafted bags, made in Milan, are design classics.
Viva’s Whiskey Tote Bag is designed to be the workhorse carryall of your bag wardrobe. Sling this beauty over your shoulder as you head out to the farmer’s market and fill it to your heart’s desire. Handcrafted in Slovenia of Italian vegetable-tanned leather, its minimalist aesthetic is timeless.
Naditum’s founder, the designer Malin Bernreuther, was born in Germany and studied fashion design in Antwerp and Berlin. She worked for various luxury fashion houses before founding Naditum in 2015. “The Old Babylonian word ‘naditum’ designated a community of women whose economic independence and advancement in areas dominated by men led them to be described as the world’s first businesswomen,” she says. “The ancient naditum inspires our thoughts and actions.” The Ishtar lady bag is handmade in a traditional family business in Portugal.
“Crafted in Spain, our work is physically rooted in the Mediterranean landscape, and the individual hand of the artisan is always the starting point for every design,” write José Luis Bartolomé and Albert Escribano, founders of Hereu, a leather goods company that merges modern craftsmanship with timeless traditions. The Colona leather tote is a perennial favorite.
We love this Italian leather shopper for Ostwald, a third-generation family-owned manufactory. Each bag, handcrafted in Nuremberg and Belgrade, bears the signature of the individual maker. We love the beige shopper bag, with plenty of room and extra compartments for all your daily necessities.