The Craft Process
Every item coming out of the studio is handcrafted to order, from the simplest of the card-holders to the most complex of the handbag designs.
When a Core Collection order is placed the first task is to create the Commission Box. A gold-plated brass disc is stamped with the order's sequence number and presented to the client as guarantee of the commission. A second counterpart disc is also struck and put aside to be secured inside the bag as it nears completion.
The client's name, along with a few other details, is carefully written on a slip of parchment. This note will be sealed inside with the final few stitches, a simple record of the bag's hidden within the body of the bag itself.
A drawer is set up in the studio where these components are collected together - a home for the bag as it is brought to life.
All the leather is sourced from northern Italy - an area renowned for producing the highest quality hides available.
Various thicknesses of leather are needed, each has its own degree of strength and flexibility to be put to use in the different areas of the handbag. Two forms of leather are used : 'Bridle' leather is known for its grain structure and its ability to be burnished to a clean surface. Whilst still strong, 'Bubble' leather is softer to the touch with a mossy suede underside. It is ideal for the bodies of the smaller designs.
The leather elements are each marked from the patterns by hand, ready for the next stage.
Cut by hand
Every component is cut by hand. This task calls for a very precise set of tools, many of which are unavailable so have been made especially for the purpose.
After the panels have been cleanly cut the edges are bevelled and then hand-burnished to leave a crisp shine.
Every single stitch-mark must be cut by hand using a razor-sharp awl. There are 738 of these stitch-points in the smallest of the Core Collection designs with many thousands on the larger models. If a single hole is cut out-of-line with the others, this component must be discarded and work begun on it once again.
Pure gold-plated hardware
All the fittings, from the studs to the feet, are plated in 24c pure gold.
'24 carat' equates to a purity of over 99.95% pure gold. This ensures a beautiful bright glow which will slowly mellow to a warm amber colour over the first few years of use. Should a client prefer the bright qualities of fresh gold this can be easily maintained with a quick polish once a year.
The generous thickness to which the hardware is plated ensures there will never be any danger of the gold wearing through even on bags used daily for many years to come.
The pocket in the image above is embossed with a special form of 24c gold leaf as it felt incongruous to use anything less having decided to plate the hardware. This discrete logo, hidden inside the finished item, is the extent of the branding.
The process of hand-stitching is perhaps the most labour intensive of all those involved and the one for which the label is most known.
It can take many days, sometimes over a week, to carefully 'close' a bag. No sewing machines are used. Every single stitch is formed by hand using nothing more than an awl and a single cord of beeswaxed linen with a saddler's needle attached at each end. These two needles pass in opposite directions through the same hole, creating a pair of stitch lines which run back and forth, firmly bound together in a double helix.
The technique is an ancient one, known as the 'Saddle-stitch', which creates a stitch of great strength and flexibility. The linen thread used is the finest available. Lin Câblé 'Au Chinois' has been continuously produced in France since 1847,
When the bag is almost complete, the first components to be created - the gold sequence number disc and the parchment slip - are ready to be attached.
The disc is secured inside the bag, confirming the sequence number of the order and ensuring its provenance can be traced.
The slip is hidden from view with the final line of stitches and will only be seen again should the bag require a repair decades down the line. With these stitches the clients name is bound with the bag forever and the order is completed.