When I was a teenager I remember buying a vintage Etienne Aigner handbag and thinking how sophisticated the design was, so understated. For me, the definition of chic is simple design, quality materials and timeless style. I recently learned the brand was under new management with Creative Director Daniela Anastasio Bardazzi and Apparel Consultant Tawfik Mounayer as they reinvision it for today’s smart, working woman while getting back to the heritage of the brand’s humble roots.
I was talking with Daniela about what I want in a handbag: basic solid color to go with any day look, no patterns or designs, no metal pieces to make it heavier, big enough for a camera or two, quality leather, reasonable price and an outside pocket for an iPhone.
She showed me one of the bags from the new collection and my heart flipped; it was exactly what I wanted. I’ve been carrying it for over a month now and even my girlfriends commented on how much they liked it and how hard it is to find simple, chic, wearable bags like this one. Then of course there is the discussion of price point. I think Etienne Aigner falls in that perfect category of woman who is looking for something longer lasting than what we pickup at mass chain stores but not so much it’s an investment piece from a luxury fashion house.
As Daniela said, “Etienne Aigner speaks to those women who don’t just buy from any brand. It’s for those women searching for items that truly address their aspirations, in addition to their here-and-now day-to-day lives. They know that the first step in preparing for life’s boundless opportunities can be the most challenging: figuring out what to wear. We are giving them invaluable pieces that make that not only simple, but exciting and surprisingly effortless.”
There are many reasons why I love this brand, from Mr. Aigner’s humble beginnings in the 1940s making bags out of linen from harvest sacks and trimming it in leather from old suitcases with hardware details from the flea market to designing accessories for Christian Dior’s New Look and later for Balenciaga.
You’ll notice a lot of influence from this season’s hottest color, oxblood, in these photographs and in the designs themselves. When Mr. Aigner, a former bookbinder, first started hand-making his bags he could only afford one colorant of leather and this beautiful deep burgundy was the color of choice.
Luck was always something Mr. Aigner talked about and it’s fitting their new Creative Director shares the same sentiment. When speaking on the topic recently she said: “That’s the thing about truly lucky people; they make their own luck. It’s a personal essence crafted one thoughtful decision at a time throughout their daily lives.”
I couldn’t agree more.