Etienne Aigner

At the end of World War II, a former bookbinder began putting together leather goods with whatever materials were available. His first collection: bags fashioned out of linen harvest sacks & leather from old suitcases! As he was only able to afford one dye, all his leather was deep oxblood in color, which you know is everything this fall just as it was back then – a true classic. Fast forward 60 years to the new collection designed to be timeless & luxurious just as it’s always been, allowing women feel classically beautiful head to toe.

Do you know this story?

This is the tale of Etienne Aigner.

Above: (from top) Etienne Aigner Epic SatchelPreface I Satchel and Epic Large Satchel


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Etienne Aigner

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.

Above and below: Etienne Aigner Notched CardiganLeather Castell SkirtPreface II Dome SatchelClaudine boots and jewelry; Hat Attack scarf; vintage belt

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.

Above and below: Etienne Aigner Anastasia TunicEpic Satchel and Claudine Boots; custom-made hat; Marc by Marc Jacobs scarfTrussardi gloves


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Old School Photography

Holiday_Card_2014_02 Much about being a creative is really understanding your voice and your vision, which isomething I have struggled with in the past while trying to find myself as an artist. With the passage of time and constant study, you start to see who you are, what you love and then… how the world truly looks to you. I will never be able to escape my tendency toward romance, beauty, simplicity, emotion and the classics.

So, I embrace it.

I can never ignore the soul fulfilling satisfaction of taking a photograph from concept, to composition, and then captured at just the right moment on film. That one shot, the quarter of a second pulled from time and eternalized into a physical object of study. This was the birth of photography for me, this was how you would take a picture and then agonize through your fear of mistakes in the waiting of development; a torturous process that I’m insanely in love with. In 2012 I decided that our studio holiday cards would be created in this fashion every year as a way for me to count the passage of time, to make something of an artifact for the people in my life, and to slow down from our crazy digitized lives back to where it all began for me as a photographer. I get to give the best I’ve got in this old school process; my vision, my thoughts, my mind, my passions, my skill and most of all, my time.

For this year’s studio holiday card I thought about the recurring visuals from 2014 and let my mind’s eye wash away in the strong currents of pictorial memories. What stood out to me? What did I learn about myself? What did I realize I loved? We traveled around and around the world to Bali, Brazil, Australia, Ghana, Dominican Republic, Provence, Germany, England, the American South, and Peru (more on that next week!) and you’ve been with me each step of the way these 12 months.

As I reflected on the year the place I loved most was Paris. It keeps coming back to me, as if a part of my soul is there waiting. I love the classic nature of her perfectly white architecture. The endless amounts of art and inspiration. And of course, the light. I love the way the french look at beauty and the physical form. As an adult now in charge of my own body, destiny and confidence, I’ve found that I am now enamored with the beauty of the body, it’s evolution and ever changing shapes, the softness of skin and functionality that make us human. I thought about the beautiful sculptures of Paris that dot my endless walks, the thing I love to do most there. I thought about that day I spent in the Louvre with my father and all those breathtaking halls of beauty celebrating the female form. Then that was it. I wanted to bring all of those things into my world, in front of my lens, on an early winter evening at Ann Street Studio…


Using a dark changing bag I loaded Ilford Delta 400 black and white film into my 4×5 sheet film holders. Below our intern Sarah Rocco captured behind the scenes shots photographing model Mitzi who I previously worked with at our studio and who I knew had the type of body I was going for.  Holiday_Card_2014_07 Holiday_Card_2014_11


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NYC Street Style

This past October we created a fall fantasy with the heritage and nostalgia of Etienne Aigner within the walls of Ann Street Studio. In contrast, I wanted to show the leather goods in the daily lives of real New York women: on the go yet always fashionable.

PS – a great gift for any woman in your life, and if you sign up for their mailing list, you can save 15%!

Above: Epic Satchel & Textured Wool Long Coat

Above: Page One Tote

Above:  Preface Trifold Wallet

Above: The Marker Weekender

Page One Wallet

Below: Page One Tote

Thank you, Chelsea, for being a great street style model! Xx

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