These bags are made for gawking
A recent luxury trunk show at Hyderabad unveiled the work of four international bag designers making an entry into the Indian fashion scene
The air hummed with excitement as Hyderabad’s swish set arrived at designer Manish Malhotra’s uber-luxe Jubilee Hills store earlier this month. They were here for the unveiling of the much-anticipated AiSPi trunk show, Haute Dreams: A Date with Couture. Twenty four well-known designers from across the world descended into the royal city with their apparel and accessories, and among them were four finding their feet for the first time in India. Each showcased collections that wove the essence of their native culture into the modern design tapestry. Here’s a peek into their creative universe.
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For Leo Neves, a stylist-turned-designer and founder of WaiWai, a Brazilian brand of handmade purses, design has to be sophisticated yet sassy. The philosophy was amply reflected in his debut collection that featured handbags that were an expression of his hometown Rio de Janeiro’s effervescent spirit. Take, for instance, the Baobá clutch bag. Crafted from handwoven rattan (derived from cipó-titica vine found in the Brazilian Amazon), tortoiseshell acrylic tiles and rilsan, the bag coalesces Neves’s Cariocaesque aesthetic and contemporary accents. “It encapsulates the essence of Brazil’s rustic and modernist fashion, and is both innovative and uniquely daring,” he says.
The other bag that encapsulates this blend is the Oiticica, which is made of handwoven rattan and acrylic inspired by the works of Brazilian visual artist, Hélio Oiticica. The geometric patterns are reminiscent of the artist’s Parangolés series of Afro-Brazilian men and women in colourful, asymmetrical capes. “The Indian audience is going to love it for its vibrancy and liveliness, two hallmarks of their culture,” Neves says.
Beyza Yasar, co-founder of artisanal bags brand, Bera Design, from the vibrant metropolis of Istanbul, has set foot in India with high hopes. The country is an aspirational market for the brand that upholds its Anatolian cultural heritage through elegant lines inspired by nature, experimental craftsmanship and art. “This is seen through our new handbags made of natural leather produced at our tannery in Turkey using old-age techniques of production showcasing the richness of our traditions,” says Yasar.
The two handbags that have been brought along on their India sojourn—Cosmos and Gala––are both made of Turkish leather and handcrafted by artisans of the Grand Bazaar. “The colour is inspired by Istanbul’s many hues and moods, while the geometric form is an ode to the city’s architectural genius,” says Yasar.
With a commitment to sustainability, HVISK, the vegan bag brand from Copenhagen, brings the quintessential Scandinavian aesthetic as part of its FW23 line. The bag’s print was specially created to resemble an abstract outline of the streets of the Danish capital—the historical edifices, modern street design and the art that pulsates through it.
Made with post-consumer recycled fibres, the bags come in statement shapes and earthy hues with a polyester lining. “As we come to India, we hope to explore the depths of ethically responsible designs and make permanent inroads in the heart of the country,” says the brand’s co-founder and CEO, Michael Aoun.
From Milan comes brand Moi Meme whose offering, Margherita Medium, reminiscent of the 40s’ design sensibility, took centre stage at the show for good reason. Its meticulously sculpted body, elegant rational line details, and the luxurious use of calfskin make it every discerning patron’s eye candy. The bag also holds a special place in the heart of its founder, Roberta Giacobbe, as it is named after her mother from whom she received her first bag as a gift.
The same graceful aesthetic paves the way for another masterpiece —the bucket bag. As it stretches itself in and out, the bag makes for a transformist statement piece that’s both functional and fun. “We’re curious to see how fashion aficionados in India receive it as they’re known to be creatively inclined when it comes to accessorising,” says the sales executive at the brand, Antonio Cassano.