Susannah Frankel: 'Effortless transportation of one’s worldly goods comes at a price'


There comes a time in every woman's life when she has to acknowledge that however chic battered leather luggage may be, dragging it around on a work trip – or indeed on holiday – and visibly suffering while so doing is not such a good look. And so these days every luxury goods specialist from Louis Vuitton to Prada affixes wheels to at least some of its range, a style compromise, perhaps, but a necessary part of contemporary life.

One company which has known this for some time is Rimowa, a German luggage manufacturer, established in 1898. Many of the smartest make-up artists carry their product from job to job in Rimowa cases, which were originally cast in aluminium (now they're more likely to be polycarbonate) and still boast a distinctive grooved surface. On a recent weekend away I was joined by a suitably well-heeled colleague who demonstrated the allure of its "four-wheel spinner" action (and, yes, I know that sounds less than entirely fashionable), sailing about town as effortlessly as a swan while I puffed along behind him, my endless moaning somewhat reducing the cachet of my otherwise quite impressive bags.

I haven't bought a Rimowa suitcase yet, although I did spend a good part of last Friday morning wheeling one around John Lewis wondering why I hadn't done so years ago. It's as light as the proverbial feather, no-frills in appearance in a pleasing substance-over-style kind of way and, while Britain's favourite department store doesn't stock the shiny black ones (they're definitely the prettiest) more than a few websites do, hence my procrastination.

It should come as no surprise that effortless transportation of one's worldly goods comes at a price. Even the smallest Rimowa case fetches around £300 – the large ones are over twice that amount. I'm still wrestling with that part of the equation, although it's perhaps worth noting that the inconvenience and/or expense of a slipped disc/dislocated shoulder/strained wrist may ultimately exceed that cost.

Susannah Frankel is Fashion Editor of The Independent