French footwear brand adds designer men's bags to its repertoire

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Indy Lifestyle Online

French footwear company Heschung has teamed up with storied handbag designer Vincent du Sartel to debut its first line of men's bags. The collection is set to launch in stores on November 22.

The Vincent du Sartel for Heschung bags come in three different styles: a shopping tote, a messenger bag, or as a two-handled Boston bag. The shopping tote (€590), messenger bag (€550), and Boston PM Vegetal (€850) are made of vegetable-tanned calf leather while the Boston PM Trapper (€650) is made from slightly greasy calf leather. The Boston PM Toile (€540) is made from nylon canvas. All of the bags possess a discreet yet luxurious touch: cotton gabardine lining.

Sartel told Relaxnews in an exclusive interview that his designs were inspired by vintage Heschung ski shoes: 'I went through their archives and studied the stitching and fabrication of the shoes so I could infuse a similar quality in my bags.' Created in the French region of Alsace in 1934, Heschung shoes were initially designed for skiing, hunting and hiking, though they now possess a modern vibe. The Norwegian and Goodyear welts that were used for its ski boots are guarantees of quality and durability and have earned the brand its reputation.

Sartel was the one who pitched the idea of launching a line of men's bags to Pierre Heschung: 'I love the savoir-faire and artisan quality of the Heschung brand. My own personal design ethos revolves around craftsmanship and I like working with brands with a long history of tradition.'

Sartel - who was the creative director of leather goods for French luxury house Louis Vuitton for more than a decade as well as the former creative director of Spanish luxury brand Loewe for three years - started his workshop Atelier du Sartel in 2006. Today it consults, designs, and fabricates handbags for major fashion houses like Maison Martin Margiela, Ermenegildo Zegna and Davidoff.

Designers like Sartel are increasingly tapping into the burgeoning market of men's bags, which are now widely available at upscale department stores. 'It's a snowball effect,' Tom Kalenderian, executive vice president of Barneys New York told Bloomberg. 'Now every men's collection that we go to has a strong presentation of leather goods. It seems almost imperative.'

The rising trend has fostered several high-profile partnerships including Vincent du Sartel for Heschung, Raf Simons of Jil Sander for backpack brand Eastpack, and Yohji Yamamoto for Italian luggage and travel accessories brand Mandarina Duck.

Gucci and Prada were among the first to pique interest in men's accessories when they featured them on the runways during the late 1990s. Today, nearly every major designer brand sends its male models strutting down the catwalk sporting stylish bags. For the A/W 2010 season, for example, Burberry Prorsum presented masculine military chic bags with oversized zip pulls while Gucci showed luxurious overnight bags in alligator leather and Louis Vuitton unveiled structured steamer bags in solid colors.

Purchase Vincent du Sartel for Heschung bags online: 

http://www.heschung.com/leather

LL

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