The Companion I Never Expected

I don’t like purses. Why? Well, the word “purse” ALWAYS implies that it is some sort of fashionable handbag that ladies carry. Any sort of bag a lady carries is automatically seen as a “purse”. That makes no sense to me. With that said, I am definitely not the type of person to carry a purse, a handbag, or what have you. All I need are pockets to carry my phone, keys and wallet and I’m ready to go!

My first impression of Marcopoloni was how it is a company that perpetuates passion, hard work and genuineness. That definitely is what Marcopoloni embodies, no doubt. The products being offered here are so full of life and character that you can’t help but get drawn to them. Well, let’s fast forward to when I had access to the Campomaggi catalog. Found my first Campomaggi creation pretty quickly, I’d say. Not only is it my first Campomaggi bag in general, it is a custom order! Named after the inventor of the helicopter, Enrico Forlanini, it is every bit as logical and practical as its namesake.

After carrying the Forlanini with me on my adventures, the bag has become an appendage of me (Notice how I use the word “bag” to keep the ambiguity of what it is alive. It’s a bag. Simple as that). What has changed since I have the Forlanini? Well, I still just carry my essentials, really. The typical phone, keys and wallet with the new addition of a sketchbook, a pencil, and mints (ginger mints, to be specific). The most important aspect of my bag is how it represents me. The ruggedness of Campomaggi’s signature distressed leather coupled with its simplistic, utilitarian design just makes so much sense to me. It symbolizes my ideals of keeping things simple and straightforward. Lastly, I truly feel that Campomaggi embodies what it is like to be true to yourself–to your roots–in all of his products. As someone who has never envisioned herself seeing any sort of need to carry a bag, my first Campomaggi bag has truly become the companion I never expected.

My Forlanini as it is, scratches and all.

 

PETALO GRANDE Large Laser-cut Leather Handbag by Caterina Lucchi (Product Review)

PETALO GRANDE laser-cut handbag
PETALO GRANDE laser-cut handbag. By the way, I am 5'5" and the bag in no way feels too large for me.

When we write product descriptions, we try to go beyond simply listing features and convey the essence, or the “personality” of the product. Often I’ll let a product sit on my desk for days before I feel like I am familiar enough with it to write about it. If it’s a handbag, I might try carrying it on my shoulder to see how comfortable it feels, or try filling it with different items to see what kinds of uses it might be best suited for.

With the Petalo Grande Laser-cut Leather Handbag, I wanted to try something different. So I had Daniele take photos of me as I was toting it around. The result was somewhat surprising … the image I had of the bag was not the same as what I saw in the photos! Because the bag is so light – one of the big pluses of Caterina Lucchi‘s leather bags – I hadn’t realized how large the bag seems from a distance. (I also realized that my sepia-colored sweater does not really bring out the nuanced java color of this bag). The bag IS quite large. You can fit quite a bit of stuff in it. But you won’t feel like you’re toting around a bowling bag, because even though it’s real Italian leather, it’s calfskin … super soft and supple, and light-weight.

I love the Batik, two-toned look of this bag. It’s subtle enough as to not detract from the gorgeous laser-cut flower motif, but offers just enough of a contrast to remind us that the understated brown is most definitely intentional. A very nice feature (also typical of Caterina Lucchi’s handbags) is the removable leather strap. I thought this bag would be first and foremost a handbag, and secondly a shoulder/cross-body bag, but to my surprise, it looked fantastic worn crossbody style – perhaps even better than high on the shoulder. I loved this look so much that I decided to take even more photos with my 1-day old HTC Vivid and play around with some of the nifty effects that would take several steps to do in Photoshop! These two were my favorite.

Camera Effect 1
Depth of Field
Camera Effect 2
Vintage Effect

Anyway, now that we have smartphones that can take high-quality photos and videos that can be uploaded to our server with just a couple of key strokes, we hope to post more photos and videos of our products going forward. Hmm, maybe I can use this as an excuse to go shop for some new clothes!

The DA VINCI Soft Leather Briefcase by Campomaggi (Product Video)

As some of you may have noticed, we name each and every Campomaggi bag after a notable Italian. It’s a very careful and thought-provoking process … the personality, character, imagery and features of the bag must match, and be complimented by, the figure after which it is named. Our Campomaggi bags are named after famous explorers, scientists, philosophers and more. There are a few obvious names, however, that have been reserved for fear of  another bag coming around that is even more befitting of those names. “Da Vinci” was one of them.

When we laid eyes on this soft leather briefcase, however, it didn’t take long for us to be convinced that the name Da Vinci would not go wasted on it. We think it is that beautiful, versatile, clever, and mysterious.

Transformations: The Amici

Amici Business Tote by Campomaggi

Campomaggi bags often break down categories, which is part of their charm for yours truly, an inveterate metaphysician.  Poring over the Marcopoloni website as I often do on breaks from my editing jobs, I noticed the Amici. It looked like a girl’s bag; and indeed, if you google “amici,” you will be informed that the name may refer to a girly bag. But Marcopoloni, like Campomaggi, isn’t interested in confirming other people’s conventions (which is part of their charm for this metaphysician). So I decided to look harder at this bag.

It had all the makings of a great man bag. It zipped tight; it had pockets on the outside for phone and keys; it was somewhat narrow, making it sit on the hip (for older men) but could ride next the buttocks (for younger, who don’t mind bringing attention to their buttocks). Best of all, it had generous handles, so the bag could be scooped up from the car seat or the seat next to you at the bistro when your lady friend just happens by.

So, Emi had to be alerted! Manbag sighting on website, but . . . . the Amici was being presented as a lady’s bag, or so it seemed to me; it had cousins on the site that were definitely lady’s bags, even by Campomaggi’s liberal standards (their lady’s bags are indisputably womanly). But could the Amici be both! The Amici is, after all, a Campomaggi bag.

After doing research, Emi agreed it could be a manbag. A new issue arose: in Marcopoloni’s holdings there were two versions (you are warned that Campomaggi bags tend to be one-of-a-kind). One version, in black, was definitively horizontal. Another version, in distressed cognac, was almost square. The difference was genderish, or at least I persuaded myself of this (and I hope someone will challenge this). The more vertical in cognac was worth a try.

And it has been tried and tried again. First, my Amici became the model for a new blog banner; even photoshopped, it holds its own. My Amici is like Wallace Stevens’s jar in Tennessee: “The wilderness rose up to it, / And sprawled around, no longer wild.” The blogosphere is indeed the new wilderness, and I hope my new blog, under the aegis of my Amici, will create a space for itself.

Second test: I recently used the bag on a trip to Bath, UK, where we stay at The Abbey Hotel and confront the grandchildren, at this point limited to Mary Elizabeth of the “terrible twos” and her younger sibling Frederick Emmanuel D’Evelyn, whom I have nick-named Il Presidente, and his lion-like roar bids fair for his living up to that handle. The Amici, if not quite defeating Mary and Freddie’s capacity for creating wilderness wherever they venture, at least reminded me throughout that one must not take appearances as definitive, that experience is constantly challenging stereotypes, and that the most we can hope for is that, in the end as in the beginning, love conquers all.

Bags personify our condition amidst universal change, of personal wandering in an open universe: this is the romance of bags as I understand them. On this trip, the Amici is my bag, and my bag is “literary,” so it will not be amiss to remove from its back pocket a haiku written on the spot:

Full English breakfast

one terrible two, one infant,

tears, wide-eyes, big laughs

Tom and Mary
Tom with Mary ... and his Amici peeking through!

Review of the STAZIONE Leather Messenger Bag Briefcase by Giudi

Daniele reviews the new STAZIONE Messenger Bag Briefcase by Giudi.

Transcript:

Hi. Today I want to introduce the STAZIONE: a new briefcase messenger bag by Giudi.

As you can see, it’s got the classic, sporty school-satchel design, but the smooth, high-sheen Italian leather and brass-colored hardware add a touch of elegance.

The front flap has two buckles – but they’re actually just for show. Hidden behind them are clip-in-closures … so you get the old-world coolness without the hassle.
The two open pockets behind the flap are really useful for small items that you might need to access in a hurry.

Inside, you’ve got one main compartment with a zipper closure, a back zippered pocket, a hook for your keys, a front velcro-pocket, and a couple of built-in pen loops and card holders.

There is also a larger zippered pocket in the back as well.
The shoulder strap is all leather, and you can adjust the length with this belt buckle.

All in all, I think it’s a great bag for business professionals, but I think it looks good with jeans, too … what do you think??

Leather Doctor Bags … Examined

We just announced the arrival of the new Campomaggi doctor bag, which we called the Bellini (after the 17th century physician from Florence). Doctor bags were traditionally used by physicians for carrying their tools of the trade as they visited patients in their homes, or while traveling. Of course, they were originally made of leather – as most still are today.  In my mind, I had pictured something like this:

A traditional doctor bag in leather
This is what I was talking about. A real, leather doctor's bag.

This one’s actually a prop that you can rent from a company called All About Props. It looks like something you’d see being used by an old, white-haired doctor with spectacles in a black and white film.

As I was researching leather doctor bags, however, I noticed that the term “doctor bag” is being used quite liberally these days. Haute designers such as Prada and Versace have designed handbags for women that really have nothing to do with the traditional doctor bags, and are calling them doctor bags. I suppose that has the benefit of sounding sophisticated, if more than a bit misleading.

Two models with small handbags
Doctor bags by Prada. What would you think if your doc showed up with a bag like this?
Versace's doctor bag
Versace. Yes, it is a bag and does have handles. I guess that qualifies it as a doctor bag.

Well, after sifting through hundreds of so-called doctor bags, I came to the realization that if I were looking for a real, vintage-looking, awe-inspiring doctor bag, the pickings are slim to none.

Until now.

Enter the doctor bag by Campomaggi – I would love to talk about how beautiful it is, but instead I think I will just let the bag speak for itself. And it will.

BELLINI doctor bag by Campomaggi
BELLINI doctor bag by Campomaggi (Distressed Olive Brown)

Leather Bags

I have loved leather bags my entire life. So it is no surprise that after we founded Marcopoloni in 2003, we started looking for a high-quality, handmade line of bags and we introduced our first leather bag back in 2005.

Since then, we added a lot of leather bags designed by the best emerging Italian designers. Today we are proud to offer 100 different leather bags in 247 colors and leather types and I have to admit that my leather bag collection has grown nicely. Yet, there are still a few bags I am still wishing to add:

  1. The SANTARELLI rugged leather briefcase, and Santarelli Multi-tone leather briefcase
  2. The FRECCIA iPad Bag, which I want to use with my new Samsung Galaxy 10.1.FRECCIA iPad leather bag for my Samsung Galaxy 10.1

I would like to add more, but for now I would be very content with these. Today it is my birthday, so I feel like dreaming a little.

2 New Caterina Lucchi Bags: a convertible clutch and a flower-motif handbag

We just posted two new Caterina Lucchi leather handbags and we are so excited about them both!
The Sera is a gorgeous clutch with a chic, playful design. By attaching the leather strap, you can turn it into a shoulder bag or a crossbody bag, making it a super versatile accessory! It reminds me of my favorite pleated skirt that I never had… except better, because I don’t have to worry about fitting into it six months from now 🙂

SERA Convertible Clutch Handbag
SERA Convertible Clutch Handbag ... chic, playful, and oh so versatile!

The Petalo is a small, light handbag, and it feels oh so good in the hand. The laser-cut flower-motif design is stunning in its own right, but add to it the uniquely-dyed pattern and you’ve got an amazing little bag that packs a big punch!

PETALO Laser-cut Flower-Motif Handbag
PETALO Laser-cut Flower-Motif Handbag ... small, but packs a punch!

Both bags are made with Caterina Lucchi’s signature garment-dyed process, resulting in calfskin so soft you will find them very hard to put down!