Pitti is a wonderful show for us at Marcopoloni because handmade and unique high-quality products abound. The boat-loads of style, like it or not, are infectious and even I try to look my best, and even a little stylish.
One person who, instead, has style in his DNA is Marco Campomaggi. The Campomaggi booth stands out at Pitti as his style is rich and is already in touch with the wishes of the audience (it is not so far out that it gives you pause and then some). It is amazing to me to see how many and how quickly people jump on board the Campomaggi wagon. For those of us already familiar with Campomaggi, a new collection is always rich of surprises and interesting new twists. I personally was very happy with the new collection as it improved existing themes and introduced new ones that made me decide to try them. This doesn’t always happen when a new collection is introduced.
As we walked into the booth, we were welcomed by a new version of the Dolci that featured etched patterns some of which were gold plated. The etching is done by a machine but the gold plating is done by hand as is the placement of the studs, which have become ornate and, quite simply, pretty (see picture above).
As we explored the booth we saw a men’s briefcase in finely crackled that was much more attractive than a similar leather style from the past, padded nylon bags that looked great and light for travelling, new bag sizes that fit specific needs from a larger Dolci to a toiletries bag and eyeglasses cases. A line with studs on a woven leather pattern with strips about two inches wide (this looked gorgeous but heavy, heavier than the usual Campomaggi heavy), bags with black military badges on black leather that finally looked attractive (we skipped the first run of military badges), a new lineup of backpacks all with features that make sense, and more. One interesting development is the interchangeable straps for some of the bags. I tried changing a few straps on a bag and they really changed the look: great idea.
Without more photos I realize that this is just a teaser. But you don’t really want too many details since the collection won’t appear until August. However, please do get in contact with us as we are already accepting pre-orders.
The arrival of a new Campomaggi collection is one of the most exciting times at Marcopoloni and our customers also get really excited, which makes for a joyous busy time that helps us forget about tax season and think about spring–the actual season.
The seasons of fashion are similar to the seasons in California. The spring/summer season here in Campbell, CA begins with the end of the last rain, which could be just about now. This is the time when I like to plan my first dinner in the yard with friends and start thinking about going to the beach. Well, so I am finally in the mood to announce the new spring/summer 2016 collection by Campomaggi and, in a separate post, I will announce the Caterina Lucchi one.
There is a problem with this thinking though! I, just now, realize that our South-of-the-Equator customers get completely left behind by doing this… Ouch! We love you too, of course, and I will keep you in mind going forward. Luckily, Campomaggi bags are often unisex and “uniseason” and this collection has at least a couple of new bags that do not shy away from fall and winter.
The Streets of Milan
Marco turned 55 this year (as you know by doing the math on your Campomaggi bag) and opened his flagship store in Via della Spiga, 5 in Milan’s fashion district. I have said it before and gladly repeat it: this is a big deal. A man who decided to make bags the way he liked them has been able to rise to the stage along with the most famous brands in the world who make bags the way fashion trends dictacte. It will be interesting to see if the world of fashion will start moving away from the cookie-cutter styles we have been taught to consider fashionable and towards something more in tune with the fact that people are not made with a cookie-cutter.
As I have always said, and just implied, Campomaggi bags exude uniqueness from every pore. This collection is no different. From reversible bags, to innovative evening styles, Marco is tickling our imagination again. As I walk around Valley Fair mall, the area mall with all the luxury brands, I get bored. I try to pick out the elements of fashion that the different brands contribute and I often either come up empty or have a few points that aren’t very bold. Instead, with Campomaggi, you get used to something bold. In fact, he is so bold that now that he is talking to a more general audience he has retracted wonderful inspirations such as aged leather. I, of course, loved things like aged leather and am waiting for the day when Marco starts a new “free of preconceived notions” brand that is brave.
Despite having become a bit more mainstream, the elements of true artisanship are still very strong and evident in Marco’s new products. Besides the uniqueness that is instilled in all the products, he is still perfecting previous ideas, trying new ideas, and figuring out how to make things more usable.
I have always boasted how Campomaggi bags are a reflection of Marco’s soul. This spring they seem to reflect accomplishment and a desire to live life and to live it better, through a better bag: that’s Marco’s contribution to the world and, in my opinion, a very liberating one because he is able to mix what seems like unlimited creativity with a love for artisanship. In the Marcopoloni world, he is very admired.
Growing up in Italy, when something was reversible my family used the French word “double-face” which in this case stood for double-sided. That is what I thought when I saw Campomaggi’s new reversible canvas bags. It’s a neat idea that makes you feel like you got two bags for the price of one and that when you spill your ice cream you can, at least temporarily, resort to the other side.
There is an interesting touch: the leather label that says “Campomaggi” can be popped out and moved to a location inside the bag, which means that, when you reverse it, it will be visible outside again.
A Little Asymmetry
I don’t think that Marco is embracing surrealism in his designs by any means. But he always tries to think past the tried and true to see if there are other, new ways to be stylish and/or functional. The Malfante Hobo, for example is not a revolutionary design. It has a couple of unique features but nothing Earth-shattering, except that the zipper is placed in a spot that makes it fairly easy to operate.
If you are a Campomaggi veteran like me you know that to get summer colors in your bags you have to move away from the distressed, unbleached vacchetta leather that makes Campomaggi bags so delicious. Canvas is a perfect material for summer, travel, the beach, picnicking, and outdoor activities.
We now have colors that we never had before.
Most of the items in the new collection are, indeed, very summery. That didn’t use to be the case for Campomaggi. Before he started creating leather that would handle brighter colors we were pretty much limited to beautiful shades of dark brown and black.
A Summer Wallet
The Marino canvas wallet has immediately achieved status among Campomaggi wallets. It is the first canvas wallet and it probably is long overdue. Granted, the shape is the same as many Campomaggi wallets (tried and true) and the stamped logo is something that we have seen for over four years now. But, let me ask you something: would you rather take the Marino or a leather wallet to the beach?
If, like me, you answered the Marino, it means that you are ready to get out there and keep your favorite style close to you at all times, and not worry about a little water, too much sun, or a heap of sand. In a way, the Marino is the ultimate summer entry.
Finally, The Ultimate Bucket Bag
Bucket bags had been missing from the Campomaggi repertoire for many years. Then, came the ARIETI bucket bag by Campomaggi. Nowadays, you see many women carry a small bag on their hips, but until today you didn’t see a small Campomaggi bucket bag grace those figures. For those of us who had been waiting for a gorgeous, smaller bucket bag by Campomaggi with precious details… here it is.
The Real Finally
The new Campomaggi Spring Summer collection has arrived and it is one that satisfies. I had mentioned before a couple of uniseason bags for our friends down under. Here they are:
If you are a fan of Campomaggi products, don’t forget to sign up for Emi’s great Campomaggi Report series. Also sign up to our general newsletter where you can find out about what else have we discovered that features awesome artisanship, and follow us on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram, to name a few :-).
Happy spring and if you have any questions, please ask away in the comments below!
If Via della Spiga means nothing to you let me explain why it is such a big deal for me.
Yesterday, Campomaggi announced that they will open their flagship store in Via della Spiga, 5 in Milano tomorrow. Although I had heard the rumors before now it is official and it is happening for real.
Prodotto Artigianale on The Label
“Prodotto Artigianale” on the Campomaggi label means “artisanal product”. Back in the Eighties, when Marco Campomaggi was making his first bags by hand, I was witnessing the concentration of fashion, style, and luxury in Via della Spiga. That is also when I witnessed the difference between industrial pret-a-porter products and artisanal one-of-a-kind creations: a difference that I now label as the difference between canned-made and handmade. Campomaggi values a product that is handmade to the point that he has ensured the uniqueness of each item is enhanced by his patented distressing processes. If you look at the label, it wants to tell you that his unique soul, rooted in his past, has created each item… artisanally.
Milan Wasn’t Always The Capital of Fashion
Italy always created wonderful artisanal products, and Milan already had luxurious shops in Via Montenapoleone and other medieval streets next to Via della Spiga. But it wasn’t until the seventies and eighties that Italian fashion designers created world-renowned brands that made Italy the place to go for certain styles. That is when Milan became an amazing shopping destination, offering all the best brands in the Quadrilatero della Moda (Fashion’s Rectangle–referring to the area around Via Montenapoleone and Via della Spiga).
The Rise of The Artisanal Brand
Not all brands were huge powerhouses like Luis Vuitton and Prada. Besides a few of the historical stores, like a butcher, that have survived in the area, some alternative brands also started finding success, especially in Via della Spiga: Fabiana Filippi, Brunello Cuccinelli (which had two stores and Campomaggi is replacing one of the two) celebrate their artisanal roots as the source of their value. Campomaggi fits very well on this stage and the stage will help spread the word about how we need more style that is unique to each one of us.
This is what Marcopoloni is trying to bring to you: a unique style based on superb artisanship coupled with a personalized service so that you can get exactly what is right for you. It is easy to get started: just get to know Emi or me with a quick e-mail about what you wish to do. We’ll personally help you from there.
Recently I got a request to compare Campomaggi Backpacks to figure out how they rest on your back to see which ones are most comfortable. My customer said that she is a bit short and would not be comfortable with a backpack that sits very low. Having always carried a different Campomaggi backpack on our overseas trips I definitely have some first-hand experience on the subject. In addition, many of our customers have shared their experiences with their Campomaggi backpacks. So, let’s try to spot the most comfortable ones.
There are a few different major uses for backpacks today: shopping, commuting, traveling, and hiking. Shopping is different from commuting in that, when commuting, you might need to get in and out of the bag frequently. When shopping, you might benefit from more space and you do not know how much stuff you will want to carry. The main difference between traveling and hiking is that when you are hiking you don’t get to set the backpack down a lot and if it starts to get heavy then it is definitely going to be an unavoidable pain. When you travel, instead, the backpack might end up sitting on a luggage rack inside a train car for considerable stretches.
The most common concerns about backpacks are: weight and comfort, space, and ease of access to contents. Campomaggi backpacks meet the needs for different uses and different concerns. When it comes to weight, canvas backpacks are lighter. But comfort is determined more by the type of strap than the weight of the bag, which ultimately depends on what you put in the bag. The more spacious backpacks are at greater risk of becoming heavier for this reason. Also, a spacious backpack with a single compartment can make it quite difficult to find what you are looking for.
To keep things simple I picked three Campomaggi backpacks to compare: The ZAVATTI, queen of all backpacks; the VOLTA, darling among Marcopolonites; and the FONTANA, full of tricks up its sleeve.
First I need to define what a comfortable backpack is for a couple of different uses and body peculiarities. If you plan on using the backpack for travelling you want to pay particular attention to bag weight and strap comfort. I would definitely pick a canvas backpack that is spacious.
From the attached pictures you can see that the VOLTA is the bag that sits comfortably on the shoulders and rests high. The other backpacks sit low and there is no way to shorten the straps past their tightest setting. The VOLTA is very adjustable and you get to make the straps as short as you need them. I really like it also because the straps are very comfortable (wider at the top), it is easy to put on and take off, it has a lot of pockets outside, and the top is high grade canvas which is lighter than leather. I would rate the VOLTA as the most comfortable for hiking and traveling.
The ZAVATTI is the most stylish, still, after all these years. It is very popular for commuting to work, where it looks professional and researched: there is no other backpack quite as high quality when you take a close look. The two large pockets are ideal for storing today’s large phones and other somewhat large items like an eyeglasses case.
The FONTANA is also in the stylish category that would do well when commuting. It is a different style than the ZAVATTI and appeals to a different taste that appreciates certain design features such as the braided straps. It feels more spacious than the ZAVATTI and it would be my pick for shopping out of these three, although there are other Campomaggi backpacks that I am not going to review today that would do better in that arena.
Ultimately, my customer liked the design of the ZAVATTI only so I had to discourage her because it was going to sit too low on her. My recommendation for comfort would have been the VOLTA, which did not cut it for her. This is a good example of the advice you can get from Marcopoloni. Instead of being sold a product you will find someone whose first priority is to listen to you to try to understand your needs. When I showed her the pictures she was able to make an informed decision.
Do you have a Campomaggi backpack? Please share your experience in the comments to help other customers. I plan on reviewing the other backpacks that we currently carry next time Chiara comes to the office on a school holiday. She took the pictures for this post. Good job Chiara!
Fall is always super busy for us because we make sure to stock up for the Holiday season and try to have lots of new products to introduce. Add to that that we try to add the Fall/Winter collections during fall, not the beginning of summer, and you can imagine that we have a great number of products to introduce. In the past we noticed that when too many products arrive at the same time we do not have the resources and creativity to properly present each product. That has caused many worthy products to go nearly unnoticed for a while until customers started to dig them out of our catalog.
To prevent that we are now spreading out the arrival of new products by Campomaggi across multiple shipments. This week we received one such shipment and it was very exciting because the bags and accessories that we picked for this winter are really beautiful.
One new design is the distressed leather with a grid pattern of small multicolored brass studs. The TOALDO Campomaggi bag is a great example of this. Another is the VERATTI: a spacious bag with a myriad of small pockets in front and strong magnets securing the closure flaps.
Another line is represented by the FERRARI: canvas bags with large leather components such as a full front flap.
The latest Campomaggi Shipment has just walked through the door. This one is particularly interesting because it includes both items from the new Fall/Winter 2015 collection that we have never experienced, and some new variants from the Spring/Summer 2015 collection that you have requested.
When we receive lots of new products we have to focus exclusively on them for quite some time. As you know, we inspect them very carefully one by one to make sure that no defective units show up to your door. Then, because each Campomaggi bag is unique, we take at least two photos of each bag and add the bag with the photos to the database.
At this point, the bags show up in our Just Landed page, the page where you can preview bags and purchase them before they officially enter our catalog. At this stage we start talking about the novelties on social media but have to be careful not to link to this page as the product will eventually get moved.
When we have added all products to the just landed page, we go back and carefully complete the information associated with each product so that you can see weight, dimensions, sometimes a modeling shot, a description followed by a specific list of features. We also pick a list of recommended related products, and make sure that the product is categorized correctly so that it will appear on the correct pages.
Among the values that we categorize is the color. So if you search for the color in our search box the products that come in that color will rise towards the top of the search results. This is not a perfect system but it should help those of you who are interested in finding the bags we have in a specific color.
Some products become part of our DNA. I have been wearing my Nicola on my belt every day since July 2, 2014, and I am becoming more and more attached to it as time goes by.
There was one unfortunate day a few months ago when I decided not to wear it. That was the day I dropped my Samsung Note 3 in the toilet.
I will spare you the details, but it was because I didn’t have my Nicola with me, and that was extremely upsetting. Since that day I have doubled-down on my loyalty towards this belt pouch. So much so that it has become an extension of me–it is part of my morning routine and now always works hard to keep my wallet always safe and my phone always handy.
Although I consider it a necessity, I have gotten compliments for its style, and, thinking about it, I wouldn’t wear a belt pouch if it wasn’t as stylish. Instead, both men and women stop me to compliment me about it. As to its practicality, I have already discussed it in my previous post, so I will only add that, once you get used to it, you no longer run into things with it.
Needless to say, I highly recommend the NICOLA. Make sure to connect with us and sign up for our newsletter (the most I’ve sent is 5 in a year, although my goal is to send 6).
Travel. Close your eyes and think of a destination. If you have a Pinterest account your mind is probably full of exotic destinations you would like to explore, some day, maybe soon. Maybe one of those amazing spots is within driving distance and you picture yourself getting ready to get in the car or SUV with your dear ones.
As I write this I am starting to imagine taking a short vacation to Lake Tahoe (about a four-hour drive from Silicon Valley, double that with traffic but I am not allowed to think about that right now) with my family. We are going to meet our friends who also have kids the same age as ours and we are going to have a great time.
I picture myself offloading the bags from the trunk in the chilly air and I see the wheeled, hard shell suitcase that works so well in airports… not so well in the snow. Plus… It’s not my style. Rewind.
Now I see myself reaching for the PARETO, who packed this thing? I have to finally use those muscles, luckily I also have a full GIRAMONDO to balance me out. It’s snowing, but I waterproofed both bags using the best leather cream in the world. I greet my friends, they notice my bags. I refuse their offers to help: maybe they can get some of the small stuff.
I get to our room, begin unpacking, “these bags are great” I think to myself. “Who’s hungry for dinner?” I proclaim as I take out a bottle of my favorite wine and bring it to the kitchen. I have something memorable in mind for dinner, it’s getting dark, the fireplace is crackling, the kids are playing, laughter erupts. I start cooking with my friends and think: “it’s going to be a good night.”
I have to hand it to Marco. Getting a new collection to explore every six months is very exciting and stimulating. Talking to our customers, you are also very excited about the new arrivals. What we have found over the years is that our initial impressions favor bags and accessories that our customers are only going to discover later on–meaning that we tend to pick the wrong products. There are exceptions of course. Sometimes we bet on a bag and it proves popular: so popular, in fact, that we quickly run out and then have to scramble to reorder.
While we will continue to refine our forecasting skills forever, this fall Campomaggi’s new products have been met with considerable success. The most popular and most awaited products have been the new leather or canvas backpacks, which have greatly expanded our offering. Before this season, we had the Zavatti, the Perotto and little else. They were nice options but the new bags show that they try to improve on many little details.
The new backpacks are either in leather, or canvas, or both (canvas with big leather pockets). Each model seems to answer at least a specific question. If you need a spacious backpack: there is one that is really spacious; if you are looking for more comfortable straps: multiple bags have very wide straps that are less likely to cut into your shoulders after a while; if you are looking for more pockets where to quickly store stuff: he has you covered. One of my favorite features is the zippered pocket that fills toward the back and is accessible from the side (see the Verrazano).
In our recent newsletter, we offered $75 off orders of $500 or more (offer code: MP500). The offer expires this week, so hurry!
We have been carrying Campomaggi for over six years now. The decision to add Campomaggi to the Marcopoloni catalog was very easy for Emi and I: how could we pass on bags that were so unique and that represented the value of quality craftsmanship like the best of them? I still remember when I first saw the Santarelli in the Campomaggi warehouse before the offices were renovated: my impression was that it was dripping with personality.
Yet, even in those days, the Santarelli was expensive and I figured that I wouldn’t have the patience to use the real buckles that function as closures (since then Campomaggi has been using magnetic buttons behind the buckles to greatly speed up the process of opening and closing). When we got our first shipment back in 2009, I looked carefully, but soon shelved the idea of getting a Santarelli.
Over the years I kept on looking at Campomaggi briefcases. Many of them are superb and we carry them, but none could take the place that the Santarelli had carved out in my heart. I frequently discussed this with a few of my customers and I am sure that they became convinced that I would never pull the trigger. Instead, last month, the opportunity to work at a local company arose and I needed to carry my laptop home. By then I was ready and I never looked back.
If I had to use just one word to define the Santarelli, that word would be “deliberate”. Because it forces you to take your time opening it and closing it (and it is not that much time once you get used to it) I feel that it makes you sit back and asks: “why are you always in a hurry? Plan better and take pleasure in every moment.” As I do that I rejoice in the leather quality because it feels so alive and ready to handle the world and those are certainly qualities I appreciate in my work companion.
I also feel that the bag is perfectly designed for what I do, but I will have to discuss that in a later post.