Atelier || Lotuff Leather

30/11/2012 § 3 Comments

As I previously mentioned, a few weeks ago I was pleased to accept an invite from Lotuff Leather to visit their workshop in Norwalk, Connecticut.  I was very excited to seize the opportunity to meet the fine folks behind the brand and witness firsthand the craftsmanship that goes into every single piece of leather that bears the Lotuff name.  Fair warning: this is about to be a bit of a photo-palooza, but there was just so much to see and love – I hope you will indulge me!

Lotuff, a New England-based luxury leather goods brand founded by brothers Joe and Rick Lotuff nearly four years ago, is a brand you need to firmly place on your radar.  The Lotuffs, along with creative director Lindy McDonough and a whole host of highly skilled craftsmen and women, take great pride in producing some of the very finest leather items made in America, using techniques honed over decades – and in some cases, generations – of combined experience.  A men’s brand at heart, the all-leather bags, briefcases and accessories that Lotuff creates epitomize the elegant meeting of timeless style, functionality and quiet craftsmanship.

Not only was I inspired by the passion I heard from Joe and Lindy as they discussed their values and goals for Lotuff, but they also deeply affected my personal concept of “luxury” – calling into question some of my own assumptions about the true worth of some of the high-end bags I have lusted for in the past.  My day in Norwalk reinforced the notion that luxury is not achieved by the mere application of a name or a high price point to an item.  But rather, an item is properly considered luxurious in relation to the process, materials and skills that go into its creation — and seeing up close the massive amount of pride that each of the Lotuff craftsmen and women pour into their work brought this into sharp focus.

While this fuller concept of luxury appears to have taken hold in some #menswear circles, it is interesting to note that the majority of women continue to be fine with paying top dollar for cheaply manufactured status accessories.  Indeed, it is difficult to decouple this tendency for status from womenswear’s obsession with fast fashion.  For those of us who find ourselves frequently left wanting by the “it bag” of the moment, the premiere women’s collection by Lotuff is a godsend.  And my leather-scented day spent trying out all the gorgeous prototypes?  Heaven indeed.

For more information, visit Lotuff Leather.

Please say hello to my new best friend…  In. Love.

If you are in New York City this weekend (30 Nov – 2 Dec),
be sure to check out Lotuff in person at this year’s Pop Up Flea.

Pop Up Flea
Friday, Nov 30th 3pm – 9pm
Saturday, Dec. 1st 11am – 7pm
Sunday, Dec. 2nd 11am – 6pm

Drive-In Studios
443 W. 18th Street (nr. 10th Ave.)

Asnières: The Home of Vuitton

12/01/2012 § 1 Comment

Home to Louis Vuitton and his family between 1880 and the 1970s, the house at Asnières is also the first and historical workshop of Louis Vuitton. At present, all the “rare and exceptional” Louis Vuitton products from the Leather Goods collections are made in Asnières, as well as all special orders.  Located just outside of Paris, Asnières is also a “secret” museum of over 150 years of Louis Vuitton heritage not officially open to the public.  However, I am told that if you ring them and ask very nicely, they might allow you to schedule an appointment for a tour.  This gorgeous home and museum is at the top of my list of things to do when next I am in Paris, bien sûr.

Louis Vuitton Museum
17 Rue de la Comète
Asnières, France

Photos by Todd Selby, who visited the home in 2010.

{From the Atelier of…} Edelweiss by Sarah

29/04/2011 § 2 Comments

Cherie, do you recall recently discussing the darling line Edelweiss by Sarah with me?  Well, I am excited to report that on a rainy day last week, I was very lucky to visit the Brooklyn atelier of Sarah Seilbach, the lovely lady behind it all.  Sarah was gracious enough to take time from her busy schedule to talk inspiration, design, production, and all sorts of other fun topics of conversation.

Sarah launched her own line, Edelweiss by Sarah, in 2008 after spending time at Vena Cava, Elise Overland, and Maggie Norris Couture.  She finds most of her inspiration in classic films and fashion, and her designs reflect an affinity for making what is old, new again.  What I love most about Sarah’s dresses is their inherent romance.  She masterfully balances nostalgia with wearability and her designs are always quietly elegant, never fussy.

Sarah’s atelier is a jewel-box of vintage inspiration, from the beautifully dense wall collages she creates at the beginning of each season’s design process, to the vintage Ferragamos tucked in the corners (amazing scores from the nearby Brooklyn Flea).  We found that we had a bit of a common background in theatre arts, loved some of the same classic films and exchanged notes on the best places to hunt for photographs of bygone eras.

Because Edelweiss by Sarah is primarily sold online, I was excited to have the opportunity to see the dresses up close and personally.  They were even more beautiful than I could have imagined.  Sarah’s use of silk is fantastically luxurious.  Wearing her designs are an exercise in femininity, from the thoughtful way they drape on your body to the way the silk feels against your skin.

Selling online affords Sarah the luxury to connect personally with her customers, something she values very highly.  If you have any questions about the sizing of Sarah’s designs, simply contact her before placing your order and she will be happy to get you sorted.

Sarah is currently in the early stages of designing S/S 2012.  She hasn’t yet made a final decision from which decade she will draw the lion’s share of her inspiration, but I was excited to hear that the 1930s was in the running, noting that the opening scenes of the film Atonement and the day dress worn by Briony, the younger sister, had made a big impression on her.

Preliminary sketches for S/S 2012

Visiting with Ms. Seilbach served only to reinforce my love for Edelweiss by Sarah.  Collection after collection, Sarah creates beautiful and elegant designs that are timeless, feminine and romantic.  If you are looking for a frock that embodies these elements — and who isn’t? — Edelweiss by Sarah should be your first stop.

Get in touch: Edelweiss by Sarah site, shop, blog, Twitter and Facebook.

Two items of note!

  • A few dresses from the Fall ’10 collection have just become available on Fashion Stake at discounted prices.  Head here for the bargains.
  • Sarah is also holding a giveaway this month on her blog.  Head here for the details on how you can win one of her beautiful “Luther” dresses.

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