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Official APRIL IN PARIS (custom leather artisan) Thread: Feedback, Pics, Reviews - Page 2

post #16 of 100
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by HORNS View Post
Rach, were you here in San Fran? I walk by there all the time, since one of my offices is just down the street from her shop. She's been great - a fine craftsman with a gift of great customer service - every time I've walked in there, but have never bought anything. I have, however, drooled over her portfolio of previously commissioned bags. Edit - great color choices, rach, but why a textured leather for the interior?
No, we did everything via phone/email. I'd love to have visited her, but work/research/time prevented it. As for the interior, she was open to different things, but given that I like to use the bag for carrying folders, in addition to a water bottle, and even groceries (if I stop by the store on my way home), I liked the lining that would repel water, and also retain its shape. An ungrained, uncoated calf would show water marks, scratches, and also bend/warp over time with folders and such in it. A canvas/textile fabric was probably an option, but like Hermes or Valextra, she tends to prefer doing a full leather interior (which is more labor intensive, and also a sign of superlative quality/attention to detail.)
Quote:
Originally Posted by Kent Wang View Post
I dislike the bag style, like a grocery tote. It's also a bit feminine.
You go with the bag that fits best your needs. I've had dozens of bags, in virtually all styles, starting about ten years ago when I got my "first" job. I found that "shopper" style totes worked best for my needs, needing to fit books, a computer, and (mentioned above) groceries or things I pick up during my day. Being able to tweak a style to fit exactly the size/use for me, was best. As such, I picked this style ONLY for my own needs, and not for anything else. A briefcase/messenger/backpack or anything else, of the dozens I've had, didn't "match" as well for what I needed. That's the beauty of a bespoke item... probably there SHOULD be no other members who would say "I want that bag." It's designed for ME, and that's what I paid for. As well, I found this style a good "starter" project for us. Assuming this goes well, I plan to use Bea and AiP for all of my future bag purchases/projects, and as such wanted to start with something manageable, relatively affordable, and that fit my needs. My next bag ,however, will be very different (basically a custom attache case.) Like going to a Bespoke Tailor, you start your journey with them with a relatively simple project, and build your relationship with them based on that performance. I look forward to being a "lifelong" customer of Bea, assuming all goes as well as I expect, and as well as all signs suggest.
post #17 of 100
Quote:
Originally Posted by rach2jlc View Post

Quote:
Originally Posted by Kent Wang View Post
bag style

I don't know Kent, I think it very much fits rach2jlc's style.

The scale is a little bigger than his inspiration's, but I'm all for function following form in this case.

- M
post #18 of 100
Have you considered round, more tubular-shaped handles, as opposed to the strap-like ones you pictured? Just a thought because of ergonomics - carrying heavier loads in the bag might be more comfortable with the former. Of course those type of handles wouldn't "drape" down when not used, but I suppose it could be made do so above where the handle is attached to the bag.
post #19 of 100
Are you going to get rubber nibs (or whatever they're called) on the bottom to prevent wear?
post #20 of 100
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by HORNS View Post
Have you considered round, more tubular-shaped handles, as opposed to the strap-like ones you pictured? Just a thought because of ergonomics - carrying heavier loads in the bag might be more comfortable with the former. Of course those type of handles wouldn't "drape" down when not used, but I suppose it could be made do so above where the handle is attached to the bag.
Definitely considered a number of handle attachments/styles. Decided on the flat/strap ones as they tended to be (for me) more comfortable than rolled ones. I have/had a number of bags with rolled handles and I don't like them for heavy loads... not sure why, but my initial guess would be perhaps that you have less surface area in a rolled handle where your hand actually holds the handle. As well, they will be wider and shorter than the ones in the second pic (more like the one that I'm holding above.) Smaller handle drop, wider surface area.
Quote:
Originally Posted by Kent Wang View Post
Are you going to get rubber nibs (or whatever they're called) on the bottom to prevent wear?
Nope; it's going to be fully streamlined (on the outside, at least... the inside has a number of tweaks/features). I don't really want a piece of luggage, and a very clean aesthetic is my goal (on the outside). No logos, no stamps, no "nibs," no shoulder strap, no metal attachments for the handles, etc. As for wear, that's one reason I chose the type of leather I did... it doesn't really scratch, and it can be fully refurbished years down the road. I also don't set my leather bags down on the ground; even in a restaurant, my bags get their own chair. One also has to consider in all of these things... nibs, shoulder straps, zipper pockets, rolled handles (which are filled with tubing/stuffing), etc. etc. also add weight... and I wanted a versatile, but lightweight bag. Many here like a Saddleback or other types of bags... but a mark of "quality" for me is not necessarily that the bag weigh as much as a Sherman tank (haha). One of my other requirements (or "challenges" for her) as she works with the leather is to see how strong, but leightweight, she can make the bag. I dont' want structured, but I also don't want slouchy. She's also reinforcing certain elements of the bag and using a thicker thread than most brands use (none of which will really be visible/obvious when looking at the bag.) I basically want the Seagram Building, if the Seagram Building were a bag.
post #21 of 100
I strongly agree with your preference for a lighter weight bag, but wouldn't a canvas lining instead of leather be lighter?
post #22 of 100
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Kent Wang View Post
I strongly agree with your preference for a lighter weight bag, but wouldn't a canvas lining instead of leather be lighter?
But, again, it's about balance between form, function, style, and luxury. I want a piece of luxury more than I just want "a custom bag," and there are tons of makers out there who could have made this bag more inexpensively. The leather lining gives, additionally, a fine tactile sense. As for weight, I don't know how much weight it will add, but again, she particularly chooses her leathers for their weight and durability, and also works with them to keep the bag manageable. As such, I'd say that the weight differences between a sturdy canvas and her light calf are probably negligible, though there's a huge difference in terms of "feel." I don't even know if she does canvas linings (probably she does) but a full leather lining is a luxurious rarity, given that for most brands it is cost prohibitive. Other than Hermes, most use textiles or synthetic leathers (even LV does), because a real leather lining raises their production costs immensely. Hermes is the only other brand I can think of off hand that does leather (especially goatskin) linings on its bags... but those bags usually start at $5000 and go up from there.
post #23 of 100
Canvas linings are a bad idea, a compromise at best - they start looking grubby real quick, and are a real nuisance to clean without damaging the leather. And if your canvas moulds you are SOL because you will never be able to wash out the spores without damaging the leather. Some manufacturers glue their canvas linings to the leather - and you guessed it, the canvas will discolour over time. Which brings me to my next gripe - alcantara linings. All the disadvantages of fabric, and add to that the propensity of suede to pick up marks. Made of the cheapest materials, yet a big markup; faux luxury at its finest. Good thread, haven't seen one of these in a while.
post #24 of 100
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by apropos View Post
Canvas linings are a bad idea, a compromise at best - they start looking grubby real quick, and are a real nuisance to clean without damaging the leather. And if your canvas moulds you are SOL because you will never be able to wash out the spores without damaging the leather. Some manufacturers glue their canvas linings to the leather - and you guessed it, the canvas will discolour over time. Which brings me to my next gripe - alcantara linings. All the disadvantages of fabric, and add to that the propensity of suede to pick up marks. Made of the cheapest materials, yet a big markup; faux luxury at its finest. .
Good points. AiP also uses no glue whatsoever... it's all hand stitched (again, Hermes is the only other I know who does this). All of these little details are cost prohibitive for most major brands... Gucci/Prada/Dior would never do full leather linings and no glue; it would double/triple/quadruple their production costs. I'm sure AiP makes a good living from her bags, but still, a $3000 Dior bag and a $3000 AiP bag will probably find the MATERIAL/PRODUCTION cost vastly different. The same bag from Dior, assuming they did the same attention to quality/materials, would probably be $10,000. As such, their $3000 bags are really probably $250 bags, sadly enough. Again, there is a reason why an Hermes bag runs $7000 for a leather tote (like the one pictured on the first page). There is a premium for the name, of course, but there is also factored in the time/labor/materials, etc., and that attention to detail.
post #25 of 100
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by mmkn View Post
I don't know Kent, I think it very much fits rach2jlc's style. The scale is a little bigger than his inspiration's, but I'm all for function following form in this case. - M
Thanks! However, just wanted to be clear, the pic above is NOT my April in Paris bag. That bag was the "inspiration" and prototype bag I sent to Bea to work from (it's an old Gianfranco Ferre bag I've had for years and years). In terms of color/leather, the other pic (the brown Hermes tote) was another reference image. My actual bag is currently being made and will be delivered in April or early May. I will post pics when it does. Based on some of the comments, questions, and criticisms in this thread (and also in the ManBag thread in SW&D), my only other advice to members thinking about bespoke items is that they do their homework before hand. For MOST people, I think a ready-to-wear or "designer" bag will suffice (just like a ready-made fragrance/perfume will suffice, and for MOST people, doing a "bespoke" fragrance may not be a great idea). If you don't know very specifically what you want, or WHY you can't get that elsewhere, you can end up spending more than you'd probably have to on a bag that probably won't make you any happier. I mean, for me, having had dozens of bags, I noted EVERY time the detail or part I didn't like. Accumulating those complaints/imperfections over the past 5-6 years, I decided on the April in Paris bespoke because I knew what I wanted, and NEVER found exactly that in a ready-to-wear designer or anywhere else. I think for many members here who have less experience or did less "study" in it, they might end up with a virtual copy of a SAB or Dunhill briefcase, only that cost them twice as much. Likewise, a Creed or Guerlain Bespoke Fragrance might find them spending $5000 and ending up with a virtual copy of Michael Kors for men (or something.) As such, for them, I'd say buy the Dunhill or SAB (or the $40 Kors fragrance) and be done with it, unless (1) money is no object and you simply want the BEST or (2) you want a very specific item made to your specs, that you can't get elsewhere. Bea is very helpful and will work with a client even if they have only remote ideas what they want... but overall, I think for MOST people probably going through the time/expense/etc. may NOT be in their best interests unless they have CLEARLY their needs/wants in mind. If you've done your legwork/homework, though, and know the good/bad/ugly of designer bags... then I think it can be a really great project and relationship.
post #26 of 100
Bea has been a pleasure to deal with. I sent her my wallet design and leather choices yesterday. She responded favorably and only had a few questions. I should be officially placing the order at the beginning of the week
post #27 of 100
Order placed on Saturday. Now the 4-6 week wait begins.
post #28 of 100
She made my wallet on Thursday and it shipped Friday. I'll have it on April 1st
post #29 of 100
Quote:
Originally Posted by veloaudio View Post
She made my wallet on Thursday and it shipped Friday. I'll have it on April 1st
what did you have made?
post #30 of 100
It's a vertical wallet (like a short breast wallet). I'll post pics when it arrives.
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