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LA PORTEGNA AT PITTI UOMO 85

Synthese

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LA PORTEGNA: HELLO WEEKEND

Words and Pictures by Jasper L

For many of us, luggage; or, more broadly, bags, are accessories, and nothing more. It’s easy to overlook our reliance on the small items that make our lives easier until we realize we’re hosed when they don’t work. That’s where La Portegna comes in. Founded and manufactured in Spain, they produce leather travel goods – really beautiful travel goods – that will make you think more about what you’re carrying, and where you’re carrying it.

Although we were largely consumed by a two-day discussion of La Liga and Basque cuisine, Jose Urrutia, the founder, managed to find the time to tell me a bit about the brand:

“A lot of our inspiration is that back home, I have a photo album of my grandmother traveling from the thirties, and there’s pictures of her – on this boat trip – with Hemingway, and they became very good friends. Those days, traveling was much more of an experience. These days, everyone can travel – which is good! But it’s losing the mystique.”

I think back to the 20 hours I just spent wedged into Lufthansa’s depressingly tight economy class – and the 20 hours before my departure that were spent on hold with United. Not a lot of mystique there.

“My idea,” he finishes, “is to do products that are contemporary in design; functional, but that can be traced back to the idea of what traveling was like before.”

La Portegna started out by making slippers - simple ones: two pieces of leather, stitched together by hand. They were made for sitting on planes, for pulling off in security lines, for rolling into a ball and stuffing into a weekender. A moccasin version (with a more outdoor-friendly sole) was produced. An espadrille is on its way. Now, a range of colored suede and leather is available, accompanied by a line of bags that features every size from zippered coin purses to foldable weekenders.

The designs are outwardly simple; the bags are made of leather and stonewashed canvas that’s lighter and finer than the heavy materials you’re probably used to. Frankly, it’s a relief not to feel as though you’re carrying a military surplus store around on your back when you lift a bag. Every item is supple and friendly to the touch. It’s all clever, made to be packable, made for utility and mobility, but the most attractive feature is that it’s fun. My favorite bag, aside from a gorgeous leather briefcase and a matching portfolio, is the new Camera Bag. It’s a similar briefcase-sized canvas-and-leather piece, but is slightly wider and contains built-in foam dividers meant to support a camera and extra lenses.

Every accessory fits comfortably into the world that La Portegna has built: the belt, a niche that Jose decided needed filling, is made only of elastic cotton and leather, and fastens with an adjustable leather tab. Not only is it comfortable to wear on a long plane ride, you don’t have to take it off to go through security.

It’s important to realize that La Portegna isn’t aiming for a return to a golden age of steam trunks and months-long rest cures. Yes, the bag designs are often labeled “vintage inspired,” and Jose’s hope is that you’ll use his goods until they’re battered and familiar, but the only obvious gesture to days gone by is the small, hot-stamped logo; reminiscent of an eight-spoked ship’s wheel. What he’s producing is thoroughly contemporary and thoroughly moving: when you pick up a bag, you want to take it somewhere – and yourself along with it.










To be taken to the La Portegna site and webshop, click here

 
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Gerry Nelson

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Great write up! Which is the briefcase in the second picture? I couldn't find it on the website.
 

Jr Mouse

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mktitsworth

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I love their stuff. My wife just bought their blue laptop bag and we are waiting for it to come in. I will try very hard not to drool on it, but it will probably be what pushes me over the edge into ordering one of their wallets.
 

cyc wid it

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I think NMWA will be carrying it.
 

gettoasty

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Already up

I'd get it to carry books/documents in-n-out of the office but I'd have a nicer bag than even the CEO...

edit:
Correction, not yet...
 
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Jr Mouse

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Thank you! It's one of the most beautiful briefcases I've seen. Going to save up to get one!

It's a nice looking bag and I am a fan of the brand's designs. Wish I could get a hands on with some of their leather goods before dropping the change on something.


I think NMWA will be carrying it.

Has their been word on this in the thread? I was planning on asking.
 

Synthese

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Yes, as far a I know NMWA is carrying it. Greg can probably say more.

Te leathers are great. Really great. All tanned and produced in Andalusia, and they are very supple. Don't think heavy American stuff; think soft, buttery deliciousness. Really nice. That fat carter is fantastic. Details are wonderful too. I was really, really impressed. Beautiful depth of color on everything. Looks like an Instagram filter but it's real life.
 

gdl203

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Hi - yes we've received our Fat Carters (love the name...) and we'll have them online very soon with our usual free shipping, etc...

Also, we're concocting an MTO offering with Jose for our NYC trunk show on March 22-23 : 4 styles illustrative of the range, that people will be able order in a selection of leathers and canvas (or combination thereof)
 

Jr Mouse

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Sounds fantastic Greg. I can't wait to see the Fat Carter (I also love the name) bag and the MTO offerings reach your site.
 

gdl203

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It's $665 including US/Canada shipping
 

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