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

Discussion in 'Classic Menswear' started by rach2jlc, Feb 15, 2011.

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  1. cyc wid it

    cyc wid it Senior member

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    There's a sale currently running for 20% off in stock items. Applies to sale section as well.
     
    Last edited: Jan 26, 2015
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  2. rach2jlc

    rach2jlc Senior member Dubiously Honored

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    edit; double post!
     
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  3. rach2jlc

    rach2jlc Senior member Dubiously Honored

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    Just curious if anybody has bought or commissioned anything from Bea lately? Unfortunately I haven't, though I always have a few "wishlist" bags in mind. :)
     
  4. dieworkwear

    dieworkwear Senior member

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    I recently bought one of the ready-made eyewear sleeves and didn't realize it was machine stitched. Beatrice kindly let me return it for a refund.

    I was going to order one of her custom eyewear sleeves, to be handstitched, but I recently found out that Beatrice doesn't hand stitch anything anymore. It's all done by her employees, who are all former students. Each person has to go through at least one year of her school in order to be allowed in the workshop. Although, while Beatrice used to teach her one-through-four level courses, levels one-through-three are now taught by her graduate students.

    The leathers she uses are very nice. Was just kind of disappointed to learn that Beatrice herself no longer actually makes these items. It sounds like she's going into a more managerial role.

    I'm told they still maintain high standards, but it sounds like a different operation at this point.
     
    Last edited: Apr 24, 2015
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  5. rach2jlc

    rach2jlc Senior member Dubiously Honored

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    Wow, thanks for that updated information. I have to admit that IS rather disappointing. Much (if not most) of the fun was working directly with her, getting her insights and ideas, and her own personal touches here and there.

    Oh well! While I'm sad to hear this, I'm glad that she will be passing on her knowledge and talents to another generation.
     
    Last edited: Apr 24, 2015
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  6. ThinkDerm

    ThinkDerm Senior member

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    At least her students do the handstitching, versus all machine stitched
     
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  7. rach2jlc

    rach2jlc Senior member Dubiously Honored

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    This is true, though from what was posted above it looks like there is some machine-stitched stuff there as well.

    Of course, I don't expect that Bea should have to chain herself to her leatherworking stand until she's 100 years old; I'm glad she's gotten to a position and customer base that will allow her to train others while hopefully getting a little more freedom to enjoy the fruits of her labor.

    That being said, I've never really considered her shop a "brand," such that it would be worth paying a premium simply for her name on an item (with said item stitched by someone else... quite possibly a person with only a year's experience).

    At the ultra-premium price point, there IS a lot of competition... and at the end of the day what made the whole thing worth it was Bea herself. Some brands are very much tied to their namesake; take that away, and even big global brands (Gianfranco Ferre, Helmut Lang, etc.) have trouble exciting their customers.
     
    Last edited: May 1, 2015
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  8. ThinkDerm

    ThinkDerm Senior member

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    what other brands exist at the ultra-premium price point?

    was Bea really worth the price she charged? she was/is at hermes pricing. for that price, often better to go with hermes in my opinion.
     
  9. rach2jlc

    rach2jlc Senior member Dubiously Honored

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    Sorry for the multi-edited wall of text here; I want to choose my words carefully in order to be clear and not cause drama.

    To your first point, AiP is only about half the price of Hermes at US Retail. At the time of having my bag made in late 2010, I felt it was worth the price. Would I feel that way now knowing she wouldn't be the one making it? No, honestly. I'd probably only do it if there were a substantial reduction in the price. Would I be really disappointed if I found out that even back then Bea didn't actually make my bag? Well, yes. The brand is/was "sold" as being the work of a true artisan, Hermes trained, years of experience blagh blagh blagh. Even the pics on the website are/were of her at her stand punching holes into the leather, etc.

    To the other question, at the "ultra premium" price point, I was thinking GRAAE Copenhagen, Ohba, etc.: not bespoke, but excellent quality, great service, and a very substantial bag for $1500-2000. I'm also sure that they could probably do some small custom tweaks without much hassle or extreme $$$ (just speculating).

    There may be machine stitching involved with the above, but "hand stitched" by itself really doesn't merit a premium in my book unless its accompanied by a long work history and a personal, intimate customer experience. With a good RTW brand, not only will you halve the price, but you'll also have an established design history AND economies of scale to ensure good QC and functionality. What you won't have is that personal experience/relationship with the artisan... but now it looks like you probably won't have that with AiP either, at least not with the namesake.

    The other thing that people often forget about bespoke leather goods is that one ends up waiting months, spending $$$, and having outrageous expectations often to end up with something that is high quality, but ultimately inferior to its RTW competition in terms of design and functionality (a good RTW would have long since worked out the 'bugs' in a bag like weight, handle wear, size of pockets, etc.). Your bespoke bag is just that; it's a one-time deal and you have to live with your choices. As such, even at its best bespoke isn't a process for everybody. And without the subtle perks that make it a rewarding PROCESS.. it honestly becomes a questionable use of $$$ and time.
     
    Last edited: May 4, 2015
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  10. jcep

    jcep Senior member

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    This thread is very informative. Thank you to those that have taken the time to share their experiences and more up to date information on the brand. There is a lot of value added in having more information on artisan segment brands that wouldn't be readily accessible without the collective contributions here.

    I looked at both April and Duret Paris and preferred the work I saw from the latter (purely based on design) but was unable to find much information on the forum. Is there anyone familiar with the company? If so, are your impressions similar to those considered in the post directly above? I think it's a very valid point; though it may be less relevant for a fairly standard commission such as the one I'm considering: a belt.

    I'm specifically interested in commissioning an alligator/ alligator nubuck belt and the quotes I received from Duret were in the vicinity of €1360-1560 so I'd like to perform some diligence before taking a (for me, personally) deep plunge.

    Thank you in advance for anyone taking the time time consider/field the question.
     

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