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Molded Leather

Suggestions

  • Elasticated pants
  • Suit jacket
  • Dress
  • Black

MOLDED LEATHER

MAKING PROCESS

The leather collection is conceived in the Lemaire studio in Paris. The bags suggest exaggerated shapes that hang like baubles against the drape of clothing. Curvy and shiny, the singular quality of the designs offsets the drape of the garments they adorn. Their forms have a friendly quality, readily making them an opening for a conversation or exchange between strangers, in the street or at a restaurant.

Above :
The wooden last used to
prepare the form of the
Bag with metal fastening

Each piece is created in a dialogue between the studio and the factory in Impruneta, Italy, the Tuscan town where they are produced. The artisans developed the procedure from a molded leather technique, an evolution of the process of small leather goods: cigar cases, coin purses and pouches. The result of trials and failures, the process has emerged from both the inventiveness and pertinaciousness of the artisans. Made from vegetal leather, it demands carefully balanced adjustments, made incrementally to achieve a beautifully rounded shape, free from any strengthening material. The shape of the bag emerges as the leather is worked over the wood, pressed repeatedly and negotiated into place.
Impruneta is a small town in the middle of Tuscany known, for the most part, for the terracotta made from local clay. The material is responsible for the reddish tone that appears throughout the cityscape, across homes, shops and cultural landmarks. Terracotta kilns gather around the outskirts of Impruneta. The decorative shapes of the natural clay, in the form of pots, pillars, tiles and sculptures, express the surrounding geography and anthropocene.

An artisan's hand work the
leather into the bag's form.

Above :
Classical terracotta statues;
the clay is speciality of the region of Impruneta.

Bottom :
The leather is stitched together on a sewing
machine.

The simple curvature of the bags conceals a process guided by hands. The procedure begins with a piece of wood in the form of a last created by the craftsmen. This becomes the template for the leather that is used over and over, tailor-made for the each of the bag recipes. The last is carved to the shape of the bag and is the foundation for the hand working of the leather that follows.
First, the leather piece is soaked thoroughly and evenly before being finely sheathed over the wooden last. A wood frame is then placed around the structure, holding the leather firm for it to take shape in the drying process. The wood frame fills the negative space around the last and is then placed under a press to coax the material into shape.

Three stages of the leather
in the moulding procedure
for the Egg bag.

After the initial pressing, the leather is sculpted and massaged over the wood into its curved form. This is a sensual process: the leather is a living material and yields to the repeated molding from the hands of the artisans. Using the strength of their fingers they mold the shape of the bag as if rolling out pasta dough, carefully and evenly easing the material towards the design.
The beauty of the bag making is that it is both tacit and environmental. The form of the bag is created in the pressure of the fingers, the temperature of the water, the health of the leather, the sun where the bags are placed to dry. Still, the process is aleatory: the two leather pieces may react differently to the moistening and dying process. If there is a gap when the two molded parts are stitched together, it will offset the symmetry. Everything may be done perfectly, but at the end the two pattern pieces may not fit perfectly together by the smallest increment.

The structure is left for a period of time under Impruneta's sun. Once dry, and the wood frame removed, the edges of the leather are trimmed to the margins of the bag's final shape and the pattern pieces are assembled and stitched together, their edges hand-painted and waxed . The bags are completed with the addition of small and minimal hardware, complimentary to the curves of the designs.
The dedicated and laboured technical procedure the bags undergo makes each unique to the asperities of the hand that crafts it. They are not perfect, but their craftsmanship participates to their beauty.

The leather is worked
into shape in the
wooden last.

The Collection

THE CAMERA BAG

Primary geometrical ingredients make up the Camera Bag. The container of the bag is a simple rectangle, offset by the molded lens element that juts out from the middle. The lens shape is formed from a round mold, holding the leather in place in the process, much like the circular molds used to make individual shapes of the pasta, like farfalle or ravioli, often served in the Tuscan region's rich stews.

Available in vegetable tanned leather
or grained leather
Entirely lined

890 euros

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THE EGG BAG

The form of 'The Egg Bag' is both tactile and curious. The bag embraces the full potential of the leather molding technique with curves at every moment of its design to create a leather surface that gleans against the textiles of the garments, and their draped silhouette. The bag is a summary of the objective of the accessories collection: sensual, but unconventional.

Available in vegetable tanned leather
Entirely lined

1950 euros

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THE BAG WITH METAL FASTENING

The bag with metal fastening presents a functional vessel, easily fit into daily routine. Its full shape nods playfully a school satchel with the body of the bag enclosed by a flap, and fastened with a simple metal clasp.

Available in vegetable tanned leather and metal works
or grained leather and metal works
Entirely lined

950 euros

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