Last but definitely not the least in the ‘Presenting Luxbag brands’ -serie is Céline - the London based fashion house run by Phoebe Philo.
Céline was founded in Paris way back in 1945, first as a custom shoe shop for children, and then in 1969 as a ready-to-wear brand founded by The Vipianas. Céline has come a long way since then.
In the 90′s Michael Kors revamped the brand and was one of the few Americans working in a French maison, dressing everyone from lunching ladies in NY to supermodel posing in C-logo jeans. When Phoebe Philo stepped in as the Creative Director in 2009, the direction of the brand changed completely. After her first collection for the brand, Phoebe Philo summed it up saying “everything we’re doing is about going forward”. Céline collections today offers the modern woman understated luxury, stripped-down sophistication and impeccable quality. They’re often inspired by contemporary arts (most likely an influence from Phoebe Philo’s art dealer husband) but most importantly by real women and their daily life.
Céline bags and shoes have been most likely the most talked about accessories of the few last seasons. Almost each one of the different bag styles have become so sought after that they fly out from our shop immediately they come in. Why? The brand is not for spectacle, it’s a brand for real life – but the magic lies in the work of a woman working for women.
As the sixth one in the ‘Presenting Luxbag brands’ -serie we want to introduce Fendi - the first family in Italian fashion.
The story of this fashion house, or Fendi Phenomen as it has been called, began in 1925 when Edoardo and Adele Fendi opened a small boutique in Rome, specialising in leather good and luggage with a small fur workshop in the back. The shop has since expanded to one of the biggest fashion houses in the world, perhaps because of the firm belive in the teamwork and talent within the family.
Even though working women were a rarity in the 30′s, the five daughters joined the business in the 30′s, bringing freshness to the new designs. The creative director of Fendi, Karl Lagerfelt described the girls as ‘the five fingers in a hand’ and he has been called “the sixth Fendi child,” as they been working together so closely for decades now.
The farsighted Fendi sisters hired Lagerfelt to be a designer in 1965, only to found themselves completely in love with his work. He was using unseen methods to dye and cut fur. He even launched a term ‘Fur Fun’ which later became the double F logo of the house.
The sisters have always been ahead of their game. In 1977 Fendi found a groundbreaking way to show their new collection – film! The film which was shot around historical fountains of Rome, ‘Histoire d’Eau’ is considered to be the first fashion film ever made.
In the 90′s Fendi launched menswear collection and also welcomed more familymembers to join the company; Anna Fendi’s daughter, Silvia, who designed the ‘Baguette’ bag (which fits snugly under the arm like a loaf of bread). This particular bag became an icon, a cult accessory and created the phenomen of “it-bags”. She also designed another iconic bag, the ‘Peekaboo’. Both are still bestsellers and favorites among women around the globe.
Fendi has always been serious about being a family business producing high quality leather and fur products but the actual designs has never been for the most serious of us – the brand is bold, extravagant and full of surprises. A good example is year 2007 when Fendi did came up with another groundbreaking way of showing the collection – they held a fashion show in the Great Wall of China! Giant F-logos were projected onto the surrounding mountains and the event was in works for a year. The whole thing was build around the Chinese lucky number 8: 88 models walking on a 88 metres long catwalk. Not only this was the first ever fashion show held in the Great Wall of China, it was also the first fashion show visible from the Moon!
The house of Givenchy was founded in 1952 by designer Hubert de Givenchy and is a member of Chambre Syndicale de la Haute Couture et du Pret-a-Porter. Hubert de Givenchy was known for his modern, ladylike styles, which earned him many loyal clients.
In 1960, he founded his own luxury house and launched his first own collection which was praised by Vogue and New York Times among many others. And like that, in one night, Hubert de Givenchy became one of fashion’s most famous children with his first collection.
In 1954, Hubert de Givenchy presented the first shirt dress (which later evolved in to a sack dress later in the fifties). He was the first high fashion designer to create a luxury ready-to-wear clothing line, called Givenchy Université, which was produced in Paris using machinery imported from the United States.
Hubert diversified the range to menswear in 1969, the fashion line for men was called Gentleman Givenchy. He also designed shoes, jewellery, ties, tableware, upholstery and kimonos. Passionate about decoration and interior design, Hubert de Givenchy was chosen to design the interior of Hilton hotels around the world, and even a car (the Ford Mark).
The most famous ambassador of the brand was Audrey Hepburn. Beginning as a client, she became the muse of the house for forty years. In 1961, Audrey Hepburn wore the famous “small black dress” in film Breakfast at Tiffany’s – soon the whole world knew about Givenchy.
The creative director of the house today is Riccardo Tisci, who has been pushing his vision since 2005. Riccardo Tisci has conserved the aristocrat elegance and the architectural lines of the house by influencing his style. By changing the house codes, Riccardo Tisci adds dark and sensual romanticism touch to the collections. He designes a structured and graphic silhouette, adds flashy colours and prints. Oh the prints! Oh the accessories!
The fourth brand we want to introduce in the ‘Presenting Luxbag brands’ -serie is Valextra. This Italian luxury leather good and accessories house is based in Milan, Italy. The name is a combination of valigia (= the Italian word for suitcase) and extra (= first class). Valextra. Makes total sense!
The Valextra brand was founded in 1937 by Fontana brothers and from the beginning, Valextra specialized in creating luggage, handbags and accessories from exotic animal hides such as alligator, hippopotamus and elephant skins.
Valextra was founded around the time when air travel was, forgive the pun, taking off. The Fontana brothers took inspiration from the impressive feat of flight and its aura of luxury as Eero Saarninen would later in his TWA terminal. The Avietta bag, which has now become a signature of the collection, was born during this epoch. Beyond luggage, the structured lines and understated quality of Valextra handbags and briefcases have proved to possess enduring appeal. Fans past and present include Jackie O, Grace Kelly, Katie Holmes…
From the beginning, Valextra’s designs have been handmade in Italy (still are!) and also modernist and unornamented. Valextra has a reputation for being aesthetically minimalist and discreet – the logo is seldom visible on the outside on of the leather goods. The collections can be described as elegant and understated.
Valextra made a name for itself initially with a forward-thinking approach to fashion but perhaps its allure today can be connected to its resistance to change from that base which was laid. At Valextra they believe in preserving the quality they have become known for.
V is for Valextra!
The third brand in the ‘Presenting Luxbag brands’ -serie is Lanvin - the oldest fashion house in Paris, celebrating its 125th anniversary this year.
Jeanne Lanvin designed the hats of the most fashionable Parisiennes in the 1880′s and the success of her creations lead her to found a fashion house on the corner of Rue Boissy D’Anglas and Rue du Fabourg Saint-Honoré where the headquarters are located still today.
Few years later her first daughter Marguerite Marie Blance was born and inspired with motherhood, Madame Lanvin created a beautiful wardrobe for her little daughter. Her shop’s customers, other mothers in the same private class loved the designs and were asking Jeanne to make the same outfits for their own children as well. Jeanne Lanvin had just invented children’s fashion.
In 1923 another line ‘Lanvin Sport’ was introduced.
Sports were becoming more popular and the line featured simple yet imaginative ski, golf, tennis attires and bathing suits. Comfort became synonymous with elegance. From wedding dress to ski pants, “Madame” as she was known by her staff, designed a wardrobe for each moment in woman’s life.
Few years later this visionary woman created tailor-shirtmaker range, making Lanvin the only fashion house at the time to offer both men’s and women’s collection.
Despite being a head of her time in the business world, she was also one of the most influential designers of the 1920s and 1930s and her skillful use of intricate trimmings, embroideries and beaded decorations in clear, light, floral colors became a Lanvin trademark.
This legacy still lives on in the collections by the current designer Alber Elbaz who knows so well how to transform clothes from merely being ‘clothes’ and into something magical.
Monsieur Elbaz himself put it well: “Fashion is not about buying a second skin. Fashion is about having a fantasy.”
Daria Werbowy by Steven Klein for Balenciaga Spring/Summer 2014 Campaign
Second brand we want to introduce in the ‘Presenting Luxbag brands’ -serie is Balenciaga, another fashion house rising from Spain. The house was founded on 1918 by Cristóbal Balenciaga, who was referred as ‘the master of us all’ by no other than Christian Dior himself. Balenciaga’s clientele expanded from the Spanish royal family and aristocrats to Parisians and then to the rest of the world after his move to Paris in 1937. He opened a shop in Avenue George V, where it’s located still today.
Balenciaga’s work was highly innovative and revolutionary – in the 1950′s he completely transformed womenswear removing the waist and broadening the shoulders. His manipulation of the waist is considered to be his most important contribution to the world of fashion: a new silhouette for women. Needless to say, his designs became highly sought-after and customers even risked their safety to travel to Europe during World War II to see Balenciaga clothing!
In 1997, Nicholas Ghesquière, the former Creative Director of the house, was appointed to take over the role in the tender age of 25. His work turned Balenciaga back into a critically acclaimed fashion house. Ghesquière’s devotion and respect for Cristóbal Balenciaga’s original design concepts combined with the modern and avant-garde vision is embodied in his collections, which will remain in the fashion history to play an important role representing the specific era.
In 2013 American designer Alexander Wang was appointed as the Creative Director for the house. His first collection shown in Paris Fashion Week was modern, minimalistic yet wearable. He won the audience and the critics over. Yet, when you think of Balenciaga, you immediately think of bags! The new bag collection, called Le Dix, is modern timelessness in it’s purest form.
Loewe’s story began when Madrid was preparing for two royal marriages, that of Her Majesty Isabel II of Bourbon to the Duke of Cadiz and that of the Princess Maria Luisa Fernanda to the Duke of Montpensier. A group of Spanish craftsmen opened a leather goods workshop but was in 1872 when Enrique Roessberg Loewe, a German craftsman specialized in leather working, joined the group and decided to establish the brand. Together the men formed a dream team as mr. Loewe brought his precision and technique and Spain its sensuality, creativity and peerless expertise in leather. In 1905, Loewe became “Official Supplier to the Spanish Royal Crown”.
The luxury leather house is known for their an exceptional craftsmanship combined with purity and lightness. All the bags are produced in Spain by the leather artisans who are able to create super-soft unlined bags where the interior is as perfect as the exterior.
The house Anagram logo is created by Vicente Vela. Its consisting of four Ls – to be known as “the crab”. Few years after that, in 1975 The Amazona appears — an unlined suede bag designed by Dario Rossi and stamped with the company’s four-Ls Anagram insignia. The iconic bag celebrated its 35th anniversary in 2013 with colourful reworks by Stuart Vevers, the former Creative Director.
In 2013 Loewe appoints Jonathan Anderson as Creative Director. The Irish-born darling of London Fashion Week, is the founder and designer of J.W. Anderson, a fashion label carrying his own name. Anderson said: “LVMH has the resources and expertise in sharp, modern luxury and I believe we can work together to create something new” and got us really excited of the new season!
The last question: how to say Loewe? The answer is “low-ay-ve”.
Since 2008, Luxbag Helsinki has been a destination for women’s luxury accessories from the recent collections of renowed international fashion houses. We are excited to announce that in February 2014 new Luxbag Helsinki store will open its doors in the most prestigious shopping street in Helsinki, expanding the brandlist and selection from solely accessories to women’s ready-to-wear and shoes!
The strong brandlist of Luxbag Helsinki consists an unique mix of iconic and cutting-edge high fashion labels:
Céline, Balenciaga, Givenchy, Lanvin, Fendi, Loewe and Valextra.
We are dedicated to offering a well-curated, visionary range of timeless yet modern products and always a first class shopping experience in the eclectic space designed by the talented interior architect Esa Vesmanen.
BAGS, WOMENSWEAR AND SHOES
Céline, Balenciaga, Givenchy, Lanvin & Fendi
Céline, Balenciaga, Givenchy, Lanvin, Fendi, Loewe & Valextra
Pohjoisesplanadi 25-27 00100 Helsinki, Finland
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