Image: Ilan Rubin, NY
August 26 2010
Co-founded by Milan-born, New York-based architect and designer Emanuela Frattini Magnusson, Manù is a website touting her range of beautifully clean-cut leather accessories. These include capacious tote bags, wallets, document holders, luggage tags, key holders and bracelets.
“Their simple shapes are inspired by such utilitarian objects as straw baskets and New York’s brown paper shopping bags,” says Magnusson. Leather accessories run the danger of looking stuffy, but Manù’s wares, as a funky counterfoil to their understated shapes, often come in traffic-light-bright hues: sunshine yellow, emerald green and pillar-box red.
The jaunty pop palette shouldn’t detract from Manù’s commitment to quality: the products are made by craftspeople in New England with a long tradition of creating leather goods. “We want to support its tradition of hand-made craft,” says Magnusson.
These wares’ chic simplicity is mirrored by the clarity of the website: items come under three groupings only – small, medium and large. Dinkier pieces, such as a business-card holder ($45) and pocket-mirror case ($50), come in the juiciest shades of purple, green and yellow. Medium-sized pieces, such as a writing folio with an old-fashioned scholastic look ($300), come in more classical shades such as chocolate brown or air-force blue. Bigger items – a leather messenger bag ($1,200) or large shoulder bag ($890), say – range in colour from buttermilk to lemon yellow.
“Manù defines luxury in terms of stylish individuality, not ostentation or label snobbery,” says Magnusson. Certainly, the fact that its goods can be customised in terms of colour – there is a multitude of hues to choose from – amply suggests that it promotes personal style over and above fleeting fashion.