June 25 2013
Lucia van der Post
Wheelies used to be considered somewhat naff. I suppose the implication was that they were only of interest to those poor souls who had to carry their own luggage. But, these days, even the swankiest suitcases come with wheels.
There’s an attractive retro-glamour character to the Irish brand Steamline Luggage. It’s working a very consciously vintage vibe, and working it very well, and every sizeable piece comes equipped with wheels. The cases all remind one of the golden age of travel, of steam engines and ocean liners, but the designs have been modernised for 21st-century needs.
Made from light fibreboard, some designs are covered in recycled leather, as in the Diplomat range (example in first picture, on right, £369), while others, such as the sky-blue Correspondent series, have leather straps and corners as well as combination locks. There are five classic ranges with a decent variety of sizes and shapes.
Then there’s the new Kate Spade collection, which is built around a classic white frame, with bright orange and lime-green leather handles and a typically colourful lining. The elegant New Yorker carry-on (second picture) is £550.
With Lulu Guinness’s typically kitsch Lips collection of three spinner suitcases, you’ll have no trouble identifying your luggage. Each of the sizes (55cm, £195; 61cm, £225; 71cm, £245) is made from a shell case adorned with moulded “lips” and comes in shocking pink, flame orange or black cherry (first picture, on left, £225). All are fully padded with lovely striped linings, have metal hardware and a push-button trolley system with four 360° spinning wheels.
Meanwhile, on a much more sober note, if you haven’t caught up with the dangers of RFID (Radio Frequency Identification) hacking, which enables criminals to skim personal information, such as credit-card numbers, from wallets, suitcases and clothing to commit identity fraud, it’s time you did.
The good news is that smart luggage designer Tumi has come up with a solution. Its Ticon collection of wallets, briefcases, carry-ons (example in third picture, £795) and backpacks are all lined with a material that blocks the transmission of RFID signals, keeping your documents safe. The Ticon collection starts at £75 for a card case, £135 for the Double Billfold wallet, £595 for the Zip-Top briefcase and £1,495 for the International Zipper carry-on. There’s also a tote bag for £395 that’s handy for carrying a paperback, passport and toiletries. It comes in white, black, fuchsia or sandy leather, and has inner and outer pockets that are protected from RFID hacking.