October 10 2010
It’s a tricky thing finding a “non-It” bag that’s distinctive enough to be noticed, yet nonchalant enough not to look as though it’s trying too hard; also important for me is that it will stand the test of time, both in styling and quality. Now I’ve found the very thing in the lovingly crafted form of Nivaldo de Lima’s range of hand-stitched bags.
There’s a sweet story behind these bags. When I worked on an interiors glossy a decade ago, I came across Louise Bobbé, who was an interiors and portrait photographer of some note and always had a brilliant eye for laidback luxe. Today she still works as an art photographer, but she’s mostly known as the commercial brains behind the leather line created by her Brazilian husband, Nivaldo de Lima. When the duo met and fell in love in 2002 he was making beautiful leather goods, but they lacked what Louise thought was a cosmopolitan, contemporary urban quality. So she joined his company as his creative director and partner, and now they live in wedded bliss between their home in north west London and their finca/workshop in Soller, Mallorca. They’ve also just opened a studio in west London.
So far I’ve succumbed to a chunky buffalo leather wallet (second picture, £95), which has that “just got back from a weekend in the Balearics” feel to it. De Lima makes iPad and iPhone cases (third picture), laptop cases and belts, too. But this season I’ve got my eye on what I think is the perfect “non-It” bag – the Ipé (first picture), a waxed finish buffalo leather buckle bag, £225, with plenty of luxe and just a perfect pinch of jaunt.