Connolly’s butter-soft new bags

A top style blogger singles out three brilliant man bags in Mayfair

Tote bag, £1,000
Tote bag, £1,000

Ever since Connolly reopened on Mayfair’s Clifford Street last year, existing and new customers alike have been wondering how the collection would evolve.

Connolly was in many ways the defining shop of the 1990s in London, but it was best known for bringing great European brands to the UK for the first time: Car Shoe, Charvet, even Loro Piana.

Now that the majority of the shop’s collections are designed in-house – rather than being curated and bought in – it’s interesting to see how those soft-luxe instincts have translated.

Holdall, £1,400
Holdall, £1,400

So far there have been unisex suits, drapey silk shirts, chunky knitwear and suede driving jackets. A great range of products, and all with an aesthetic that is both familiar and distinct. Luxury, perhaps, the Connolly way.

Leather was the company’s heritage, having supplied car interiors to everyone from Ferrari to Rolls-Royce, so it was particularly intriguing to see how this range developed.

Three new pieces – all in sumptuous mushroom-coloured nubuck – show that combining a knowledge of fine construction with a soft, European sensibility can be highly effective.

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The most striking piece of the three is the tote bag (£1,000), largely because it is unlined and unstructured – giving the fullest demonstration of that beautiful leather. It folds down into nothing, has two long, practical handles, and a couple of useful internal pockets (one zipped).

The document bag (£1,700) is the most practical of the three, being the perfect size to carry to the office. It has a more solid form, but is still incredibly soft ­– making you want to hug it under the arm rather than use the handles. It also has clever gussets on either side, so that when fully opened the entire interior is accessible, but doesn’t collapse flat. Small touches like the way the corner reinforcements run perfectly around the side of the bag demonstrate a particular attention to detail.

The holdall (£1,400) is larger but in many ways simpler, with a single internal pocket and straps to keep overnight clothing in place. It is sized to be taken on a plane as hand luggage, as you would expect, and like the other two has lovely palladium hardware in the shape of rivets, reflecting Connolly’s driving heritage.

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All three also come in a blue leather (prices from £1,100), with other models of bag and case available in more English bridle hide (prices from £1,500).

Simon Crompton is a men’s style writer and consultant. He is the founder of the award-winning website Permanent Style and author of Le Snob Guide to Tailoring (Hardie Grant Books, £8.99) and The Finest Menswear in the World (Thames & Hudson, £24.95). To read more of his columns, click here.

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