“These bags grow more beautiful with age, as customers breathe life into them,” says Naoyuki Komatsu, founder of Japanese leather goods label Ortus. A consummate craftsman, Komatsu learnt his trade from another Tokyo master craftsman – Yukihiro-san, founder of revered bag maker Fugee – before launching his own brand in 2012. His focus is bespoke, creating exquisite, hand-finished designs that meet the exacting specifications of discerning clients from Hong Kong to New York.
Each Ortus commission is an in-depth process that can take up to two years to complete. The small leather goods (from $2,500) – wallets, zippered pouches, as well as women’s purses, totes and duffels – can be cast in a colourful array of calf hides as well as exotic skins, but it is Komatsu’s briefcases (price on request, depending on what the client requires) that are most highly coveted. What sets them apart is their artful construction, made from a single piece of skin in a smooth, seamless silhouette with a stylish brass bar clasp folding neatly over the handle. In crocodile skin ($25,000, available from The Armoury; see below), it is the ultimate business accessory, with handles and closures measured for perfect fit and comfort.
For those in the market for something rather more traditional, Komatsu’s classic signature models, such as the fold-over Malva or the hard-sided attaché Medlar, can also be made to order. Tanned and stamped hides in varying weights from England, Italy, Germany and India are all on offer, and in colours ranging from understated beige and black to brilliant shades of cerulean blue, fuchsia and emerald green. Contrasting trims and clasps are chosen before the interior specifications – pockets, cardholders and storage space for phones and devices – are organised.