Our recollections of early childhood (before the age of around five or six) are often scant, with only a few events, people or objects staying in our memories – and there is usually no particular reason why some things stick in our brains for life. So I can’t explain why the image of my late father’s pigskin overnight bag has seared itself onto my mind, even though it disappeared from the family home more than 40 years ago, never to be seen (in real life) again. As a boy, I loved that bag with its open pores from which wiry bristles once protruded, and I’d open it up for no other reason than to admire its orange silk lining and be met by a waft of cologne that must have escaped during some adventurous journey.
So when I discovered the Palissy weekend bag by Scandinavian leather house Carl Friedrik, I was instantly won over – for although it’s not made from pigskin or as workmanlike in appearance as the bag of my childhood memories, its shape, construction and dimensions appear to be almost identical.
I’ve since learned that the Carl Friedrik brand has been around since 2012 and sells online only – which helps to keep its truly beautifully crafted products reasonably priced, with the £495 Palissy having all the appearance of a piece costing twice as much. Put together in Italy using vegetable-tanned vachetta leather made in Florence and Naples, the bag is of a semi-rigid design that protects its contents from creasing or damage and, at 49cm wide, 25cm high and 24.5cm deep, it is large enough for weekending, yet small enough to take on an aircraft.
Unlike many such bags, it also has a really top-quality zip in the form of a heavy-duty, brushed and polished Raccagni that won’t jam, misalign or fall apart at the merest hint of a heavy load. Inside, meanwhile, there’s a zipped pocket and three open ones designed for wallets, passports and so on – and you also get a matching leather shoulder that attaches with a pair of seriously heavy-duty clips.
The icing on the cake of this delicious piece of luggage is the fact that not only can it be ordered in any one of five exterior colours with a range of custom cotton linings, it can also be personalised with the owner’s monogram or even enhanced with bespoke additions. I, however, am more than happy with my standard model – and especially enjoy travelling back in time whenever I pack it.