Luxe handbags in custom combinations of exotic skins and vintage silks

Maison Ravn creates unique embellished variations of a simple shape

When Norwegian designer Claudia Ravnbo founded Maison Ravn in 2015, she did so with the lofty goal of creating “the ultimate luxury bag”. Ravnbo approaches this almighty task with a mix of “exceptional expertise and precious fabrics” – and a focus on custom colourways and material combinations. An alumnus of Goldsmiths University and the Glasgow School of Art, Ravnbo “designs each bag like a painting”, scouring the globe for exceptional vintage fabrics – from Chinese 18th-century embroideries to Italian lace – and using them alongside the rarest exotic skins.

The results (from €5,250) are all handcrafted by artisans in Paris; each bag is one of a kind and numbered or named after its owner. Victoria no.9 (third picture), for example, is a fiery patchwork of red and black lizard and python skins, and Ottoman silk delicately stitched with 19th-century Chinese Xiang silk flowers; it is peppered with gold studs and finished with a red suede lining. Margot no.149 (first picture) is also particularly striking, with a graphic Fendi-esque zigzag mink panel set against monochromatic lizard and white python, juxtaposed with a 19th-century floral silk lining.

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The bags are all made in the same fold-over shape, with either a shoulder or cross-body strap. As well as selecting from three main sizes and a huge selection of skins and silks that can be worked into patterns and motifs, clients can add embellishments from a vast array of gold and silver studs, straps and padlocks – not to mention diamonds and precious stones, which can be inserted into most types of leather or hardware by a Genevan artisan. Adding lucky numbers into the design is also an increasingly popular request, as with a recent lizard on lizard design (second picture) that features the number eight inside.

To create a custom sac from scratch, design meetings with Ravnbo can be scheduled in Paris, New York, Miami, Dubai, Avignon or London. There is also a range of prêt-à-porter pieces, which will be showcased in her first boutique, in Paris, from January 2017.

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