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.
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.