Captivating one-of-a-kind clutch bags

Retrovi revives traditional Cypriot lace and weaving to colourful effect

Fythkiotiko-weave Alice clutch, €530
Fythkiotiko-weave Alice clutch, €530

For over 600 years, Cypriot craftswomen have made tablecloths in Lefkaritiko lace and Fythkiotiko fabric, handweaving and hand-embroidering intricate patterns in myriad shapes and shades. Transferring these traditional techniques onto a range of very 21st-century clutches is Retrovi, a treasure trove of vivid artisan-made bags that makes for some visually pleasing January web browsing.

Lefkaritiko-lace Berengaria clutch, from €464
Lefkaritiko-lace Berengaria clutch, from €464
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Created by Cypriot co-founders Myrna Demetriou Pattichis and Myrto Fereou, the one-of-a-kind clutches come in clean, contemporary shapes and conjure up summer-holiday vibes and azure-blue skies. The Berengaria (from €464) – a neat bag (28cm x 16cm) with a magnetic closure that comes in both lace and woven variations – is named after a 12th-century queen of Cyprus and is available in a plethora of appealing patterns and shades, such as Fythkiotiko peratikoudin, which weaves red, purple, fuchsia and metallic turquoise yarns into diamond shapes over a silk-blend lining in red and purple.

Traditional Lefkaritiko lace making
Traditional Lefkaritiko lace making
Fythkiotiko weaving
Fythkiotiko weaving

Other designs also allude to Cyprus’s royal past, including Alice of Champagne, who has inspired a slightly larger design (36cm x 17cm, €530) with a concertinaed edge, and Caterina Cornaro, whose name is given to a taller clutch (29cm x 20cm, €530). And the bags’ popularity is spreading not just online, but also across the southern Mediterranean, with many Retrovi designs available at the sleek Amanzoe resort on Greece’s Peloponnese.

Lefkaritiko-lace Cornaro clutch, €530
Lefkaritiko-lace Cornaro clutch, €530
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