This season’s hottest It bags aren’t from a celebrated European fashion house. They haven’t been carried in public by Gwyneth Paltrow, Kate Moss or Alexa Chung (yet, anyway). Save for a so-tiny-you-might-miss-it gold stamp, they carry no logo. And best of all, they won’t set you back four figures—that is, if you can find some that are actually in stock.
Rachel Mansur and Floriana Gavriel, the designers behind the exotic-sounding Mansur Gavriel label, launched their first collection of bags this past summer—and before long, industry insiders like Fashionista’s Lauren Sherman, VOGUE‘s Chioma Nnadi and our own Laurel Pantin were swinging the sleek and simple styles on their arms. Moreover, by the time July rolled around, it was near impossible to find either of MG’s two primary styles, the bucket bag and classic tote, in stores: a clear indication that the design duo had a hit on their hands. Just after fashion week wrapped last week, I emailed Mansur and Gavriel to ask them how they first met, why they love a bright bag lining and how they plan to expand their brand in the months to come. Read on—and be sure to click through above for a closer look at Mansur Gavriel’s insanely covetable collection.
Lucky: First things first—when and where did you two meet, and how did you decide to team up on an accessories collection?
Rachel Mansur and Floriana Gavriel: We met in 2010 at a The xx concert in Los Angeles. We randomly started talking, and realized we had an acquaintance in common. We met the next day, and started collaborating almost immediately. At the time we worked long distance—I was in LA, Floriana was in Berlin. We found our individual aesthetics were very in tune, and we were both interested in building a brand from the ground up.
Did you know you wanted to focus on handbags from the get-go? Are there any plans to expand into other areas (shoes, ready-to-wear) in the future?
We approach design from a material perspective, so we initially developed the brand looking at beautiful, luxurious materials such as leather, cashmere, silk, cotton. We ended up focusing on leather, because we liked the idea of creating a three dimensional object that a woman would carry with her every day. We also liked the idea of something that has longevity and changes over times, which is an amazing quality of vegetable tanned leather—it’s meant to build up a patina caused by daily use, and darken in the sun. No specific plans yet for other areas, but we are very excited for new materials, shapes and colors for fall 2014!
Tell me a bit about your design and production process.
We design as a team and source inspiration from many different areas—plants, color, textiles, pattern, food, beautiful packaging. We begin by making prototypes and then many iterations of samples. We’re very interested in elegant details and high quality materials. The leather is from Tuscany, and the bags are made in Italy.
Your designs have been spotted all over NYFW on the arms of some of the industry’s most photographed folks. As a brand that hasn’t been around all that long, what’s it like having that sort of support within the fashion world?
We can’t express how flattered and happy we are that such elegant and tasteful women would choose to carry our bags. We’re very excited!
Your bags seem to sell out the moment they’re stocked! For our readers dying for a Mansur Gavriel bag of their own—and I’m sure there are many—where are some of the lesser-known places they could try?
The buckets do sell out very quickly—typically within days of the stores receiving them. For those looking for the raw bucket bag, Steven Alan will have more in late October. For the black flamma bucket specifically, Nicole Kwon in Dallas is now accepting pre-orders.
Colorful linings seem to be one of your trademarks. Why’d you choose to use them?
We love the idea of classic on the outside, and an emotion, or pop, on the inside. The different colors provide a range of different vibes, whether it be bright and happy, soft and pretty or sleek and cool.
So far, you’ve tackled totes, zip wallets and bucket bags. What shape(s) are you two dying to create next?
We’re sampling many different shapes for fall. We spend a lot of time perfect the proportions and details, so it’s hard for us to say which shapes will make the cut, but we’re very excited!
Us too! Finally, what do the two of you currently have in your Mansur Gavriel bags?
Rachel Mansur: The New Yorker, Diptyque perfume in Philosykos, Illesteva sunglasses, Japanese brand Yu-Be lip balm and NARS Lip Pencil in 413BLKR.
Floriana Gavriel: Clarins Eau Dynamisante, Ottica Marchesi sunglasses, Nars Lip Pencil in Red Square, coconut water and a copy of Marcel Duchamp: The Afternoon Interviews in paperback by Calvin Tomkins.