Renaissance luxury, British design – Quentin Mackay & Safor

by Katie on March 27, 2010


I’m like most women. I won’t ever pass up the opportunity of a new bag or killer heels and the more exclusive and expensive the better. Unfortunately, these extravagant purchases rest mostly in my imagination and the forthcoming expected tax rebate is far more likely to be spent on my mortgage payment rather than the Chanel 2.55 that I’ve long promised myself.


To rub salt further in the open wound of wanton handbag consumerism, I tripped along to see the Autumn Winter 2010 collection by Quentin Mackay, ex Central St Martiin’s School of Art and luminary of both Loewe and Tanner Krolle. With a pedigree in luxury leather products, Mackay has a depth of experience, design and construction that can rival the best and is as enthusiastic as he is a thorough. Each of the designer’s bags in crafted by hand in Tuscany and imbues a level of quality often sadly lacking in today’s pricey yet undeserving raft of designer handbags.

His careful selection of luxurious and singular skins sets him apart from other designers, using a variety of different leathers from mirrored, metallic calfskin to hand sponged water buffalo for A/W 2010 and oh, how these products will set you apart from the mass of samey IT bags out there.

This season’s collection is comprised of two distinct lines – The Ball & Claw and The Showgirl, each equally as mouthwateringly desirable as each other with each bag carrying a distinct number to mark their singular identity. The distinct Ball & Claw that has become Mackay’s logo and is inspired by the bold claw feet on his grandmother’s old sewing machine, is featured in four bag styles: The Persia which is a classic day bag and Mackay’s hero product, The Jeannie which is a more casual, slouchy shoulder style with an extendable shoulder strap and The Delphine and Daphne, both of which are day-to-night baguette shoulder bags, in tactile soft ‘sugar wool’ fabric look suede and embellished with Swarovski crystals. The Showgirl line is forward thinking in the extreme – focusing on using innovative, technical materials in unexpected ways and includes ‘The Can Can’ which has carbon fibre handles and features Mackay’s family tartan on glossy, black patent leather.

Safor is another new British independent designer and online retailer of exquisitely made designer handbags and leather goods which, like Quentin Mackay’s lines, are hand crafted in Tuscany, using the finest leather and exotic skins. Safor (or Sarah Forsyth) worked in the London fashion industry before upping sticks and relocating to Florence. Once there, she was immediately inspired and undertook an advanced study in handbag design and production which resulted in her Safor line of bespoke and limited edition designs. These are a boon to the industry as quirky London style meets fine artisan Tuscan production.

Vivid colours merge with exotic materials in Safor’s range and features the wonderful Mary Rose bag in python which ages delectably and is roomy for everyday as well as evening use while the feather Eva bag is a ‘notice me’ bag, tactile and tempting. The Katherine Louise clutch is made of smooth skin python with fine suede linings in brilliant purple or turquoise. There’s even a huge tan, top of the line, ‘yummy mummy’ bag filled with extensive accoutrements required by new (Notting Hill type) mums – leather bottle holders, cashmere baby mats and lots of rip open space to stuff away baby fodder in the ultimate stylish hold-all. If you remove the baby bits, this would even make the perfect business woman’s carry all for iPhone, Crackberry, Netbook and various A4folders…that’s more my style. Says Sarah Forsyth, “I think my designs appeal to a modern woman who like high end products but who loves classic, beautiful things that can become part of her life which she can hold dear. She definitely has an appreciation for style and substance.” Mrs Thatcher is a Safor client, but please don’t let that put you off…this range deserves to bought by the sophisticated and international girl about town.

Make no mistake, these talented designers make quality products reeking of opulence, renaissance luxury and craftsmanship and like a puppy at Christmas, these bags are for life. Salute the maverick Brit handbag designers who know luxe design and watch out for them.

Featured products above are the classic Persia Mini in smooth buffalo tan(£1595) and the slouchy Jeannie in python naturelle (£2700). Quentin Mackay A/W 2010 range will be available at www.quentinmackay.com, Harvey Nichols and selected boutiques internationally.


Safor’s products are available from www.safor.co.uk. Featured products are the Eva and Mary Rose handbags. Prices are respectively £680 and £914.

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gucci wholesale December 20, 2010 at 7:30 am

Hi,i’m from Italy and i love to discover new blogs and sites. Thanks for your articles. To Your Success

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