The art of weaving has been around for thousands of years. Typically straw, rattan or wicker were used to create a variety of practical and functional baskets and bags. Weaving leather has been around for a long time too and in recent years has become a very desirable option. Cutting the leather into strips and then weaving it back into a workable leather sheet doesn't necessarily add any more strength to it but what it does do is make it lighter, more flexible and to many, it adds another dimension that enhances the look and feel of the leather.
It was the Italian brand Bottega Veneta that has made the woven leather bag the desirable fashion item that it is today. It is said that the technique called ‘intrecciato’ was developed more as a happy accident because their sewing machines were better suited for cloth rather than leather which meant that they had to use very finest of leathers but in order to give it added durability they decided to weave the leather. Whatever the truth is, this attractive look became very popular and the company embraced it and it quickly became their iconic style.
When you buy a luxury woven leather bag, you're not only getting a beautifully crafted item that you'll enjoy for years to come, you're also investing in something that has been lovingly handcrafted by skilled artisans who have spent years learning this age old craft. Each individual bag can take many hours to make and the end result can equate to a work of art.
Woven bags can come in all shapes and sizes. The style that instantly comes to most people's minds is a slouchy hobo bucket bag because of it's soft and flexible texture which lends itself to this style of bag. It's such a practical option because it's not only lightweight but also it's suppleness allows it more readily mould to the shape of your body which means it's easier on your shoulder and it doesn't dig in to your body when carrying it. Perfect for everyday and a shopping trip.
Here are some stunning examples from Ghibli and Paolo Masi who are both based in Tuscany. You will also notice a difference in the weaves between the standard and optical. The optical effect is created by using different thickness of leather to create an symmetrical pattern. Also the Paolo Masi options use a washed leather which gives the bag a relaxed look.
However, it can just as easily be used on a more structured bag. Take a look at these examples from Fontanelli, a small family run brand from Florence. These bags are of the highest quality and are perhaps more suited to a more formal occasion or business setting.
The Venetian based brand Bruno Parise are offering a very attractive variant to the standard leather weave. Their collection has been created by weaving leather and strong cotton thread together to create a very even and attractive finish. It is a technique that was developed by the founder Bruno using his lifetime experience in the knitwear industry. This very original weave is all produced on an adapted 18th century loom and the resulting bags are simply stunning.
To create these bags is undoubtedly very labour intensive which is obviously reflected in the price. However, when you consider that these luxurious timeless pieces are a thing of beauty that will become your go to, everyday bag, it surely has to be worth it.