Huffpost UK Style uk
The Blog

Featuring fresh takes and real-time analysis from HuffPost's signature lineup of contributors

Eleanor Doughty Headshot

Simplicity Sells: Bill Amberg

Posted: Updated:
Print Article

The handbag is a very special thing. The perfect leather is required for the job at hand, the size an art to perfect, and the fastening is nothing but the third stage of precision difficulty on the path of handbag Eden. A question of pockets is high in my mind, the black hole of the section-free, pouchless bag proves undeniably awkward - and often panic-stricken - in moments when whatever it is you so desire has escaped your manicured clutches. In an organisational dream world, we all have Anya Hindmarch pouches, sleekly slotted into whatever size bag, for every occasion. There's a loose pocket for receipts, for the iPod, the painkillers; name it, and you can have it. With this comes an element of excitement, the primly arranged bag - no black holes here - joins with the neat wallet and separate coin purse, the key pouch and monogrammed iPhone case. It's both the best and worst depiction of my ideal world.

What do you want from a handbag? My look du jour is streamlined; I'm trialing mini bags, shoulder bags and clutches. Sounds like twenty-first century sensibility until you try and visit more than one location. I'm always on the look out for more pieces to keep me hands free, or my hands full of something exceedingly beautiful. While a parallel ideal world scenario includes a Celine turnover clutch - and the nonchalance to just carry it - the reality comes less easily. Criteria for a new find largely include the down-to-earth nature of the label itself. Branding is brash, crass and very nineties; the iconic Mulberry tree is now too iconic, the Vuitton initial has lost any sense of chic for me. And I just can't be dealing with too much hardware. Aside from anything else, it makes travelling a nightmare and I'm terrified of being unduly felt up. Clearly, I'm not picky. But with big purchases comes even larger responsibility. Bags have far more idealised conditions than shoes.

2013-03-06-BillAmberg3.png

Pale pink rucksack, £395

Upon the discovery of Bill Amberg - East London based leather workman, and creator of simplicity dreams - I might just have been a little excited. The pink rucksack really swung it. There's a wholeness about Amberg's wares, the homegrown and nourished brand that now operates from Mayfair's HISTORIC Shepherd Market. The leather craftsman's credentials are flawless - 1985 saw production of a line of bags for iconic department store Liberty, before a seven-year collaboration with Paul Smith, and an early-nineties calling to Donna Karan.

2013-03-06-BillAmberg1.png

Mini satchel, £295

And the bags. As Elizabeth Barrett Browning so famously put it, 'how do I love thee, let me count the ways' - the ways in which it possible to simply adore Amberg's Rivington bag are breaking banks. Referring to my prior criteria, I spy a subtle logo - tick - sensibly lengthy straps and a shoulder strap - tick. And let's not forget the main performer here, the coveted inner pockets - double tick! Exquisite, fine tailoring has bred leather goods that will, with use, tell a story. Your story, and that's exactly what your handbag should do. Bill Amberg also offers a fully bespoke service on all products, sophisticated monogramming, total customization and create-your-own individual pieces are all available, from weekend bags to iPhone cases. Truly a brand for the discerning shopper, a camp I now count myself in. Where can I sign up? Don't mind me, just sketching my embossing in the queue.

2013-03-06-BillAmberg4.png

Rivington bag, £495

Bill Amberg is available at billamberg.com or at Shepherd Market, Mayfair on 0207 499 0962.