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Oct 2016

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Posts Tagged ‘Luxury’

Guy Chanel: The One-Man Luxury Brand

leather-pouch

When Oprah got snubbed by Hermès a few years ago she should have immediately rung Chanel. Not Chanel, as in Coco Chanel, but Guy Chanel (yes, you heard me right).

Guy Chanel is a lone ranger on the high plains of fashion and home accessories. Working alone out of his atelier on the outskirts of Paris, he handcrafts a variety of one-of-a-kind designs using leather, crocodile, ostrich and other fine skins.

Guy-Chanel-Portrait

From saddles, handbags and wallets to belts, briefcases and even lamps, every Chanel creation is made-to-measure and constructed by hand using artisanal tools and techniques (ask him to show you the giant wooden tweezer he uses to hold small things in place when he sews).

By keeping production slow and steady, his solo operation turns out discreet, logo-less products of unparalleled quality and detail that are built to last several lifetimes.

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Esquivel: Putting the Kick-Ass in Artisanal Shoes

esquivel-shoes-legs

Since all of Paris closes shop in August, I’ll be posting “by appointment” discoveries made during my summertime travels back home in the USA this month.  Hope you enjoy this special summer edition with content from New York and Los Angeles.

Custom. Handmade. Shoes. Say those three words aloud and your mind hops a plane to the fashion capitals of Europe where couture cobbling has been celebrated for centuries. But don’t buy your brain’s tickets just so fast… The special new stomping ground for original, handcrafted shoes is neither in Paris, London or Milan, but in a back alley, by appointment shop in none other than Los Angeles!

garden-tables

Over the last fifteen years Southern California native Georges Esquivel—whose men’s and women’s shoe brand Esquivel Shoes was recently announced as one of the 2009 CFDA/Vogue Fashion Fund finalists—has built a mini shoe empire to rival Europe’s leading luxury labels. The best part of all, it happened entirely by chance (ahh, you gotta love America!).

handmade-shoe-mold

Years before “artisanal” became a marketing buzzword, Esquivel was reworking vintage clothes for his SoCal musician friends. An unexpected jaunt to a cobbler in Mexico spawned his first pair of custom shoes. His friends went wild and started clamoring for their own pairs. Before long Esquivel found a seasoned shoemaker in L.A. to build his designs. To cut costs, Esquivel offered to help out around the shop. “He said, ‘sure, take out the trash,’” recalls Esquivel with a chuckle. “So I went from taking out the trash to organizing the shop and cutting leather. Two-and-a-half years later I knew how to make a pair of shoes.”

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Baby-Faced Cabinetmakers Redefine Their Craft

Avenel-christophe

It’s only my fourth post but I already have a confession to make (and no, it’s not about the cutie above).

One of the reasons why I’m doing this project is to satisfy my longstanding curiosity for people who pursue unusual professional paths. I have never been blessed (or cursed, perhaps?) with a burning career calling, but I am fascinated with those who are—especially when their shtick is super obscure.

Working as a journalist has served me well in this department. Interviewing someone is like having a giant question pass printed on your forehead. From challenging and quirky to just plain personal, you can ask your subject just about anything.

For me, the ultimate “jackpot conversation” is when I walk out of the experience with a juicy slice into someone’s life and a completely new window into the world.

That’s how I felt after my visit to Avenel L, a year-old workshop and design firm dedicated to the art of woodworking.

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