Haute Maroquinerie, high leathergoods… objects of desire, the pinnacle of Louis Vuitton’s craftsmanship and the ultimate shopping experience. This exclusive service allows every woman to create a unique bag of her own, by choosing the style, the leather and the color according to her preference. Understated elegance. Perfect for the most discerning, for the leather connoisseurs.
Only a handful of Louis Vuitton stores offer this service. But luckily, the Haute Maroquinerie is touring around the world giving women a chance to experience the service without having to travel abroad to the Haute Maroquinerie salons. The Haute Maroquinerie caravan is currently in Manila at the Louis Vuitton Greenbelt 4 store in Makati City.
I was invited by Louis Vuitton Philippines to see and experience the Haute Maroquinerie service. And here’s what happened.
Step 1: The Shapes
The Haute Maroquinerie private customization session takes place at the VIP Salon. Upon entering, clients are offered a gorgeous Louis Vuitton canapé and dessert set prepared by Chef Colin Mackay of Sala Restaurant. The customization session begins with the client choosing from five different shapes inspired by the Maison’s most iconic pieces; Lockit, Triangle, Noé, Néo-Steamer (Trapèze) and Milaris (Berlingot).
Sac Lockit – Closed or even padlocked, yes, but nonetheless open to the winds of modernity. Created in 1958, the curved lines, like a taut architectural sketch, translated into instant success for this bag. Time has brought volume and suppleness to its impeccable appearance. Available in PM, MM and GM sizes.
Sac Triangle – This “work bag” was designed in 1934 to accompany women involved with needlework wherever they went. Renamed the Triangle in the 1980s, its originality has brought it back to the forefront.
Sac Noé – This chic bucket was named after the biblical character Noah. If ever there had been a flood, it would have been one of Champagne. Created in 1932 to transport five bottles of the “divine brew”, this drawstring bag worn over the shoulder brings a dash of classicism to today’s elegant woman. Available in PM and GM sizes.
Sac Néo-Steamer (Trapèze) – Introduced in 2011, the bag’s mysterious shape hints at well-kept secrets. An exception to the rules of geometry, this bag shows off its originality with a casual elegance.
Sac Milaris (Berlingot) – It’s a craving. Gourmand and desirable, round and square, supple and roomy. Carried in the hand or slipped into the crook of the elbow, it opens wide to more easily accommodate all that you need for a day, a week or forever. Available in PM and GM sizes.
I chose the bi-color Milaris PM because of its supple and plump silhouette. It may look small on the outside but once opened, the interior space is very generous. Also, Milaris has a secret pocket, which adds a nice touch.
Step 2: The Leathers and Color
After deciding on the shape, Ms. Angela opened the Haute Maroquinerie trunk. Spread out in front of me were swatch books of the finest leathers I have ever seen, in a myriad of different colors ranging from neutrals to trendy brights.
The colors are divided into three families: Traditional LV Colors which features the signature House colors like Blanc, Blanc Cassé, Gris Souris, Taupe, Noir, Moka, Brun, Tabac and Caramel. Next are the Timeless Colors, which is a classical palette composed of Cassis, Violet, Iris Noir, Rouge, Bleu Marine, Bleu Océan, Bleu Canard and Bleu Azur. And last, the bright Vibrant Colors which include Vert Forèt, Kiwi, Pomme, Pistache, Ocre, Mandarine, Capucine, Grenade and Aubergine. Cognac is also available as an exclusive color for the Nomade leather.
The Haute Maroquinerie trunk that houses the leather and hardware swatches.
The leathers divided into three groups of colors.
Veau Ecorce swatch book.
The exceptional leathers are broken down into three distinct groups. Supple Calf Leathers, Firm Leathers, and Exotic Leathers.
The Supple calf leathers were unbelievably soft with varying differences in thickness and the size of the grain. Veau Ecorce has this very prominent grain which I adore. It’s the thickest of the 3 supple leathers and is suitable for both supple and structured bag shapes. Veau Bougie had a very fine full grain as the skins came from young calves and feature a waxed finish. It’s the supplest one out of the 3 Supple leathers and is suitable for supple bag shapes. And the Veau Soie, smooth as silk. It has very fine and elegant texture, underlining the transparency of the skin and the natural slight grain of the calf. It’s the smoothest of the 3 supple leathers, but it’s more prone to surface scratches.
The Firm leathers. Chèvre Frisson, a goatskin, sourced from India has an outstanding strong grain as a result of a hand massage graining process, wrinkle is regular. It’s the only goat leather at Louis Vuitton and is both structured and relaxed for a very elegant frequent use. Chèvre Frisson comes in 8 colors: Blanc, Gris Souris, Noir, Moka, Kiwi, Grenade, Rouge and Bleu Marine.
Another Firm leather is the Nomade cowhide leather. It has a natural, even and delicate grain. Vegetal tanning was used to keep the total transparency of the skin. No additional coating was applied. Even in the darkest colors, all the natural characteristics of the leather are visible, each bag being unique. Some wrinkles may be visible on the surface of the skin as proof of authenticity. It only comes in dark earthy colors due to its vegetal tanning: Noir, Moka, Tabac, Iris Noir and Cognac.
The last of the Firm leathers is the Veau Box, made from young calf. It has a fine grain, with natural and very regular wrinkles. This leather has a brilliant sheen that gives it sophistication. It comes in 5 colors. Unfortunately, Box is not available in the collection at the moment.
Exotic crocodiliens swatch book.
The final leather group: the Exotics. The crocodiliens swatch book carries the most beautiful samples of crocodile leather in matte and brilliant finishes – both available in 16 colors.
For my bi-color Milaris, I chose the Veau Ecorce leather because I’m a big fan of textures. I wanted the bag to be light, calm and easy on the eyes so I chose Taupe for the front and back parts of the bag and Bleu Azur for the side gussets. The combination was so beautiful.
Doublures / lining swatch book.
After picking the exterior leather and colors, I was given a swatch book for the doublures or the lining. Haute Maroquinerie offers two interior leather options: goatskin or lambskin. Goatskin is a grained leather that is both supple and resistant; it is thicker than the lambskin lining and is recommended for a bag with character inside. Lambskin, on the other hand, is totally smooth, without marked grain. It’s as soft as silk, very buttery with a sensual and intimate feel. However, lambskin is extremely sensitive to scratches.
After touching and comparing the swatches, I had no second thought of choosing the lambskin. As for the interior leather color, I can only choose between the two exterior leather colors I picked earlier. I chose Bleu Azur. It made the interior look fresh and spacious.
Step 3: The Hardware
Next up is the hardware. There are two options available: gold and palladium. Discreetness is a key word for the Haute Maroquinerie collection. The hardware showcases a simple Louis Vuitton Paris engraved on the padlock. The LV Monogram is nowhere to be seen. I picked palladium hardware for my cool-colored Milaris.
Step 4: The Personalization
To make the bag truly yours, you will be given the option to add a personalization patch with your name (or name of your loved ones) that is heat-stamped on a piece of leather and will be sewn into the interior leather lining.
My very own Haute Maroquinerie handbag.
My bag was a Taupe and Bleu Azur bi-color Milaris PM in Veau Ecorce, with a Bleu Azur lambskin lining and Palladium hardware. I looked at my Milaris on the flat screen, admiring every angle. I was very happy with it!
After a 50% down payment, the order will then be sent to the Louis Vuitton workshops in Asnières, France. It will take between six months (for the Supple and Firm leather bags) and a year (for the Exotic bags) to be completed.
Haute Maroquinerie Caravan at Louis Vuitton Philippines
Haute Maroquinerie is by appointment only and the caravan is set to leave the country on the last week of February 2014. So if every you’re interested with the Haute Maroquinerie, call Louis Vuitton Philippines at (02) 756-0637 for inquiries on booking an appointment slot.
Thanks so much to Louis Vuitton Philippines PR Manager Daniela Fénix San Agustin, Louis Vuitton Philippines PR Assistant Mary Reyes, and Louis Vuitton Assistant Store Manager Angela Poblador-Antonio for this fun and memorable experience!
G/F Greenbelt 4
Tel.: (02) 756-0637