left, Mansur Gavriel bucket bag, Floriana Gavriel
and Rachel Mansur and a backpack from the label.
With sleek bucket bags, totes and backpacks priced
from $460 to $950, Mansur Gavriel is targeting
women who want low-key luxe and value without
overt logos or labeling. And it's working.
YORK ó Never mind the Fendi 2Jours, Givenchy Antigona
and Saint Laurent Sac de Jour. One of the fall seasonís
hardest-to-get handbags tops out at less than four
figures. Much less.
sleek bucket bags, totes and backpacks priced from $460
to $950, Mansur Gavriel is targeting women who want
low-key luxe and value without overt logos or labeling.
And itís working.
launching in April 2012, the anti-"it" bags
have spawned waiting lists, sold-out notifications and
insane EBay markups.
brand was founded by Rachel Mansur and Floriana Gavriel,
two friends who met in 2010 at an xx concert in Los
had never owned a designer bag," says Mansur.
"Even as a young teenager, I wondered why there
wasnít a bag for me that I wouldnít be embarrassed
of because I spent $1,000 or $2,000 on it."
women had backgrounds in design. Gavriel had worked as a
designer for Lanvin in Paris. And Mansur studied textile
design at Rhode Island School of Design before starting
work at an Internet startup in L.A. They bonded over an
early-morning trip to the Flower Mart in downtown L.A.
just clicked. We had something aesthetically in
common," said Gavriel during a visit to the labelís
New York showroom.
a business idea was hatched.
liked the idea of working in a template that was iconic,
whether that was a bag or a trench coat, and expressing
emotion through material quality and color," says
decided to launch a handbag line with two simple styles,
a bucket bag and tote, both of which have a spare,
Minimalist appeal not unlike designer Bonnie Cashinís
original designs for Coach in the 1960s.
initial concept for Mansur Gavriel was influenced by the
L.A. lifestyle, they say. "We wanted a certain ease
and liked the idea of lifestyle being inspired by nature
in its purest form," says Mansur. "It was
about putting material quality before everything
starting point was a natural-looking, vegetable-tanned
leather. "It builds up this surface and texture as
you use it and kind of ages with you," Mansur says.
"We just fell in love with it."
spending several months developing samples, they moved
to New York to open the business. The bags are made in
styles came in a blanched "camello" natural
brown hue or in black, with a contrasting color
patent-leather interior coating. They have since added
white, powder pink, red, royal and navy blue bags, and
expanded the interior colors to include metallic silver,
gold and pewter, and brights such as vivid orange, royal
blue and pink.
is no recognizable branding on the bags, save for the
name "Mansur Gavriel" written in discreet,
tiny gold lettering at the bottom of one side.
lot of our decisions are based on squeezing as much
quality out of an accessible price point as we
can," says Mansur.
donít have a lining or hardware. Those things add
up," Gavriel adds.
first retailer to pick up the collection was Steven
Alan, and L.A.ís Jenni Kayne boutiques followed soon
after. Now, Mansur Gavriel is also sold at Barneys New
York, Bergdorf Goodman and Net-a-Porter.
for fall, theyíve introduced their first backpack, as
well as a mini bucket bag.
biggest problem is satisfying demand. "We feel bad
when people are frustrated. But the truth is, itís
growing faster than we can keep up," says Mansur.
"Our production capacity is increasing, but we donít
want to go overboard."
two partners started e-commerce sales on their website
in August, and already many of the styles, including the
popular black bucket with red interior, are sold out
may look simple, but they take 40 steps to make, so they
have to be made with a lot of care and time," says
the future, they envision the Mansur Gavriel world
definitely want to add other products," says Mansur.
"Weíre reluctant to say what, because the
sampling process is so important, and it took us two
years to develop the bags. But we want to build a world
where we offer many different things, perfected. I hate
to say Ďback to basicsí because thatís so on trend
right now, but itís true."