Bespoke Blog - Luxury Bespoke Products

The Atelier Approach

23 February 2016

Paraffection S.A. is the subsidiary of Chanel that was established in 1997 to preserve the heritage, craft and manufacturing skills of a group of highly skilled fashion artisans working in specialist ateliers located mainly in the Paris region.

By 2015, Paraffection had acquired twelve “Atelier d’Art” or workshops capable of providing the parent company Chanel with the specialized skills required to decorate and embellish its haute couture creations.

Atelier Goods

“The driving force behind our decision to take over these companies was affection,” insists Paraffection director Dominique Barbiery. Cleverly, the Paraffection investments have been marketed as a labor of love.

‘Paraffection’ loosely translates to mean ‘for the love of”. Mr Barbiery states that Chanel’s relationship with its satellite firms is to “protect, advise and assist” the firms, not gobble them up, merge them or take over their work.

This year Chanel will celebrate its 13th Métiers d’Art show an annual event to honor the fine craftsmanship that its artisan partners in the Paraffection group bring to the house’s collections. With a runway show that takes place outside the traditional fashion schedule, each year, Chanel turns to a different location to pay tribute to the workshops that provide the house with everything from lace to silver buttons and fine embroidery work. After Salzburg last year, Dallas in 2013, Edinburgh in 2012 and previous shows in Mumbai and New York, Chanel headed to Rome for last season’s Métiers d’Art 2015, in the city’s Cinecittà film complex.

Chanel is not the only institution safeguarding French fashion. When, in 2012, the French lingerie manufacturer Lejaby announced plans to outsource production to Tunisia, then president Nicolas Sarkozy pledged to seek a solution. Lejaby was bought out by a French leather goods manufacturer that supplies Louis Vuitton, in a move overseen by Bernard Arnault, CEO of LVMH, and close friend of Sarkozy, who called the takeover part of “the battle for employment in France”.

Bespoke Leather

Within the leather goods industry companies such as Hermès continue the tradition of artisan production at their atelier in Pantin near Paris where the prevailing sentiment is that of everlasting love: each bag is affectionately crafted by a single artisan from start to finish, which would explain why they only turn out two pieces a week. No leather-worker is allowed to intervene in another colleague’s bag and each individual has their own set of tools, which they eventually take home with them when they retire.

Similarly Bianca Mosca, known for it’s ultra luxury exotic and precious leather bags, Alligator Wallets and accessories, is a close adherent of the atelier approach.

Visiting their fragrant workshops in Italy and France is a real sensory experience. Your eyes, your nose, you ears; they’re all part of a luxurious journey. First, it’s the tap-tap-tapping sound that rhythmically follows your every step, a sign of industrious hands at work. Then it’s the smell of the leather, from the simplest and supplest Taurillon leather to rare finds like Louisiana alligator in a rainbow of colors, all sourced by Bianca Mosca’s experienced leather-hunters.

What is clear is that making luxurious objects in the ancient traditions espoused by the true ateliers of France and Italy takes time-a lot of time.

“The end result is worth it” says Tim de Rosen of Bianca Mosca.

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Bianca Mosca Backgrounder

14 October 2015

Bianca Mosca was founded in London in 1946 by Madame Bianca Mosca, a cousin and close collaborator of the legendary Parisian couturier, Elsa Schiapararelli.

Bianca Mosca

Originally the company specialized in Haute Couture for it’s aristocratic and royal clients including the Duchess of Kent and Wallis Simpson, wife of ex-King of England, the Duke of Windsor.

The untimely early passing of Madame Mosca in 1950 marked a low point for the Maison that was eventually revived by fashion entrepreneur Tim de Rosen.

Mr. de Rosen’s vision is to recreate the illustrious brand as an ultra luxury purveyor of the highest quality leather goods made from Louisiana alligator, a peerless and luxuriant material, soft to the touch, highly durable and long lasting.

Initially the House will specialize in the production of a range of exclusive wallets and accessories for men and women that can be customized for color, stitching and the addition of the customers’ own initials.

Bianca Mosca Products

A wide range of color options is available allowing for literally thousands of combinations to create truly individual products that can be handed down to future generations as family heirlooms.

The present product range consists of bi-fold hipster wallets, card holders, bracelets, zippy pouches and iPhone cases for the iPhone 6, 6s and Plus models. Prices start from $395 including bespoke personalization and free shipping within the continental USA.

In the future the brand will add further products to its range including a selection of travel bags and briefcases also made in exotic leather.

The Company’s products are made in small family owned ateliers in rural France and Italy where craft skills have been handed down from one generation to the next.

Handmade

Products are made entirely by hand by masters (and mistresses) of their art, including the careful cutting of the leather from intricate patterns, assembly of material and the hand sewing of each item using a traditional saddle stitch technique.

Bianca Mosca is proud to maintain strict ethical standards and buys it’s materials solely from those suppliers of exotic skins that adhere to the highest possible standards of animal husbandry.

Luxury Leather Double Turn Bracelet

Skins are carefully selected to ensure that only those that are free of any blemishes are used for the production of Bianca Mosca products. The chosen skins go through a multistage dyeing and finishing process to produce the final material which must be UV and water resistant to meeting the Houses’s exacting standards and the discerning expectations of its elite clientele.

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With Santa just around the corner for his 2015 trip around the world, Switzerland’s workshops are busily producing new products for the gifting season. Many of these timepieces were unveiled earlier in the year at Basel or the SIHH in Geneva and are just becoming available now.

 

A. Lange & Söhne Saxonia, Saxonia Automatic and Saxonia Dual Time

This storied German watch brand has updated three of its models from its popular Saxonia collection. The solid-gold applied hour markers have been moved toward the outside of the dial and are executed as double baton appliqués at 3, 6, 9 and 12 o’clock; along with extended black gradations of the minute scale. For the Automatic and Dual Time models, the seconds subdial is marked by numerals every ten seconds. All modifications were made in the interest of improved readability. The new designs result in a slightly smaller case for these two models. The Saxonia is powered with the in-house manual wind caliber L941.1, the Automatic uses the in-house L086.1 caliber, and the Dual Time uses the in-house automatic L086.2 caliber.

A. Lange & Söhne Saxonia, Saxonia Automatic and Saxonia Dual Time

 

Montblanc Heritage Spirit Orbis Terrarum

The name Orbis Terrarum, is Latin for “globe,” “earth,” and “world.” This in-house complication: the MB29.20 automatic caliber displays 24 time zones in a very practical and clever way. The dial constructed in multi-layers, displays continents and oceans as seen from the Pole. Under the main dial is a disc showing day and night, which rotates with the movement of the 24-hour mechanism on the outermost layer on the dial. The names of an amazing 24 cities circle the center image surrounded by their zones on a 24-hour mechanism. The disc with the cities rotates separately with the aid of a pusher located at 8 o’clock. To adjust the time the home city needs positioning with the corresponding time at 6 o’clock.

Montblanc Heritage Spirit Orbis Terrarum

 

Van Cleef & Arpels Cadenas

This august luxury house is re-introducing its Cadenas watch, first created in 1935 and is said to have been inspired by a zip necklace worn by the Wallis, the Duchess of Windsor. It’s known for an unashamedly modern design ethic with a large double hoop-shaped curve attached to a straight-lined case. This new collection is of nine models, powered by a quartz movement. The Cadenas is available in yellow or white gold. The Cadenas Sertie, in yellow or white gold, has diamonds on the upper surface of the case and an alligator strap attachment.

Van Cleef & Arpels Cadenas

 

IWC Portugieser Annual Calendar

This famous annual calendar model shows month, date and day in three separate, semicircular windows. The switching mechanism automatically takes into account differing lengths of months. A perpetual calendar, the annual calendar cannot factor the differing lengths of the month of February or the leap years. Once a year, at the end of February, ithe watch requires manual adjustment with a built-in “corrector.” Its 44mm case, grooved bezel, the Portugieser Annual Calendar resembles the original Portugieser model of 1939. The small seconds sub-dial is positioned at 9 o’clock. The sub-dial on the opposite side serves as the power reserve display. The automatic in-house 52850 caliber movement has a seven day power reserve.

IWC Portugieser Annual Calendar

 

Parmigiani Fleurier Tonda 1950 Squelette

The bridge and main plate of the automatic PF705 caliber skeleton watch (for men and ladies) features a hand crafted open display. This reveals a skeleton movement that compliments the extra-thin construction. A platinum micro rotor can be seen on the surface of the watch. The pattern consists of the PM’s iconic lugs. The dial is made of sapphire, giving an impression of being invisible. The rim is metalized, which hides the points of attachment between the movement and the case. The dial on the men’s model is highly polished and transparent, whilst the ladies’ model features a lovely and subtly frosted dial that resembles a women’s veil.

Parmigiani Fleurier Tonda 1950 Squelette

 

Piaget Black Tie ‘Vintage Inspiration’ and ‘Traditional Oval’

These new models reflect the heritage of Piaget’s watches. The cushion-shaped Black Tie Vintage Inspiration has a slim profile thanks to its automatic Piaget 534P movement. The white gold bezel creates a wonderful contrast with the intense blackness of its onyx dial for a very contemporary masculine look. The Black Tie Traditional Oval for ladies features an oval case with a silver dial. The bezel is topped with 24 brilliant cut diamonds.

Piaget Black Tie ‘Vintage Inspiration’ and ‘Traditional Oval’

 

Roger Dubuis Excalibur Spider Skeleton Flying Tourbillon

Dubuis has taken the skeleton theme beyond the movement, extending it to include the 45mm skeletonized titanium case. It has all of the features of Roger Dubuis other skeleton watches, such as star-shaped design, the tourbillon shaped like a Celtic cross and other top finishes. The mechanism is a hand-wound RD505SQ caliber that features a flying tourbillon at 7:30 (one rotation per minute) and a 60-hour power-reserve.he CEO Who Saved Continental Airlines

Roger Dubuis Excalibur Spider Skeleton Flying Tourbillon

 

Richard Mille RM 33-01 Automatic

The skeleton appearance RMXP3 caliber that runs the RM 33-01 has an off-center platinum micro rotor. This reveals a grade 5 titanium movement, that is wet sand blasted the surfaces micro blasted then drawn and satin-finished with the anglage worked entirely by hand. The taut lines of this sport-inspired design combine curvature of the brand’s tonneau like cases with the construction characteristic of its elegant round watches. The graphical style of the numerals with outsized dimensions provides easier reading. The tri-partite case, with a diameter of 45 mm and a thickness of 9 mm, is mounted on a rubber strap with a folding clasp in titanium. According to Richard Mille this is a chic design with a sporty feel.

Richard Mille RM 33-01 Automatic

 

Greubel Forsey Black GMT

The 43 mm case is made of titanium treated with amorphous diamond-like carbon (ADLC), a highly specialized black coating that displays many of the properties of a diamond. It is much harder than natural titanium. The main plate and bridges have a black finish too. Greubel Forsey says this is to bring out the contrast between the textures and surface finish of each component. The case houses a GF05 in-house movement with a 24-second tourbillon at a 25 degree angle GMT function, three-dimension globe for the day and night indication; a rotating disc with 24 different time zones, daylight savings indicator and a 72 hour power reserve feature. The watch is in a limited production of 22 pieces.

Greubel Forsey Black GMT

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When you travel a lot you always need to think carefully before packing about which essential things you’re going to need to have with you. The problem for most people, including me, is that space is at a premium especially if you want to travel light and carry your bag with you instead of checking it in at the airport.

I’ve learned the hard way that it’s often better to spend some money on really high quality products that last (almost) forever than on cheaper items that will often let you down. Poor quality accessories tend to break down and can look awful after minimal use whereas those that are truly luxurious can acquire a special patina with age.

Here are a few of my favourite things:

1. Elie Bleu Cigar Case

It’s increasingly difficult to find suitable (and lawful) places to smoke whilst travelling but when you do find the ideal place (as I did recently at the Bulgari Hotel in Milan) it’s essential to carry your precious Cubans in some style. Elie Bleu, based in Paris, is well known for their divine cigar humidors with heir elaborate marquetry but they also make superb traveling cigar cases in beautiful leathers including stingray.

Elie Bleu Cigar Case

 

2. Mophie iPhone Charger

Possibly the most frustrating thing when travelling is to run out of “juice” when your iPhone gives up the ghost as it inevitably will. Morphie’s Juice Pack Reserve for the iPhone 6 and 6s is just the job and is the most compact charger the firm has ever produced.

Mophie Juice Pack iPhone Charger

 

3. B &W Portable Headphones

Audiophiles will argue till the cows come home but to my mind there’s no substitute in terms of value for money and effectiveness-Bowers and Wilkins are superb at everything auditory. Their P3 Mobile Hi Fi speakers are light, comfortable and gorgeous to admire in their lovely blue case. Just the ticket for pounding the pavements on your early morning run.

B &W Portable Headphones

 

4. Philips Sonic Care Diamond Clean Toothbrush

I’ve been cleaning my teeth with electric toothbrushes for years but most models are not easily portable. This Philips model comes in a specially designed and compact easy to pack format. And it works a treat.

Philips Sonic Care Diamond Clean Toothbrush

 

5. Bianca Mosca Zippy Travel Pouch

I’ve always had a soft spot for Bianca Mosca’s divine hand sewn alligator wallets and accessories and the Zippy is no exception. Measuring a compact 4.3 by 7 inches it is capable of packing a big punch with space for 8 credit cards, business cards, a coin compartment, cash and tickets and will even accommodate your passport. It’s available in 14 wonderful colors and a choice of stitching. Bianca Mosca will even emboss your initials free of charge!Bianca-Mosca-Zippy-Travel-Pouch

 

6. Acqua di Parma Colonia

The Colonia legend is closely tied to the world of Italian tailors, the home of impeccable elegance, where class is expressed in prestige fabrics, perfect cuts, the sophisticated balance of muted colours and attention to detail. Down to the final and indispensable touch of class: a spray of Colonia before handing over the made to measure suit. A sensory hallmark of a style of dressing that is also a lifestyle. Colonia is the original fragrance that embodies classic elegance and long tradition”. That’s what they say at Acqua di Parma and I couldn’t put it better. An essential ingredient even for a short trip is to smell your best. The classic Colonia in a convenient travel size does the trick-perfectly.

Acqua di Parma Colonia

 

 

7.  Patek Phillipe 5524 Calatrava Pilot Travel Time

A most unexpected but none the less delightful addition to the PP range earlier this year. The 5524 model is based on old Patek Philippe hour angle watches that helped pilots calculate their position when used in tandem with a sextant and a radio. I’m not exactly a pilot but I appreciate the wonderful heritage of this beautiful watch that incidentally reminds me of the time at home. Just wished they had made it in a more affordable steel version.

Patek Phillipe 5524 Calatrava Pilot Travel Time

 

8. Berluti Andy loafers

Is there anything more glorious than stepping out in a pair of Berluti demesure handcrafted shoes named after the legendary Andy Warhol? Not to my mind. Supreme comfort and oozing style and savoir faire.

Berluti Andy Loafers

 

9. Leica X2

iPhone cameras are all very well-even with the new 12 megapixel one on the iPhone 6s but there is no real substitute for a proper camera such as the marvelous X2. The Leica features the latest sensor technology and the fast 35mm Leica Elmarit lens. Made from the highest quality materials the camera offers simple operation and manual adjustment possibilities.

Leica X2

 

10. Louis Vuitton Pégase 55 Business

Finally, here is the essential bag to carry your favorite items. Although much imitated this really is the business. The Pégase 55 moves smoothly (and noiselessly) from business to pleasure and back again. This cabin-sized case holds everything in impeccable order, thanks to multiple compartments and zippered pockets.

Louis Vuitton Pégase 55 Business

 

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A $500 mansion is in line to become the most expensive property ever sold in the world.

$500 Mega Mansion

The 100,000 mega mansion will be on a hill with views of the Pacific Ocean in Bel-Air.

Whoever stumps up the cash to purchase the huge mansion will be in exclusive company, with Ronald Reagan and Sir Alfred Hitchcock among former residents.

Once built, the property will feature a 5,000 sq ft master bedroom, 30-car garage, 45-seat cinema, a nightclub, casino, and an aquarium.

The mansion will also feature four swimming pools including a 180ft long infinity pool, and a 20,000 sq ft synthetic lawn.

Construction on the mansion has begun and is expected to be completed in less than two years.

The project is being spearheaded by Hollywood producer-turned property developer, Nile Niami. In 2008 Mr Niami sold a mansion for $18 million to Tyler and Cameron Winklevoss, the entrepreneur twins who sued Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg.

Last year Mr Niami asked for $65 million for a 30,000 sq ft house called the Fendi Casa, which was completely fitted out with designer furnishings by fashion house Fendi.

The mansion’s development comes during a significant boom for mega mansions in Los Angeles.

$500 Mega Mansion

Home prices in Bel-Air have increased on average by an incredible 400 per cent since 1990.

Hilton & Hyland, a luxury Beverly Hills estate agency, sold ten properties in excess of $20 million in the first quarter of 2015.

Palazzo di Amore became the most expensive listing in the America when it was put on the market for $195 million at the end of last year.

One Los Angeles developer is planning to build a series of $100 million, 400 sq ft houses.

Mr Niami told Bloomberg his latest project would have ‘almost every amenity available in the world’, and said the asking price will be $500 million.

If the asking price is met, it would completely obliterate the previous record for the most expensive home sale anywhere in the world.

In 2008 the billionaire industrialist Lakshmi Mittal paid $221 million for a mansion in London.

Last year a penthouse in Monaco went on sale for $400 million. 500,000-acre ranch in Texas is also on sale for $725 million.

$500 Mega Mansion

The $500 million house would be only a few miles from the site of another proposed mega-mansion intended for Prince Abdul Aziz, third son of the late King Abdullah of Saudi Arabia.

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