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Category Archives: Handbags

Designer Leather Handbag Sale in Time for Fall Weather

Depending on where you live, fall has officially arrived. At this time of year, the mornings are cooler, and the sun takes just a little longer to get going. With the leaves turning brilliant shades it is time to change your wardrobe accessories to suit the weather.

We thought that a little fall handbag sale might get you in the mood for the colourful harvest season. Designer Christine VonBun is offering fabulous discounts on her exquisitely crafted handbags, until October 15th.

Gloria ostrich leather designer-handbag-in-gerbera
Gloria in Gerbera Orange or Serpentine

Her signature ostrich leather bags are offered at a 50% discount by using coupon code OstrichBagSale.

Designer Leather Handbag Sale Harper Ostrich Handbag
Harper – in blue or black
Designer Leather Handbag Sale Hope Ostrich Leather Handbags
Hope ostrich leather clutch
Designer Leather Handbag Sale Mimi Ostrich
Mimi ostrich leather bag in Crystal blue or African violet

The lovely purse she designed to celebrate Canada’s 150th birthday the Tulip 150 is available for 25% off. Use coupon code TulipBagSale.

Designer Leather Handbag Sale Tulip 150 Purse Red Ostrich Leather

The Morris B collection (Adie, Bella and Sophie) are made with beautiful Italian leather and Christine is offering a 25% discount if you use this code: MorrisBagSale.

Adie-Leather-handbag-collection-in-four-colour-options
Adie Italian Leather bag available in Black or Red
Sophie-handbag-in-black-leather-interior-by-designer-@ChristineVonBun
Sophie in red or black Italian leather
Bella-Italian-leather-handbag-in-red-and-white
Bella handbag available in tan, taupe and red

The irresistible (and slightly sassy) Lola in red patent leather is on sale at 25% off with this discount code –  RedLolaSale.

Red patent Leather Lola handbag

Note: some colours may not be available  – discounts apply to in-stock handbags only.

Tulip 150 Handbag Signature Design to Celebrate Canada150 Milestone

Canada is a young nation relative to its peers (think of the other countries in G7, NATO, EU Zone, Commonwealth and so on). However, 150 years is still a significant birthday it was a milestone worth celebrating.

On July 1st, cities and towns across Canada celebrated with fireworks and live music. The 150 Tulip (or Maple Leaf Tulip) bloomed this Spring – One Tulip One Canada – in time for the annual tulip festival in Ottawa here. (Image credit above: Ottawa tourism)

Canadian designers are marking the year with signature pieces.

Tulip 150 Handbag Red Ostrich Leather

Designing Canada 150

Christine Vonbun’s birthplace is Austria, and where she earned her Master-Craftsman in Handbag Design. For several years now, Canada has been her home. Toronto, Ontario is a place that she enjoys for its ready access to natural beauty.

Tulip 150 Handbag Red Ostrich Leather

To recognise the significant 150th year of Canada’s confederation, Christine Vonbun designed the Tulip 150 handbag, the latest addition to her leather purse collection. This small bag makes a bold design statement to celebrate the milestone of Canada’s 150th birthday year.

Tulip 150 Handbag Red Ostrich Leather

This handbag made with neutral beige leather is the perfect “will go with anything” colour. However, Christine’s design is sensational with the striking black Italian leather bottom, and the red ostrich flower (tulip) appliqué adds that flash of colour that will make others notice.

For the full details on the limited edition Tulip 150 purse click here.

(Note: This sharp red tulip bag will only be available in 2017).

Leather Handbags Christine VonBun Shares her Design Story

One of our goals at Atelier is to communicate our designers’ artistic journeys. However, it’s even better when they share the design story behind their leather handbags.

Handbag Design Story Hope Ostrich blue leather

Holiday Discount

Before diving into this designer’s story, we want to make sure you don’t miss this generous offer.  To celebrate Canada’s 150th birthday, Christine VonBun is offering 40% off any ostrich handbag (in stock) from now until July 1st. Take advantage of this fantastic offer and use coupon code Canada150Handbag at checkout.

Handbag Design Story Ostrich Harper Blue Leather

Dedication

In our view, anyone who has chosen a creative path is brave, for many reasons. Work with raw materials is intensive and in some cases quite physical. Mastering a craft can often take years of trial and error.

Christine Vonbun Leather Handbag Design Story

Designers must first turn their creative vision into an attractive outcome. The Financial Times published an interesting article on “How artisans across the world are crafting a living” by Jonathon Foyle. The process of finding buyers for small production, handcrafted goods can be daunting. The potential sales channels are limited by available time. You will encounter artisans manning booths at craft markets, and in bricks and mortar retail outlets. On top of that they need to establish an online presence and dabble in the virtual world of social media.

Luxurious ostrich leather handbags

Christine VonBun works exclusively with high-quality leathers and speciality skins. VonBun trained in her native Austria and achieved a master craftsman certification in leather work. Her work in South Africa at a renowned design house gave her the confidence to create her line of handcrafted leather handbags. Spend a few minutes reading her designer backstory here and the detailed process required to fashion a leather purse here.

These luxury leather handbags are signature accessories, pieces that you will use for many years.

Christine Vonbun Leather Handbag Design Story

During the “Originals – The Spring Craft Sale” in Ottawa, Ontario, Christine VonBun was interviewed by CTV about her beautiful bags. Watch Christine share her design story with CTV here.

Bella Leather Handbag Morris B Design Story Christine Vonbun

Italian leather handbags

Christine VonBun’s Morris B collection is an Atelier exclusive.  Made with exquisite Italian leather these bags share the same details as her ostrich handbags. However, the price point is more affordable due to the relative ease of working with Italian leather vs. ostrich – explore the Morris B collection here.

Christine has to say about her Morris B Collection,

“User-friendly on-trend bags which work for the wearer from day to night. Uncomplicated, stylish with a twist of fun.”

To celebrate Canada Day on July 1st, Christine VonBun has designed an adorable purse she calls the Tulip 150. This small bag makes a bold design statement to commemorate the milestone of Canada’s 150th birthday. This sharp red tulip purse will only be available in 2017,  order your’s today. (Note: this handbag is not included in the Canada150Handbag offer)

Tulip 150 Leather Handbag Design Story Christine Vonbun

5 Rules for Calgary Stampede Rodeo Fashion Style and Accessories

Rodeo fashion style did not exist in 1886, for Calgary’s first organised agricultural event – the Calgary and District Agricultural Society. It was 1912 when American Guy Weadick organised a livestock performance, a Wild West rodeo that morphed into today’s Calgary Stampede. This annual 10-day rodeo and festival is a magnet for international cowboys and cowgirls. For many, the Calgary Stampede embodies its tagline the “Greatest Outdoor Show on Earth.”

Calgary Stampede Style Cowboy Denim

Outside of the rodeo arena, there are few rules during the Calgary Stampede (July 7-16, 2017). Work takes a backseat to pancake breakfasts, boozy lunches and line dancing. If you want to look the part, western attire is de rigour.

What are the rules for Calgary Stampede rodeo fashion style?

If you want to mimic authentic cowboy and cowgirl’s effortless fashion style, here are the five (5) wardrobe musts.

  1. Denim – Anyone who is riding a horse, bull or participating in a Stampede event will be in jeans. Clearly, this clothing selection is a practical choice when attempting to stay atop high-spirited livestock. However, these men and women typically establish their style with form fitting dark denim blues and blacks. For the spectators’ denim choices are not as prescribed. You can expect jeans of every colour, denim shorts, sundresses dresses of every length and a more than a few miniskirts. Fashion tip: white jeans are acceptable, but watch where you sit…just saying.

Calgary Stampede Style Cowboy Denim2. Boots – In the same vein as denim footwear choices around big animals and dusty arenas should never include open toed shoes or high-heals. Leather cowboy boots and lace-up ropers are the standard footwear options. Often these boots have been custom built for the owner and worn so many times that they fit better than slippers. Not planning to ride any livestock? Cowboy boots are still a practical footwear option in the event of rain (sadly that does happen), and in the beer tents where the dance floor can turn into a sticky mess. Read about Alberta Boot Company here and how you can order your pair of boots.

3. Cowboy Hat – The brimmed western hat serves a clear purpose for keeping the sun off the face and rain out of the wearer’s eyes. The bonus is almost everyone looks better in a cowboy hat. Your hat choices range from breathable straw to warm felt material. Read about the Smithbilt hat makers here.

Calgary Stampede Style Cowboy Hats4. Shirts and Tops – Western shirts are far from prescribed. Theses tops cover a broad gulf of styles including fringes, leather touches, beaded designs and much more.

Calgary Stampede Style Cowboy Shirts5. Belt Buckles – These are a status symbol of sorts. Any cowboy or cowgirl who has won a notable rodeo event proudly sports a large metal belt buckle commemorating the occasion. Bigger is considered better in the buckle department.

Western accessories for this year’s Calgary Stampede.

Designer Nancy Newman works with vintage fabrics, handwoven pieces of cotton and soft leathers to create gorgeous one-of-a-kind bucket bags. It is her finishing touches, the accents of nickel conchos and rivets that give these handbags an authentic western flavour. Giddy up cowgirl!

Black Leather Bucket Bag Nancy Newman

Step into your favourite jeans and finish the look with a hand cut leather belt (available in a range of colours) and a shiny belt buckle of your own. Designer Robert Aucoin at Iron Art makes these belts and buckles in Ontario.

Gold Heart Metal Belt Buckle Iron Art Pink Heart Metal Belt Buckle Iron Art

Do it Yourself Handcrafted Designer Leather Handbag

We asked Toronto designer Christine Vonbun to explain what it takes to make one of her luxury handbags. She is clear that top-quality leather and access to the right tools and machinery are essential to the production of her purses.

Handcrafting Leather Bags

Vonbun uses a walking-foot sewing machine designed for leather. Each stage of production requires a selection of hand tools; including traditional double-facetted knives for cutting and specialised skiving knives for thinning the leather at the ends. Vonbun uses a fishbone knife for turning the leather edges, along with a variety of pliers, hammers, small screwdrivers and chisels.

Each handbag requires some glueing, which means different adhesives for separate parts of the process.

The most important piece for hand working is a large soft flat stone, according to Vonbun it must be a fine sandstone – her’s came from her Master in Vienna.

So, what are the steps to handcraft a designer handbag?

1. Leather selection

Red Ostrich Leather used for designer handbags

2. Cutting the leather

Cutting the template for a red ostrich leather handbag

3. Thinning the edges
4. Gluing sections

Gluing straps for red ostrich leather handbag Gluing pieces for red ostrich leather handbag

5. Stitching pieces

Hand stitching red ostrich leather handbag

6. Joining parts together

Red ostrich leather bag is starting to take shape

7. Creating the liner and adding fasteners

Preparing the interior details for a deigner ostrich leather bag

8. Inserting the liner and top stitching the two pieces together

Inserting the suede liner into ostrich leather bag

9. Adding straps

Adding the shoulder strap to red ostrich leather handbag

10. Final Product

Finished product Adele red ostrich leather handbag

And, if you work on one ostrich leather bag at a time that process might take 12 hours. Are you still considering a DIY project of making your own handbag? Maybe you should shop designer fashion instead!

Take a look at Christine’s full collection here.

Adie Collection Leather shoulder handbag designed by @ChristineVonBun

 

Exclusive, Luxury Italian Leather Handbags the Morris B Collection

Christine Vonbun handbags designs are timeless, fabricated in striking leather colours these bags are intended to be accessories you will enjoy every day and continue to wear for a long time.

Bella Italian leather handbag in black @ChristineVonBun

Vonbun has this to say about her Morris B Collection, “I want to create user-friendly on-trend bags which work for the wearer from day to night. Uncomplicated, stylish with a twist of fun.”

Based in Toronto, Ontario designer Christine Vonbun only sources leather for her handbag creations from reputable merchants; Klein Karoo Leather (for ostrich) and an importer who sources directly from a selection of reputable Italian tanneries. Working with the same suppliers for years and she refuses to compromise on quality.

Adie Italian Leather handbag in taupe and denim blue

After attaining her Master Craftsman certification from Modeschule Hetzendorf, a dedicated fashion school in Vienna, Austria, Vonbun moved to South Africa. While in Cape Town, she worked at Cape Cobra Leathercraft a premium manufacturer of luxury leather handbags, where quality control is essential. You can read her full backstory here.

Soft ostrich leather remains her preferred handbag material for its durability, interesting texture. “It is also the only exotic leather that gets more beautiful the more you wear it, the leather absorbs the oil from your skin and the textured quill areas get shiny and wonderfully soft.”

Bella Italian leather handbag in taupe @ChristineVonBun

However, Vonbun readily admits that fine Italian leather also produces beautiful results at a more approachable price point, which is why she has launched her Morris B Collection. To handcraft a purse using high-quality Italian leather requires significantly less production time (< 50%), as compared to an ostrich leather bag; where cutting, and matching the quill pattern requires patience and extraordinary skill.

Adie Red Leather shoulder handbag designed by @ChristineVonBun

The Christine Vonbun Morris B Collection is an Atelier Boutiques exclusive. Handcrafted with the same attention to detail Vonbun has created these gorgeous designer handbags at affordable prices.

The Adie purse is exactly like the ostrich leather version (Adele). This shoulder bag is large enough to carry all you need, without being bulky. Lined in gold fabric this purse has two interior pockets and a magnet closure for security. Available in four Italian leather colours: red, taupe, denim blue and black.

Adie Collection Leather shoulder handbag designed by @ChristineVonBun

“Sophie” is available in black and red Italian leather. This pouch-style handbag is both playful and practical with its roomy interior. The drawstring closure also acts as the carry handles, and the shoulder strap is detachable. The Sophie bag might just become your best girlfriend.

 

Sophie handbag in black leather by designer @ChristineVonBunSophie handbag in red leather by designer @ChristineVonBun

Soft and curvy Bella is a stylish bag with a top zip closure. This tiny purse is the perfect companion for running errands and for keeping the essentials (keys, smartphone, credit cards, lipstick) safe. Bella is the accessory that you need for that lunch out with friends or an after-work cocktail. Available in four colours deep red , taupe, tan and black.

Bella Italian leather handbag in red and taupe @ChristineVonBun

Explore the full Christine Vonbun Collection.

Country Weekend in Uxbridge Ontario with Nancy Newman Textiles

Nancy Newman lives in rural Ontario, near the town of Uxbridge, which she describes as a wonderful place to live. Removed from Toronto’s big city hassles Nancy enjoys a view of a farmer’s field from her workshop. Her studio is full of light with a vaulted ceiling and a wood burning stove takes the chill off during the winter – “A lovely space.”

Nancy Newman Textiles work in the studio

However, to the untrained eye, one might describe Nancy’s studio as chaotic (her word), cluttered with leather and fabric samples during the design phase of a vintage handbag. This seemingly messy environment is what allows Nancy to mix and match the traditional fabrics with the perfect leather and accessory combinations.

sewing-machine Nancy Newman Textiles work in the studio

Nancy practices slow, sustainable fashion.

nancy-newman-studio-shot-1

The mission behind Nancy Newman Textiles is to “Save the planet one purse at a time.” She is accomplishing this goal by mindfully using textiles that were destined for the landfill and by honouring and continuing old textile traditions. Nancy explains her choice is to use leather, and not ‘vegan leather’ in her handbags. “This is a conscious choice for me because once the leather finally ends up in the landfill, it will decompose in a matter of months, where the polyurethane will be there for over 100 years.”

Cross body handbag with cotton and leather

If a customer just purchased a vintage fabric handbag, and asked  how they might spend a weekend in rural Ontario what would you recommend:

“Uxbridge, Ontario has a vibrant arts community, and it is a place where you always meet someone you know when you are out.”

Go for coffee at Nexus a newer cafe in town, with excellent hot drinks and friendly owners.

Designer Bucket bag with a Vintage Bohemian Flair

Have breakfast at Scrambles connected to the Foxbridge Golf Club, this restaurant is a great place to get a home-cooked – simple breakfast at a terrific price.

The Tin Cup Caffe is the best place in town for lunch with their tasty soups, perfect coffees and the friendliest staff around.

For dinner, there are several choices, but my two favourites are the Urban Pantry, which has a more upscale menu and vibe, and Frankies Ristorante, a family-run gluten-free restaurant and bakery.

The Fly Cotton Shoulder Bag in Natural Cotton

Shopping in the downtown core is charming.  We have Blue Heron Books, voted one of Canada’s 10 best-loved bookstores by CBC. If you need a new outfit, Woods and Woods Clothing has served the community for 26-years with everyday fashions at reasonable prices.

Don’t miss this “iconic” spot in Ontario’s countryside: The Foster Memorial resembles the Taj Mahal it was built as a mausoleum by Thomas Foster for himself and his family. Concerts are held there frequently because the acoustics are amazing.

Where do the local’s go? The Second Wedge Brewery Co. serves their artisanal beer in a relaxed environment, with occasional live music.

Sleep here: There are several B&Bs in the Uxbridge area this is a good reference website.

Read more about sustainable fashion and how Nancy Newman is turning textile traditions into handbags.

Handbag tote mali mud cloth and leather @NancyNewmanTextiles

Designer Gift Ideas for Valentine’s Day and Discounts

We would never suggest that chocolate and roses are not good options, if you are running a little late (or short on ideas) on Valentines Day.  Certainly, most gals would be happy to be treated to a dinner out and a nice bottle of wine on February 14th.

However, if you want to make her feel special for more than a single day consider the long-lasting gift of an exclusive designer wardrobe accessory or beautiful home decor item.  These beautiful products are individually designed, handcrafted in small batches and in many cases, one-of-a-kind treasures.

Designer Valentine's Gift to You

 

Designer shopping ideas:

Heart Handle Hardwood Boards

 

Serving boards with heart handles are cut from Canadian hardwood (black walnut or cherry). This board is on special until February 14th for $95 and includes a jar of preserving beeswax and mineral oil paste – value ($12). Order here to receive in time for Valentines.

Infinity-Shawl-wool-blend-powder-pink

Freedom-Fringe-Woven-Shawl-in-Wine-Stain

Wrap her in warm, wintery knitwear by artist Cindy Goble who is offering a 20% discount on her fully collection from February 1st -14th. Coupon Code: goblevalentines. Shop her luxury collection here.

Lola patent leather handbag in red

 

Nothing says “I love you” better than the colour red.  How about a red patent leather Lola handbag? This is handcrafted leather by Toronto master-craftsman Christine VonBun is present that she will love and is guaranteed to make her friends jealous. Go ahead be that guy! Shop here.

Square silk Purse Red and Purple @KOTIDesigns

Sticking to the red theme…this silk evening bag is a stunning accessory for that special evening on the town.

Encircled Choker in leather and stainless pendant

Jewellery is a fail-safe gift for this mid-February occasion. Colleen Poitras is offering a seasonal sale (ends February 14th) on her “Pretty. Rocker. Chic” designs. These earrings, bangles and necklaces are unique pieces that transform any outfit. Shop Colleen’s jewellery here.

Keme Jewellery #Handcrafted @KemeJewellery

Take a look a other designer jewellery collections by Anastassia Sel, Keme Jewellery, ErinLaura and Skimbaco.

Designer Valentine's Gift to You

Nancy Newman Turning Textile Traditions into Handbags

Perhaps it was the 1970’s Feminist Movement that led Nancy Newman to her philosophy of

“Saving the planet one purse at a time!”

During that period, Nancy says her awareness of the underrated value associated with “women’s work” (anything to do with textiles – needlepoint, sewing, knitting) increased her attention towards the expertise in fabric craftsmanship. She did not have to stretch very far to begin to understand the techniques and skills involved in creating textiles – one grandmother was a tailor and the other a quilter.

Nancy Newman Textiles Workshop

Today my interest has expanded to global textile traditions. If in my small way, I can draw attention to the beauty and skill of traditional methods, perhaps they won’t be lost forever to quick and cheap industrially made textiles. I’m all about slow fashion, where you can feel the hand that made it.

How did you discover these amazing textiles (Mali mud cloth, vintage fabrics, distressed leather) that you work with today?

I have been studying textiles and their traditions all my life, so it’s hard to say when it started.  My library includes many books on tribal and historical textiles, and I am within driving distance of the Textile Museum of Canada, in Toronto, which has an extensive collection, frequent talks and shows of spectacular work from around the world.

You participated in the Sheridan College of Art and Design Textile Studio. Can you share some details on that program?

The course I took is now an accredited university degree. When I studied from 1997-2000, it was a three-year intensive studio program with courses in craft history, 2 and 3D design, and business. In the Textile Studio, we focused on dye chemistry, colour theory, screen printing and photography with workshops in most textile methods. We had some amazing guest speakers, including Dorothy Caldwell and a family of paper makers from Japan. It was an amazing opportunity that opened my eyes to a whole new way of thinking and seeing. In my third year, I focused on making paper by hand and using that fibre to create sculptural pieces.

When did you start making handbags and purses?

Post-graduation (2000), I began weaving in my studio creating silk shawls, scarves and delicate fabric, which I turned into jackets. Around 2006 my shift to purses began with small pouches and evening bags. Initially, I used decorator fabrics, but now my full line of handbags are fabricated only with textiles that are woven or printed and dyed by hand. Recently, I have been designing and painting my own fabrics.

Tote Mall Gold Distressed Leather @NancyNewmanTextiles

How do you source the textiles for your handbags?

A lot of people ask me if I travel to all these countries to find the textiles. Unfortunately, not, although several friends have brought back textiles from their travels. It has taken me several years to find the best sources for the Kantha quilts and Thai fabrics that I use, but because they are all vintage and cannot be reordered like industrial materials. I am always searching for new material sources.

The-Fly-in-handbag-Black-Cotton-and-silver-with-sweater

How long does it “typically” take to make a handbag including the design phase, fabric selection and sewing?

It often takes two or three tries before I am satisfied with a design (I use all the rejects as my own purses), and it varies from design to design.  The bucket bags take about a day to put together. I use vintage fabrics, and I only have a small amount of each, so the textile itself often “tells” me what it needs to be. The pieces usually sit in my stash for at least six months before a vision of where to incorporate it becomes apparent.

Grey Designer Bucket bag with a Vintage Bohemian Flair

Can you walk us through the steps involved in the production of a handbag?

As an example, the bucket bag starts with the textile itself, which has to be washed and patched, if necessary, interfaced, serged and often edge stitched.

I play around with the leathers in stock to see which looks best with the textile, using the live edge of the leather where possible. Once these two materials are glued and stitched together, I do the design for the conchos (Southwestern Native American decorative elements) and rivets. It is important to get the placement right before I punch the holes and hammer them into the leather.

Nancy Newman Textiles Workshop

The bag is stitched together on my durable leather sewing machine, the sides and bottom are glued down and top-stitched for security.  Sturdy artist’s canvas forms the liner, and the bottom flaps are sewn to the bag, so it stays firmly in place. The top is reinforced, and another piece of material is chosen as the closure.

The leather strap requires cutting, beveling, edge dyeing, hole punching a buckle and finally riveting it to the bag.

The final piece is a talisman of handmade beads – Nancy’s good luck charm for her customers who appreciate textile art and sustainable fashion.

Day 10 – 12 Days of Designer Christmas Classy Evening Bags

The holiday season is a time for dressing up, celebrating with friends and family, and for sharing hopes and dreams for the year ahead.

This year consider a classy evening evening bag a Christmas gift that will last, made by hand, designed with care, rather than something mass produced in a foreign land.

Ostrich Leather and Fur clutch evening bag

Nadia clutch in Ostrich Leather @ChristineVonBun

Designer Christine VonBun handcrafts her handbags from the finest ostrich leather. She tells us that this leather is harder to work with, but the finish is so exquisite that it is well worth the effort. Christine’s bags are so beautiful that they will likely be passed down to the next generation.

Square silk Purse Red and Purple @KOTIDesigns

Kaarina creates these silk evening bags for her brand KOTI Designs by marrying her talent for sewing, her passion for silk and her appreciation for Japanese design. Simply beautiful, these evening bags are perfect with your favourite “little black dress” and simply stunning with a black tie outfit.

silk-evening-bag-half-moon-shape-in-black-and-scarlet-and-gold @KOTIDesigns

Nancy Newman sources her silk from vintage Japanese kimonos for her mini purses. These tiny evening bags are your partner for a night out, just large enough for your phone, credit card and keys. They are also little head-turners in the striking silk designs.

Mini Evening Bag Made from Vintage Kimono Fabric @NancyNemanTextiles

Take a look at the whole evening bag collection here.

Pin to your fashion board for outfit inspiration:

Silk and Leather Evening Bags made by designers.

 

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