We speak with the founder of Wandler, a new luxury leather goods brand fusing vibrant colour with minimalist design principles
Who is it? In the seven months that Wandler has been active as a luxury leather goods brand, it has caught the eye of buyers working at some of the most high-end e-tailers worldwide. Having launched on Net-a-Porter just last week, its handbags, crafted in Italy, are also due to be stocked at Matches and Browns early next year. But for founder Elza Wandler, the move towards full-time accessory design is a relatively new venture. “I come from a fashion background, and I studied at the Amsterdam School of Design,” she explains. “I previously worked for a brand where I designed apparel for a while, but it was there I learnt that I truly have a passion for doing accessories instead of clothing, when I dabbled in designing accessories for men. It’s more sculptural.”
As such, Wandler’s first ever collection is comprised of five key pieces that reflect her penchant for painting and sculpture, with the designer looking to abstract Modernist artist Imi Knoebel, whose minimalist work has drawn comparisons with Bauhaus and Suprematism, for inspiration. The Hortensia bag is pleasingly round, for example, compared to the Lotta tote which is simplistically square. The Miles, is a structured cross-body with a distinguishable closure tab, in delectable colourways such as mint and rose, black and olive or sweet apple. The miniature Anna wallet fastens around the waist and is tinted in dusty blue and tan, whereas the roomy Mia – a trapeze shape – is the perfect everyday holdall.
Wandler has exacting standards when it comes to achieving the perfect shade, describing her meticulous colour development as central to her work. “I found this amazing leather supplier who was willing to partner with us and they are super precise with colours, so I give them the swatch and they re-create it exactly,” she notes. “The colours I use are complex. For example, one of the white bags has four different tones of the shade.” The new collection’s lookbook, shot by Leonardo Scotti and styled by Georgia Tal, equally marries Wandler’s love of fashion and art, with its playful and vibrant images in vivid tones.
Why do I want it? “My vision for Wandler is that I’m always searching for a balance between the hyper-feminine and androgynous in my design philosophy,” Wandler explains. “Our bags should have this ‘wow effect’ when you carry them, yet they shouldn’t be screaming for your attention.” Wandler has succeeded with her namesake brand, for each piece could easily be styled with simple silhouettes as the central feature to an ensemble, or incorporated into a look that errs on the side of the avant-garde. As for the Wandler woman? “She’s absolutely anyone who feels drawn to it. I like to think the product is quite accessible; I want a woman with her Balenciaga knife boots to love her Wandler bag just as much as a woman who works at a bank, for example, and prefers to look more understated on a day-to-day basis.”
Where can I find it? Exclusively at Net-a-Porter, but soon to be stocked at Matches, Browns, Mytheresa.com and selected global boutiques.