Launched in April 2017 by Melissa Morris and Reinhard Mieck, L.O.N.B. is a collection of luxury leather goods redefined for the 21st century. In an effort to combine form and function, L.O.N.B sources the highest quality materials from Italy and France and handcrafts all product exclusively in Italy. Here, we sat down with Morris to talk all things related to the label—from the inspiration behind its launch to hopes for how the brand will evolve over time. Read it all below and shop the range in store on 1.
Bergdorf Goodman: What inspired you to start L.O.N.B.?
Melissa Morris: I believe that luxury products should be as purposeful and lasting as they are beautiful and refined. Simply said, I created L.O.N.B. because I experienced a clear gap in the market. Technology has revolutionized all our lives- we are on the go more than ever- but the inside of a bag has never changed to keep up. You would never buy a luxury car if it doesn’t drive so why would you buy a luxury bag if it doesn’t carry? I wanted to create a collection that eases and enhances the life of today’s connoisseur- who is often on the go from morning to night. I wanted to create pieces that allowed them to no longer compromise luxury standards for functional needs. The collection is a perfect intersection of form, function and craft.
BG: How would you describe the brand in 5 words?
MM: Purposeful, perfected, soulful, detailed, discerning.
BG: Can you take us through the design process from start to finish?
MM: In my collection, there is one product for one journey. It is very important to me that each piece is timeless and lasting. We craft everything in Italy from the best quality materials and have thoroughly tested each piece to ensure it can be passed down from generation to generation.
When I create a new piece, I start by thinking about a journey that I haven’t addressed in the collection. Then I think of everything you need to carry for that journey and how you move through your day. For example, our backpack has a hidden pocket on the back so that when you are wearing it and your phone rings, you just reach behind you and you can grab your phone.
Once I have this all mapped out, I start to design and each piece takes shape. While functionality is key, form is equally important. Each piece must be refined and elegant. Pockets shouldn’t look utilitarian or casual. I like a certain effortlessness that is matched with sophistication. I often reference cars, watches and boats from the 1960s. For me, this is the perfect reference of functional design that is still soulful and elegant. It’s very much in the style of Steve McQueen.
Once I have sketched each piece, I then create a scale one- which is a life size drawing of the bag. I actually build it into a 3D model so I can check all the proportions and ensure all the functionality works exactly as I wanted.
From there I head to my atelier in Italy where I have a world class team. We work together to bring each piece to life.. The thickness of every panel of leather in every material is tested and balanced.. We are looking for that coveted effortless slouch that is still lasting and easy to use.. This type of work is incredibly specialized and took us 3 years to hone.. We studied pressure points and developed a unique method to craft our bags so that they are as lasting as they are lightweight.
From there, we go through several proto rounds to perfect every detail and then we move into wear testing. We have several people wear test each product. This not only ensures everything is lasting, but also allows us to make any final optimizations based on feedback.
From there, each is tested officially in a testing facility in Italy.. It simulates rain, wind, humidity and heavy impact..Once these tests are passed, we move into production!
BG: Why did you pick Goodman’s as your exclusive partner?
MM: L.O.N.B. is created for the discerning and modern man and woman. It represents handcrafted luxury to the highest standards.. It is detailed and sophisticated.. Goodman’s shares these values and we are honored for our first point of sale outside of our London shop to be with you.
BG: How would you like to see the brand evolve over time?
MM: We launched in April 2017 and sold for the first 1.5 years exclusively from our shop in London and our e-commerce site, lonb.com. I am so excited to be expanding to NYC as so many of our clients are from the US (as am I!). For me, it is the most rewarding to consistently get feedback from our clients that they have never had a bag they have loved more and our products truly ease and enhance their lives. I want to continue to expand to allow this experience to men and women all over the world. That said, it must be kept focused enough that I can ensure our quality meets our exacting standards. We hand make each piece and use such artisanal processes-it is not something that can be over-produced or rushed. L.O.N.B. is built on uncompromising values- so this will always be inherent to everything we do. In fact, L.O.N.B. stands for philosophy, love or nothing baby. It says it all, really.