No Ex­cess Bag­gage

For the money-to-burn crowd comes a lug­gage col­lec­tion from Rolls-royce that costs more than the av­er­age car,

Hong Kong Tatler - - Luggage - writes Peter Shad­bolt

It’s lug­gage, cap­tain, but not as we know it. From its sleek lines to its care­fully en­gi­neered han­dles, and to its al­to­gether other-worldly price tag of US$42,606, the Rolls-royce Wraith Lug­gage Col­lec­tion goes boldly where no au­to­mo­tive lux­ury ac­ces­sory has gone be­fore.

De­signed to fit snugly into the trunk of the new US$320,000 Rolls-royce Wraith, the col­lec­tion is aimed at a nar­row, dis­cern­ing mar­ket that rarely han­dles its own lug­gage—but if it does, it wants it to look as ef­fort­less as James Bond ne­go­ti­at­ing a bag­gage carousel in Monaco.

Rolls-royce be­spoke de­signer Michael Bry­den ex­plains that the six-piece col­lec­tion—which com­prises two large Grand Tourer valises, three Long Week­ender bags and a Gar­ment Car­rier—took many months of in­ten­sive re­search and de­sign. “We spent some time at a high-end ho­tel in Lon­don speak­ing with their head butlers to get an un­der­stand­ing of how cus­tomers in­ter­act with their lug­gage,” he ex­plains.

Bry­den says that while the concierge might han­dle a Grand Tourer, the Wraith is very much a driver’s car and that cus­tomers will al­ways need bags they carry them­selves. “One very in­ter­est­ing point that came out of our re­search was that cus­tomers will travel with high-value items such as time­pieces and jew­ellery—and they might want to carry them them­selves so as not to let them out of their sight,” he says.

The team spent al­most as much time on the han­dles as it did on other com­po­nents in the car­bon-fi­bre lug­gage col­lec­tion, Bry­den adds. “The han­dles come to­gether to cre­ate quite a large sur­face area so that you can grab hold—it spreads the weight so that it doesn’t dig into the cus­tomer’s hand. There’s noth­ing more an­noy­ing than a heavy bag that has stitch­ing in the han­dle that cuts into you.”

To that end, the team in­vested in the same lines of in­vis­i­ble stitch­ing that can be found on the steer­ing wheel of the new Wraith. It also metic­u­lously en­gi­neered the han­dles for left­ies as well as right­ies. “Whether you’re a left-han­der or a right-han­der, the feel is ex­actly the same,” says Bry­den, who ex­plains that the team tire­lessly worked at the metal in the han­dles un­til the level of re­sis­tance was the same no mat­ter which hand grasped the han­dle.

Other touches in­clude the same self-right­ing wheel cen­tres—with the world-renowned dou­ble-r mar­que on them—that can be found on the cars. “When we got one of the first lug­gage pro­to­types back, the RR was spin­ning around and we im­me­di­ately thought, ‘That just doesn’t look right.’ We spent a great deal of time scal­ing that down to make it work on a lug­gage piece,” says Bry­den.

The Long Week­ender bags also mag­net­i­cally dock in the trunk to stop them from rat­tling around when the Wraith is on the move. “It’s lit­tle con­sid­er­a­tions like this that sets this lug­gage apart from any­thing else in the world,” he says.

Bry­den, who at just 25 is one of Rolls-royce’s brightest ris­ing stars, pre­vi­ously tried his hand at de­sign­ing the in­te­ri­ors of pri­vate planes, he­li­copters and su­pery­achts be­fore join­ing Rolls-royce nearly four years ago. Now head­ing up the brand’s cus­tomer one-off re­quests, he says he is used to the idio­syn­cratic de­mands of some of his su­per-wealthy clients.

“We had one cus­tomer who was very pas­sion­ate about paint and colours,” re­calls Bry­den. “He pointed to a par­tic­u­larly vivid pur­ple flower and said, ‘Make me a Rolls-royce the colour of that flower.’ We’ve since gone on to do a lot of work with him.”

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