No Excess Baggage
For the money-to-burn crowd comes a luggage collection from Rolls-royce that costs more than the average car,
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.”