In the making
Aspinal of London
Ayoung company at just 15 years old, Aspinal’s rich heritage is perhaps helped by being based deep in the West Sussex countryside and the fact it’s named after the late charismatic zoo owner and gambling club host John Aspinall.
Launched by Iain Burton, who still owns the firm, Aspinal quickly became known for making gorgeous luxury goods, beginning with crafting beautiful leather books for museums around the world—from the Louvre to the natural History Museum—and has since diversified into a range of delightful leather accessories.
Colour is definitely the thing here, with most bags made in at least six different hues. This is a forward thinking brand, always innovating, with technology at the forefront of Creative Director Mariya Dykalo’s mind— there are even in-built charger packs in some bags, a lifesaver for those on the go. Aspinal participates in London Fashion Week and holds regular events in Claridge’s Ballroom.
All ages are catered for—when I last popped in, an ecstatic girl was being bought her 18thbirthday present—but I also know some grandmothers who have a vast collection of the company’s leatherbound books, which still make up 20% of the sales. Whether a game book, cellar book, dinner party book or a social diary, these volumes are here to stay. The store at 25, Brook Street, London W1, is a sight to behold—i often wish its walls could talk (or hum a tune), as Handel lived and composed for 36 years in the panelled back room there —the museum is upstairs.
Aspinal is about to open a new flagship store on Lower Regent Street, which will ‘feel like stepping into an English home,’ enthuses Mariya, ‘a feeling we aim to create in every store’, where service is of upmost importance. Even if you’re buying something small, staff treat your purchase with care— beautifully wrapped with a gorgeous box and ribbon—and you’ll leave feeling as if you’ve bought into something very British indeed.
Maria’s tips for travelling with your hangbags
‘When packing bags in your luggage, always pad the inside of the bag with other clothes—roll up your scarves and socks to help keep the shape—which is also economic on space. Spread bags between clothes, not near shoes, so they are surrounded by soft fabrics. When you’re not using them, stuff them with tissue paper and store them carefully, although it’s fun to have them on show so you can chop and change easily. Keep essentials in a smaller pouch that you can easily move from one bag to another, which is perfect for travel and doubles as an evening bag.’
‘and We are always learning, evolving improving the product, but keeping the timeless English feel Mariya Dykalo talks to Hetty Chidwick
Beautiful Soul Lottie Bag in smooth misty blue and blossom print, £495 (www.aspinaloflondon.com; 01428 648180)