When Mansur Gavriel dropped its debut collection of leather totes and bucket bags in 2013, the way everything immediately sold out is the stuff of fashion lore. The brand — which makes beautiful, timeless, and minimally but thoughtfully designed accessories — had become an overnight sensation within fashion circles.
Inadvertently, cofounders Rachel Mansur and Floriana Gavriel had tapped into (and perhaps ushered in) an aesthetic shift through the lens of high-end bags and, later on, shoes. During that post-recession era, I myself remember being averse to anything that was gratuitously logo-driven or burdened with superfluous hardware — those types of accessories didn’t quite fit the cultural mood. And then along came Mansur Gavriel. Even without any bells or whistles in the brand’s designs, you could always tell a Mansur Gavriel when you saw one: those defiantly boxy silhouettes, clean lines, and smooth-leather finishes. A tiny gold-stamped “Mansur Gavriel” humbly gracing the very bottom of the bags. Imitators could never.
Mansur Gavriel has been on the scene for nearly a decade now. A lot has changed culturally, but the brand has remained steadfast in its aesthetic throughout all its handbag and ballet flat iterations. It’s only fitting that Mansur and Gavriel, the design duo, have long been thinking about their eponym (comprised of both their last names, of course) now that the brand has matured to veteran status in the fashion industry.
For fall, Mansur Gavriel has released two styles that subtly celebrate the brand’s namesake — the M Frame Bag and the Mini M Frame Bag. You can see how the “M” has been cleverly incorporated into the zippered closure construction. “We are not a logo-driven brand, but we have often thought about logo and what that might mean to a minimal brand like Mansur Gavriel,” the cofounders write Refinery29 via email. “With that said, we love graphic design and beautiful typography treatment. For the M Frame Bag, we thought it would be interesting to approach logo through typography in a more abstract way.” As a person who has long admired Mansur Gavriel but has never owned an everyday luxury handbag before, I knew what had to be done: I had to acquire a Mini M Frame in Black/Flamma.
First off, I’m so delighted by how lightweight this Mansur Gavriel bag is — I just hate when luxury bags, without anything in them, are already several pounds heavy. Back and shoulder pain is not chic. There was no interior lining in the bag (as expected if you know the Mansur Gavriel way), but the black colorway had this strikingly gorgeous rouge within. When I ask about the leather used, the duo says, “The Mini M Frame Bag is made with smooth Italian calf leather, which takes color really well,” hinting at the other vibrant colorways of Crema, Grass, Ocean, and Camel. “In contrast, the leather we used for our first collection of handbags nearly 10 years ago was a natural vegetable-tanned Italian leather, which develops a patina over time. While we still produce handbags in that leather, for the M Frame Mini Bag, we love the saturation and shine of the Italian calf leather.” Secondly, I love the compact size of this Mini since I’m not a person who likes to tote around too much stuff — it snugly carries everything I need for errands and evenings out. (Those who need a roomier option can opt for the shoulder bag version.) The double-zip construction that meets in the middle of the M is a unique detail as well.
It’s often hard for me to justify the price tags of super-luxurious items unless the cost per wear is worth it — and while some folks might reserve their most expensive wares for special occasions, this Mansur Gavriel bag is an example of a deluxe accessory that’s meant to be worn day in and day out, which I appreciate. What’s the point of buying a pricey fashion item if it’ll rarely be seen? Plus, talk about an instant style enhancer — this M Frame bag has the ability to draw just the right amount of complimentary attention. It’s premium without being too over the top, high end while remaining understated. A really charming accompaniment to whatever outfit I plan to throw on for the day.
The M Frame shoulder and crossbody bags aren’t the only styles dropping this fall. You can expect plenty of evolutions to classic best sellers and new flourishes to recent cult favorites. “We innovated our most-loved styles — we gave our best-selling Mini Cloud Clutch a playful twist with a hand-marbled resin chain and restocked our sold-out colors, including the gorgeous Leaf hue, which has been selling out over and over since it was introduced,” say Mansur and Gavriel. “And to celebrate our iconic Bucket Bag, we updated the classic shape in three new ways: with a chunky resin chain, with a new top handle and luxurious gold hardware, and with whimsical knotting in contrasting colors.” May the Mansur Gavriel legacy carry on (and carry our stuff) throughout another decade.
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