From design to art direction, PR to styling, Benoit Duvignacq’s resume reads like a handbook on fashion career choices. Training at the prestigious ESMOD Paris school in pattern drafting and design, Benoit soon found himself at Sonia Rykiel as a communications assistant to her daughter Nathalie. After a period styling several of Rykiel’s sub lines, Benoit also had a stint in the accessories design department, where he immediately felt at home. But never one to sit still, he then moved on to work with photographer Sarah Moon as an agent and stylist for her shoots for Citizen K magazine, and as an assistant to creative Director Monica Pilosio, while working freelance on press campaigns for the likes of Longchamp and Paula Ka.
Benoit finally came full circle as Art Director at SAMPLES, Italy, where he was asked to design a line of bags under his own name. And thus the Benoit Duvignacq brand was born. Craftsmanship has been featured at the top of his list from the beginning—all bags are made in France using the same factory that manufactures pieces for the likes of such impressive labels as YSL, Dior, Vuitton and Chloé. Benoit, however, foregoes the glamour heavy “It bag” route, choosing instead to keep things simple with a range based on simple shapes as well as precisely chosen colors and skins.
For spring/summer ’09, available via www.ninaandlola.com, he continues this theme, looking towards clever uses of volume and space to create practical, comfortable unisex bags. Shapes are inspired by classic styles: the bowling bag, cabin bag, weekend carrier and the holdall in muted greys, black, plum, olive and brighter tones aquamarine, orange, red and racing green. With contrast handles, a range of skins (from goat to suede, lamb and the ultra rare perch of the Nile) and the option of a special customizing service, it looks like swapping flash for functional might just be the way to go.