Leather craftsman Marc Marmel stumbled into the handbag trade by accident. While patiently waiting for his luggage to come around an airport conveyor belt in Nice, he noticed that his fellow passengers’ luxury carryalls tossed and turned with discarded abandon. Rather than logo-emblazoned bags without durability or distinctive character, Marmel yearned for that bygone era when each scruff, scratch or tear on a piece of baggage had a story of its own, when travel was as much about the journey as the destination itself.
Combining high-end design with individuality and utility, Marmel’s bags evoke the extravagance of 19th and 20th century leather staples as well as the look and feel of something passed down from your grandmother’s attic. With custom-made Italian cracked leather and vibrant silk patterned brocade linings, each bag is defined by both its unique authenticity and sophisticated flair. Of this contrasting approach, Marmel explains: “I see my aesthetic symbolically like an oyster: an antiqued and textured exterior with a pearl of an interior.”
Since launching in 2005 at Bergdorf Goodman New York and Maxfield LA, Marmel’s collection has evolved from six basic original designs to a full line of luggage, handbags, iPads cases, wallets and accessories. The most recent addition to this cracked leather family is a long-awaited rolling bag, but Marmel is already thinking about everything from photo albums and picture frames to coin and cuff collectors and paper trays. And he’s already begun expanding into home décor.
Recently named Accessories Designer of the Year by Fashion Group International, Marmel’s “talent, skill, commitment and fortitude” stood out over 100 other nominees to earn him the Rising Star Award. Hollywood has also taken a keen interest in his work as celebrities like Charlize Theron, David Beckham, Russell Brand and Reese Witherspoon eagerly pick up Marmel designs.
Unsurprisingly, this high-end line appeals to clients who don’t rely on a logo as the symbol of their status, and who share the romantic ideals of Golden Era travel. The bags cater to both genders and encompass the discreet nuances of leisure and luxury alike, making each piece the lifestyle signature of its owner.