Olympic gold for Launer as Queen's favourite handbag brand unveils medal-inspired range in time for Games
17:00 GMT, 18 June 2012
Loyal fan: The Queen carrying one of her many Launer Diva bags. She has four new ones made for her each year
She has been hailed a fashion icon for her wonderful sense of style.
And at 86 and in her Jubilee year, the Queen still manages to impress at every public appearance with her sartorial flair.
But while her busy team of dressmakers stitch wonderful creations for her myriad public engagements, there is one constant in the Queen's closet: the structured handbags by British firm Launer that she has been carrying for almost as many years as she has reigned.
The Queen has been a loyal customer of the handbag brand for over 50 years – she awarded the firm the Royal Warrant in 1968 – and has four new bags made especially for her every year.
The Queen, who has her Launers made
bespoke to meet her exacting standards, usually carries the distinctive
black Diva or Traviata styles in black to go with the broad gamut of
pastel colours she is fond of.
But now, in time for the Olympics, the royal bag maker has turned its talents to something with a little more pizzazz.
Launer has created a range of three metallic bags in patent calf leather to represent the gold, silver and bronze of the Olympic medals.
The style that has been given the Olympic treatment is the Lydia – the same as
that carried by the Queen on the day of William and Kate's wedding last
year – only the Queen had hers designed a fraction smaller than usual so
as not to detract from her primrose yellow outfit.
traditional structured style – a favourite with Launer customers since its debut more than 18
years ago – is set to be launched on the same day as the Games opening
ceremony on 27 July and will be on sale via Launer's website, www.launer.co.uk.
'Launer is such an intrinsically British brand (from its manufacturing plant in Birmingham to its relationship with the Queen and its long-standing customers), so it was only right with all eyes on the country this year, that Launer be part of that in a big way,' a spokesman for the firm told MailOnline today.
'The Lydia range is inherent to the Launer London name, being amongst one of our earliest styles in one guise or another, so it felt right when doing something to celebrate the Olympics to use this range as a jump-off point.'
But will the Queen be carrying one of the blingy new creations during the Olympic Games Likely not. Launer do give the Queen special edition bags when they release them – indeed, the firm made the Queen a one-off Diamond Jubilee bag to celebrate the her 60 years on the throne – but the monarch almost always plumps for one of the trusty black bags from her collection.
She may be a style icon, but she's a traditionalist at heart.
Going for gold! In honour of the Olympics Launer has designed a range of metallic Lydia bags in colours to represent the Games medals
Attention to detail: The handmade bags bear the same meticulous craftsmanship as the handbags the Queen has carried for over 50 years
The bags, priced at 665, will be available from Launer's website www.launer.com from 27 July.
HISTORY OF THE QUEEN'S HANDBAGS
The Queen has discerning tastes and
exacting standards – and her own strong sense of style. As such, all of the Launer bags carried by the Queen are bespoke.
For the Royal Wedding last year she requested a white Lydia bag be made for her in a
smaller size than is usually available in order that it might not
detract from the primrose yellow outfit she wore on the day.
Day to day, the Queen favours the
Diva (920) and Traviata (1,020) handbags which she requests in
standard issue from Launer, with slight adjustments.
The style she carries most
frequently, the top-handled Diva, is made using fine calf leather, lined
in colour-matched suede and finished with Launer's distinctive gold-plated 'rope' logo fastening.
An inside divider creates two
sections within the zip pocket and a pocket that comes complete with mirror.
It is still not known widely what the Queen keeps in both the pockets.
The Queen carrying her Launer bag on the day of the Jubilee flotilla
In April, the Queen wore her trusty black Launer Diva with a white boucle coat
A white Lydia style made slightly smaller than usual for a discreet Royal Wedding look
The expectation from the royal office is
that the bag has to be easy to carry and not too heavy as the Queen is
often walking around for hours at a time.
During manufacture of the
bags, great attention is paid to the interior lining, where a light
layer of full-grain suede is used to lighten the bags and ensure they’re
not heavy or cumbersome.
A longer handle is used, as opposed to
the traditional short handle, so that the Queen can shake hands without
her handbag getting in the way.
Royal warrant: The Queen has been a loyal fan of Launer bags for over 50 years and favours the Diva
Depending on the modifications requested
or the skin required, the bags, all crafted in Britain, can take up to
two weeks to finish. For special occasions of urgent engagements, the
company can have a bag ready in two days.
Launer was founded by Sam Launer, a Czechoslovakian who moved to the UK 60 years ago, and now led by Gerald Bodmer, who learnt his trade with Rayne, a royal warranted company who made shoes and bags for the Queen Mother.
Bodmer later founded his own company which supplied leather goods to such companies as Bally,
Mappin and Webb, and Asprey, giving him unparalleled experience in the leather industry.
Launer works with all of its
customers, royal or otherwise, directly to customise products from its
site, usually by appointment in its W1 showroom. All products on the
Launer site can be customised in a variety of skins, colourways or with
extra details or engravings. The products are handmade in the softest calf, exotic lizard, and ostrich skin.
The design team, led by Gerald
Bodmer, travels throughout Europe looking at design trends before season
launches, with pattern makers turning designs into reality. All
products are delivered in ornate hardboard black boxes with the gold
Other Launer fans include the Duchess
of Cornwall (she carried one at her wedding to Prince Charles), Japan’s
Crown Princess Masako, Russian President Dmitry Medvedev’s wife
Svetlana, Dame Judi Dench, Dame Maggie Smith and Baroness Thatcher.