Queen’s beloved handbag label Launer launches Traviata collection in bold new hues (are they inspired by Her Majesty’s love of colour)
10:54 GMT, 29 August 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 enduring sense of style.
At 86, the Queen manages to impress at every public appearance with her sartorial flair.
But while her busy team of dressmakers stitch ever more 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 (she has a longer handle added so she can carry it over her arm, and has lighter or smaller versions created), usually carries the distinctive Diva or Traviata styles in black to let the cornucopia of colours she is fond of wearing speak for themselves.
And now, in preparation for the spring/summer catwalk collections for 2013, the royal bag maker has unveiled a clutch of colourful handbags.
The brightly toned bags are reworkings of the Traviata and are available in three new shades, canary yellow, teal and sky blue.
traditional structured style – a favourite with Launer customers since its debut more than 18
years ago – is set to be launched in November, and will capitalise on the soaring popularity Launer has experienced since the Jubilee, when the Queen's unswerving loyalty to the bag brand saw a 50 per cent spike in sales.
The brand gave a nod to the Olympics earlier this summer too, with a range of bronze, silver and gold Lydia bags launched at a pop-up store in Selfridges.
All of the bags sold out as shoppers rushed to purchase a piece of Royal and Olympic history rolled into one.
Twist on a classic: Launer London has released the Traviata in a range of bright colours
The Traviata handbag exemplifies the Launer brand. 'A classic shape in a traditional style, but in trend-led colouways,' says Gerald Bodmer Launer bag's distinctive clasp makes it easily identifiable'
Says Gerald Bodmer, Managing and
Creative Director of Launer, 'The royal family still means huge business
for the UK, and there is still a big international appetite for any and
all things associated with royalty.
'However, we are seeing more requests for trend-led designs, with customers seeking to put their
own stamp on our signature bags.
'Who knows, this time next year the
Queen may have forgone her traditional black and be sporting one of our
lovely bags in colour pop'.
'The Traviata handbag exemplifies the Launer brand; a classic shape in a traditional style, but in trend-led colourways.
'We’re finding it’s our most popular style with consumers in their late twenties, who are prepared to spend on investment pieces rather than the next ‘It’ bag. Customers also tend to purchase more than one, and really view the Traviatas as collectibles.
'Each bag is handmade to order in the UK and the utmost care and attention is paid to every detail by our craftsman, so they really will stand the test of time.
'Five years ago, small accessories like purses & wallets accounted for 90 per cent of sales at the label. This year, handbags in fashion-forward styles and colours account for 65 per cent of all sales.'
November with prices starting at 1,080, the Launer collection is available from
Selfridges, John Lewis and Fortnum & Mason or a wider selection at www.launer.com.
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.