Photographed by Bek Andersen.
From the moment you step into the courtyard of the Italian heritage leather goods house Fontana Milano 1915, you can feel the warmth of a family-run business surround you. A visitor is greeted with quite the welcoming entrance: lush greenery, a pristine storefront, and finished collections of handbags proudly displayed in the artful showroom. The company’s care and attention to detail do not stop at the ground floor. There’s loving scrutiny paid to every crevice throughout the factory, reaffirming what it means to truly stand for quality.
On a cool, crisp afternoon in Milan, The Window team got lost in the wondrous house of Fontana. This visit did not come without its secrets. As we brushed through the immaculate floors, artisans all around—protective of their projects with other brands—swiftly covered their work in an effort to keep the designs confidential. While we can’t say their names (Pheobe Philo wouldn’t like that much—whoops, we never were known for being covert!), we can attest that the sheer volume of luxury goods under one roof had us buzzing with exhiliration. Mustering up the restraint of a gluten-free devotee presented with a Freds robiola truffle oil pizza, we proceeded on with the tour and refrained from scooping up every piece in sight and making a run for the Swiss border.
Escorted through the space by Fontana designer Roberta Giacobbe—a chic woman with round tortoise frames and the beaming smile of a proud mom to her family of craftsman—we poked and prodded our way through, observing what goes into a product that can authentically be labeled as a luxury. With seemingly no less than a hundred hands contributing to the fabrication of one bag, we took in all we could and left the Porta Romana district with a renewed respect for each carefully placed piece of hardware, hand-sewn pocket, and painted-edge corner. Below, come along with us as we visit the best-kept secret in the industry.
Upstairs, natural light poured into the workspace, which was filled with craftsmen carefully cutting out patterns for the studded satchel, tum tum tote and double-slip tab messenger. Each style of bag was tended to individually, treated as the unique project it was.
Our attempts on being discreet and non-disruptive were futile. We were welcomed into each room and chatted up feverishly. Even when a language barrier was presented, we were still shown through the process with clear excitement.
At this point of the tour, we happened upon Karolina Kurkova chatting up the Fontana team. Exactly what the supermodel was doing there will remain a half-mystery, but she seemed as delighted by the company as we were.
Kurkova takes a go at the stamping station producing a K.K. monogram on the inside of her new top-handle satchel.Once each piece of the bag is completed, it moves along to the hardware station.Fontana is not only known for its fine leathers but also for the cutom hardware created for the collection. Polished metals, purposeful zippers, and thoughtfully placed studs and closures ensure a sturdy bag that’s aesthetically pleasing.At Luca’s station, pictured here, you can see all the parts of the top-handle satchel laid out for hardware assembly.
A finished Fontana Milano studded baby cartella satchel with hundreds of meticulously placed tiny studs.
SHOP ALL FONTANA MILANO 1915
Pictured: Fontana Tum Tum mini tote; Fontana Tum Tum small tote; Fontana double slip-tab messenger; Fontana studded Tum Tum large tote; Fontana top-handle satchel; Fontana studded pochette clutch; Fontana studded Baby Cartella satchel.