When leather goods are perfectly crafted—the details are so precise, the shapes so timeless, and the materials so genuine—they don’t need to change. Such is the case with Il Bisonte, the Italian leather goods label with a cult following of bohemian tastemakers from around the world.
While the Florence-based company itself has grown since debuting their now-iconic totes, backpacks, and accessories in all natural, vegetable-tanned leather in 1970, its heritage of traditional Tuscan artisanship has remained intact.
Founded by the eclectic designer Wanny Di Filippo, whose imaginative mind has steered a steep path of success since opening his workshop in the Palazzo Corsini in the heart of Florence, Il Bisonte has resonated with a global consumer seeking stylish and practical accessories for daily toting and travel.
“We have always drawn our inspiration from everyday life, from comfort, and ease of use,” says Di Filippo, who, after meeting his wife Nadia on a ferry to Sardinia, decided to channel his lifelong creativity into a business. “When someone chooses Il Bisonte, we believe that we enter their life and stay there. It’s an emotional connection. Our products are decided to be handy, simple, and versatile, like an extension of yourself rather than a big statement.”
Beyond the romance, the magic of Il Bisonte’s assorted soft briefcases, messenger bags, and travel totes exists in the leather. Using a traditional Tuscan process of vegetable tanning, an Il Bistonte bag only gets better with time, embracing the unique qualities impressed on it with each wear.
Barneys’ men’s Executive Vice President Tom Kalenderian has carried the same Il Bisonte backpack since the early 1980s and finds that each year it takes on a new property or dimension.
“It’s my favorite thing that fits exactly the right purpose,” says Kalenderian of the khaki sack he favors for beach trips. “Il Bisonte is very human and natural. It’s simple, chic, and that’s why it attracts people. The only thing that has changed since working with them 35 years ago and now is the addition of new shapes and new fabrics. But if you look at the collections then and now, the evolution is seamless. Their brand means the same thing as it did then.”