We were over the moon last year when Joseph Altuzarra introduced handbags to his namesake line. Not surprisingly, the buzzy designer applied the same thoughtful craftsmanship and unexpected design nuances to his leather goods that he does to his much-sought-after ready-to-wear. That debut collection of hadbags made an instant It-bag of the Ghianda, which comes in both hobo and saddle bag iterations and feature various takes on New Mexico-inspired, intricately braided leather. For Fall ‘16, the Ghianda has managed to get both smaller and more alluring than ever in its latest incarnation as the Chain Strap Saddle Mini—our August Must. Have. Bag.

ALTUZARRA Ghianda Mini Chain Saddle Bag
The braided leather on the Ghianda bags are inspired by New Mexican bull riding ropes.

“It really started from the language of the Ghianda Knot Saddle,” Altuzarra tells The Window. “I wanted to take the idea of braiding and embroidery further and develop it directly on the flap of the bag. I also loved the idea of incorporating metal chain on something that felt softer and more feminine.”

Indeed, the artful mix of elements—sumptuous suede, metal chain, floral-print crepe scarf, and leather embroidery—is especially beguiling given the bag’s compact size. “The mini size felt right for our customer and what she might want for the season,” he explains. “We’ve gotten so much great feedback from our customers about how they’re using the bag and their needs and desires. That’s allowed us to continue working on our offering and developing product that will feel new and desirable.”

ALTUZARRA Ghianda Mini Chain Saddle Bag
“A handbag needs to live with a variety of lifestyles and looks. My bags are about movement,” explains Altuzarra. “It should have a nonchalance when hanging from the shoulder.”

The bag works works seamlessly with the rest of Altuzarra’s Fall ’16 collection, which also plays into well-executed contrasts. “I found the idea of mixing and matching prints very interesting and wearable. You can definitely see cues from the rest of the collection in this Mini Saddle—the Fenice jacket in our floral jacquard or the Winnie dress with handkerchief hem.” We can see it adding dimension to a minimal-leaning look or further intrigue to a print or texture-heavy ensemble.

Beyond the collection, the bag reflects the Altuzarra woman, who we’ve come to know as polished yet unafraid of subversion. “She’s a woman not a girl—quite grown up in her style,” he explains. “She values that the bag is refined but not too precious. I think women want something that feels very special, but that they can also actually use and feel excited about for seasons to come.” We couldn’t agree more.

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