Bienen Davis handbags are reinventing modern-day luxury
Bienen Davis was the glamorous luxury handbag brand of America in 1931. Fine Italian craftsmanship combined with American design created the bag that was found on countless Hollywood movie sets and television shows.
After indefinitely closing the brand in 1976, Richard K. Bienen, fourth-generation child of the Bienen family, revived it to become the luxury label it is today.
Raised by a dad who worked in the bag-making business and a mother who was a former model, Bienen was inspired to re-create the label with inspiration drawn from earlier collections.
“The bags are designed to have as much function as they do style,” Creative director Meredith German said. “That certainly draws from the original design of the ’40s.”
German attributed the distinction of each bag to the original technique and craftsmanship from the artisans in Italy. Many of the handbag styles like the PM Clutch and Régine include side pockets that were originally intended for cigarette packs. Nowadays, they’re mostly used for lipstick.
A-list celebrities such as Lizzo, Zendaya and Giovanna Engelbert have been seen sporting the unique bags.
Palm Beach’s Royal Poinciana Plaza held a Bienen Davis trunk show last Friday where a plethora of the handbags were on display and ready to be purchased.
Popularity and celebrity endorsement aside, Bienen Davis is more than just a handbag label.
With each bag made with the finest silk, velvet, satin and leather directly from Italy, the label easily resonates with the more artistic and attentive side of fashion.
“It takes an eye for beauty – a certain artistic palate,” Bienen Davis trunk show attendee Julia Gohen said. “These bags are pieces of artistry that you can drape off your shoulder.”
Historically, fashion is seldom considered as masterful an art as painting or sculpting. It
doesn't sit on the same high horse as architecture, music or pottery. But considering its craft, the opulent handbags are a tangible embodiment of art itself.
Davis has also joined the trend of successfully combining art and fashion in recent years. A Bienen Davis handbag has been added to the permanent collection in the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York City.
The bags come in a variety of patterns, colors and shapes–all of which are accompanied by a substantial price tag ranging from $1,500 to upwards of $4,000, according to the Bienen Davis website.
“Luxury ain’t cheap,” Gohen said, with three Bienen Davis bags on her receipt.
For many, the artistry and skill that go into making each bag are worth the extravagant price. German says the handbags should be seen as an essential element of opulence in one's closet.
By Sofia Jas