As part of the launch of Métier London, the understated leather goods brand that’s unequivocally in its own league in today’s luxury world, David and Elliot decided it would be sensible to visit the unique store in Mayfair to pick out their Christmas presents. Nothing out of the ordinary, their methods of transport just happened to be an Aston Martin DB5 and 1930s Bentley Blower, naturally.
Here, we speak with the luxury brand’s founder and find out what makes it so special.
All photographs by Amy Shore.
Like in bespoke tailoring, much of the painstakingly hard and time-consuming work goes into the internal areas that can only be truly appreciated by the wearer. Construction is key, for it allows movement and flow. The look and style are arguably secondary but they’re entirely reliant on the primary element in order to be able to sing. This is very much the same with Métier London, a leather goods brand based in Mayfair that’s the latest name to join our arsenal of British brands, where the inside is just as important as the outside.
David and Elliot with their Christmas presents outside the store on South Audley Street in Mayfair. Cars not included, sadly.
Founded in 2017 by Melissa Morris, Métier London is quite possibly the most brilliant leather goods brand for men and women we’ve ever come across. Based on South Audley Street in Mayfair, it’s an understated and sleek brand, with an unrivalled level of attention to detail on all of its range, fitted with smooth and functional components that make life and travel so much easier and enjoyable. When an object, be it any object, has the ability to enhance your life like that – or present “elegant solutions for modern problems,” as Morris calls it – you know it’s special.
All of Métier's bags are designed with a specific journey in mind, whether that be via air or by car.
“Technology has revolutionised our lives and I wanted to create a collection of leather goods which could keep up with our pace of life. The idea of Métier is supreme functionality without having to compromise luxury craft or style,” Melissa tells Mason & Sons. Interestingly, Melissa’s journey in founding the company didn’t follow the usual route consisting of a background in fashion design. Instead, she studied sculpture and business at Emory University and she believes that “having a non-traditional design background helps me to see new possibilities.”
Introducing the Runaway portfolio, which brilliantly works with the entire range of day and travel bags.
Now, ‘Elegant solutions for modern problems’ is an intriguing statement, but what exactly are modern problems in this regard? It’s perhaps easier to ask what are modern items and then deduct the issues that arise from having them? There’s your iPhone, iPad, laptop, passport, wallet, keys, business cards, and more, all of which are, for example, easily muddled and lost within a standard receptacle these days, especially at moments when they’re most inconvenient (ie: at passport control at JFK). Métier’s range of leather goods solves those issues so you don’t have to worry about them. It’s that simple.
The Runaway, which stores all of your modern day essentials, can be elegantly carried in your hand.
Part of this comes courtesy of the Runaway portfolio, which brilliantly clips into each of Métier’s travel and day bags and therefore makes sense to start with it. “Luxury to me is not just about style and quality,” Melissa explains. “Luxury design should be the most optimal in function too. I, therefore, decided to start with the core of the issue – organizing our essentials – and work out from there.”
It can also be clipped into your bag, giving you easy access and the most inconvenient of times when travelling.
Your mobile phone slots into a compartment and is easily retrieved by pulling its tab which lifts it out – it’s smart and simple, and saves you having to fumble trying to get it out. Then, there are several other compartments to store the other essentials that can be accessed via different ways with two-way zips and double-entry pockets depending on how the Runaway is being held in your hand or stored inside a bag.
One of Métier's best-sellers, The Vagabond in Marrakech suede.
Interestingly, while Métier prides itself on its use of the finest Italian leathers you can find – and we really mean that – it champions a material that’s not common in luxury leather goods. It features across the entire range on the inside of the bags, but also one side of the Runaway. It goes by the name of Alcantara, and it’s a micro-synthetic fibre that looks and feels like suede, is soft and durable, and is often found inside luxury cars. (We’re not sure if it was around when the DB5 was made, and it’s likely the inventor hadn’t been born by the time the Blower was manufactured.)
Métier's incredibly well-informed and passionate store manager, Leo, takes David through the bag's internal components.
In a beautiful deep maroon, the material is easily wiped clean and it never loses its shade. It’s also the house tone that’s sophistically colour matched to Melissa’s favourite wine Amarone and took six months to perfect. There are few things more gut-wrenchingly worse than damaging suede beyond repair, and the Alcantra eliminates that possibility and gives the range a consistent feel and look. It also means that the Runaway looks great and comfortable within each of the different sized bags, such as the Wanderer, Vagabond, and Closer.
David is carrying the Closer Weekender in Marrakech suede with a reinforced handle to ensure a long-lasting and comfortable life journey.
In terms of the range, each Métier bag is designed to assist the carrier on a specific kind of journey. “When I start to solve what is needed for that journey, I imagine a person going through it - almost like a character,” Melissa explains. Wherever you’re going, there’s a Métier for you, and it will make that journey noticeably more enjoyable. David was enamoured by the Closer Weekend in Marakech suede, while Elliot picked out the Vagabond in black calfskin as his Christmas present.
Elliot and his Christmas present, The Vagabond in black calf.
As mentioned earlier, Melissa didn’t study design, but her education has given her the skills to look at designing a product in a unique way. “I look at each bag as a sculpture and think about its structure and how I can use its shape to cleverly insert hidden pockets in top seams. Or, how I can make the base rounded so it’s softer,” she explains.
Here, you can see the heat-sealed edges of the ring pull, which is a cleaner finish than stitching, and the gold foiling that's used inside Italian cathedrals.
In order to have brought her vision to life, though, she required a craftsman of an extreme calibre and that took her to Italy. “We have known each other for years,” she says of Luca Flavi, who runs the small workshop in Florence. “He is a true master and when I told him what the ambition of Métier was, he immediately signed up. In many ways, together we are preserving true Italian leather goods craftsmanship and it is paramount to him to help lead that mission,” Melissa adds. It takes Flavi a minimum of 20 hours to create a Métier carry or day bag, and as you’d expect it’s entirely made by hand.
Leo walking and talking Elliot through The Vagabond, showing off all of its 'Invisible Luxury' tricks and traits.
Flavi describes much of what he’s capable of creating as ‘Invisible Luxury’, which links us back to the comparison with bespoke tailoring. “So much of our craft is about all the things you can’t see,” Melissa tells us. She continues and tees off on the range’s impressive credentials, starting with the weight. “They are virtually weightless, which was very important to me. We studied a special way to make each panel as thin as possible and reinforce only around the pressure points so that each piece can be the pinnacle of lightweight yet lasting.”
Métier has a range of different sized travel pouches to keep your things organised at all times.
We’re all guilty of packing too much into our lives, both literally and metaphorically, so this is comforting especially when you know that the base of the bag is rounded which softens the blow on your legs when it naturally makes an impact. Métier then takes this one step further and offers a range of packing pouches to keep your things better organised – from shirts to cufflinks, there’s a bag for all your wants and needs – which are beautifully decorated in the house’s signature canvas.
All signature canvas products can be personalised with hand-painted monograms.
It’s inspired by Art Deco with a touch of Arabic architecture, and it’s created via a technique called stippling that utilises lots of varying degrees of density to create patterns and drawings.
A successful day's shopping, Elliot and David both return to their vehicles.
Another notable element that will warm the admirer of the artist’s soul is the heat-sealed edges that can be found across the range. Rather than using stitching to bind two pieces of leather together, heat-sealing does so without any visible markings from a needle and therefore leaving the fine skins untarnished. Then, on an equally small scale, all of the foil used for the discreet logo is sourced from the same suppliers who provide the gold foil used to restore old cathedrals in Italy.
The Vagabond is inspired by vintage motorcycle jackets, like the Schott Perfecto, and artfully borrows some design references. It's perfect as a carry-on bag or a day bag around the city.
It really is the little details “that don’t scream or shout, but all come together to create quality that turns heads,” Melissa says, that makes Métier a truly special company. Name another brand that engineered clasps to mimic the sound of a vintage 911, or tested each bag in a facility that simulates 20 years of use and incorporating wind, rain, 10kg of stones and shaking? We can’t think of any.
David and his new travel companion, the Closer Weekender.
Now, luxury is a word that’s liberally bestowed and self-prescribed these days to such an extent that it’s lost its true meaning. It’s the marketeers go-to buzzword to trick consumers into buying something that’s sub-par ad it’s a byproduct of a growing and competitive market. It’s a relief then that there’s a business like Métier to set the record straight, and make life’s journey considerably more enjoyable.
Explore the entire Métier range, here.
Heading home after a long and hard day of shopping.