Add one part New York retro, one part fine Italian artisan work and a whole lot of cutting-edge style and you’ve got yourself some pretty nifty, scene-stealing handbags. With a boutique in Paris and another in Milan, if you haven’t heard Corto Moltedo’s name yet, start getting familiar with it.
This breakthrough young designer may have been born into the luxury goods dynasty that is Bottega Veneta (his parents are the brand's founders Laura and Vittorio Moltedo), but it’s his own unique style that has captured the industry’s attention. He learned the trade firsthand from his parents, following them on their worldwide travels before branching out with his own eponymous line. We caught up with Moltedo at his Milan boutique on its first anniversary to learn more about him and his must-have accessories.
What inspired you to launch your own handbag line?
I launched in 2004 when I was 26. I had grown up with this whole (fashion) talk and I also started working in my parent’s factory when I was a kid, from the bottom up. I was interested in all of it, clothes, bags, shoes, but I decided to start with what I knew how to do and specialize in that.
You really seem to have this design insight into what the modern girl wants in a bag, they’re cute, they’re practical and they really stand out, where do you get the ideas for them?
I think it’s just my whole upbringing and spending time in the shops my whole life combined with a lot of travelling. (Some things are strictly for women) then a lot is unisex, there’s nothing specifically ‘men’s men’s,’ because some of the things I designed (strictly) for men, but then women like wearing them. Ideally I had designed it (the men’s pochettes) for myself.
What is this one made out of?
This is goatskin, all the skins come from France, Spain and Italy, depending.. I go and choose the best ones from each area, then I make custom colours and they’re all basically tailor made.
And the operation is based in Florence?
Yes the atelier is based in Florence and I do all the designing and manufacturing from there. There are about 18 of us in the company and about nine in the workshop. We do a very limited, clean and direct distribution just at my shop here in Milan and one in Paris.
Why did you choose via Santo Spirito for your boutique in Milan?
I think it suits the brand, the idea, it’s very niche and specific. I designed this store with my architect Roberto Gerosa – in Paris I did the design by myself. It was very important to have my signature elements, which are blue and white stripes and wood and Roberto added the marble touches. We kept it clean and it doesn’t reference any certain period, it just had to have its own lifestyle (vibe) to it.
You’ve got a jukebox in your boutique in Paris and a piano in the back of the Milan shop, does it ever get played during store hours? Do you play?
Yeah, we’ve got a pianist that comes every Saturday. I don’t play yet, I want to learn though.
I really love the cassette tape clutch design you have, where did that comes from?
It’s my ode to the single tape cassette of my childhood, from when I was a kid going to buy cassette tapes and spending a lot of time in record shops. It’ll be a permanent part of my collections, but it’ll keep changing. Some are more canvas-y, sometimes it’s all leather, sometimes they’ll have piping.
The pill shaped clutch that we’ve also see at Bottega Veneta is another great shape.
Yeah it’s got enough space for you to put whatever you want in, some people put their reading glasses, Blackberrys, some put their cameras and credit cards.
How have you gotten the word out about your brand?
It’s word of mouth really, people are coming here, kind of discovering it and then coming back and telling their friends about it and then one thing leads to another. I don’t do distribution, just my two boutiques, so you have to come here.
NB. If you can't make it out to Paris or Milan, don't despair just yet, you can order online!
Jardins Du Palais Royal
Galerie De Valois
T: 33 (0)1 4927 9791
14, via Santo Spirito
T: 39 02 3668 3713