Could canvas be the new trend in high-end bags and luggage? If L/UNIFORM have their way, the answer is a resounding oui! This tiny, minimalist boutique opened in late April, on the newly fashion-focused Quay Malaquais, just a few minutes’ walk from the Musée d’Orsay.
Exhibited in pristine, backlit boxes which line the boutique’s walls, the canvas bags on offer vary in size and style – from dainty pencil cases and make-up pouches to dapper check-in luggage. They’re all glamorous, very stylish versions of the kind of sturdy, utilitarian canvas sacs produced by the likes of LL Bean, but in a beautiful, spot-cleanable cotton-linen blend.
The bags’ most distinguishing feature, besides their lightness, is the possibility for customisation. A range of five canvas colours – navy, black, beige, red and khaki – plus eight choices for the piping, in canvas or leather, make for a multitude of chic combinations. Add a monogram in one of ten colours and you can really make any bag your own. The larger, ‘carry-on’ styles would really stand out in, say, navy with pink or bright yellow piping.
The year-old bagage brand is based in the beautiful walled village of Carcassonne, in the Languedoc, where the bags are both made and customised at a special atelier. If a customised bag is special-ordered at the Paris boutique, the work takes two weeks as everything’s made-to-order.
Bear in mind that L/UNIFORM’s bags aren’t exported outside the Euro zone. A clerk advised that if you want a customised sac and are in Europe for a spell, for the fastest turnaround, you’re better off ordering via the website.
However, if you’re only in Paris for a short visit, don’t worry as the boutique stocks every bag in several colours– they’re all so functional and sleek you’ll want one of each.
Each of the bags has a ‘model number’ and my favourite is ‘No 37’, a replica of the adorable sacs which are essential for every Parisian school kid, with a fold-over top, a wide strap and leather buckles; and ‘No 7’, a well-proportioned, zip-fronted mini-backpack that’s perfect for a laptop and books. Consider these durable, wonderfully light and virtually indestructible bags as an investment in everyday style.
L/UNIFORM, 21 quai Malaquais, Paris 6th. Tel: +33 1 42 61 76 27.
From France Today magazine