Model: Soo Joo Park Hair: Shin Arima Make up: Kristi Matamoros
In the front room of Eddie Borgo’s Elizabeth Street studio in Manhattan, the signature cone bracelets and gemstones aren’t quite enough to distract from the display of sumptuous Italian-made handbags in colors called Evergreen, Blush, Frost, and Jet. The ladylike designs, inspired by 1950s Americana—think of a vintage Cadillac Series 62—aren’t a continuation of Borgo’s self-titled jewelry line but a new thought altogether.
“If someone heard that we were doing bags, there would be an expectation as to what they would look like,” says Borgo. (This is, after all, the man who once designed a pavé-crystal padlock necklace in homage to Sid Vicious.) “What we’ve grown to realize is that our customer is very discreet, and I wanted the bags to reflect that attitude. We want her to wear these every day.”
As such, Borgo’s designs focus on functionality and durability as much as aesthetics. The box calf leather of the exterior is coated in a powdered rubber, which nods to Borgo’s punk appeal but also prevents dings and scratches. A mirrored compact with a wrist strap comes with four of the seven styles and holds cash and cards in case one must abandon her bag at, say, the office. (“I wanted there to be an element of surprise,” Borgo says.) And though styles range in size from a large doctor’s bag a tiny cross-body that converts from day to evening with the removal of a leather canteen case, each is deceptively lightweight thanks to the ingenious use of aluminum. “We’re really in the third industrial revolution,” says Borgo, “and I love objects with functioning engineered details and thought-provoking design elements.”