Ancient Greek Sandals

LONDON — Ancient Greek Sandals will launch its first bag capsule range in February, WWD has learned.

The label known for Grecian footwear was co-founded by Nikolas Minoglou and is designed by Christina Martini, who was born and raised in Greece, and is based in Corfu.

The idea of designing bags came about when Martini set up her first pop-up at Le Bon Marché in Paris last year. She said she wanted to partner again with the female weavers in Crete who had created a fabric for her installation.

The fabric “was so beautiful that I had the idea that it would be great to make woven bags using traditional techniques that have existed for centuries,” Martini said. “Just like we do for the sandals, it’s essentially the same concept. These passionate women have repaired the handlooms of their grandmothers and revived this ancient profession. It’s one of these professions that came to light again with the beginning of the Greek Crisis.”

“So, we started experimenting with different weights and qualities of fabrics, blending them with a mix of yarns and wool in order to get a different result from what is normally woven with these handlooms,” she added. “We didn’t have a deadline, so without stress we were developing different shapes and ideas for the bags. Finally, when we were happy with the result, we decided to present them to the showroom. It was certainly a labor of love and a really special project for me — every bag takes a really long time to be made and each one is quite unique, even if the shape is the same no two bags are identical to each other.”

The shoe designer found designing bags a “totally different thing. Sometimes I felt like the project was never-ending,” she admitted. “I felt like Penelope, the wife of Odysseus, who was weaving the day and undoing the night. We even almost gave up. We also experimented with leather bags, something that everybody expect from us, but then we decided that we should do whatever we were really passionate about.”

Using hand-operated looms, the cotton fabric bags were created with the Grecian artisanal technique by local people in Crete. The range offers six styles including a clutch, shoulder bags, a cross-body bag and a backpack. Special finishes, such as hand-braided straps, charms or classic buckles adorn the bags.

The range has been done in neutral tones of black, ecru and white and bold hues of blue, red and green. Prices range from 155 pounds, or $188, for a clutch bag to 355 pounds, or $431, for a large shoulder bag. The pieces will be sold on the brand’s web site.

Martini said she plans to develop the bag capsule further and is currently “obsessed” with the idea of opening her first flagship store.

Launched in 2012, by Martini, the brand is sold in Matchesfashion.com, Mytheresa.com and Net-a-porter.com.