LONDON — As Bill Amberg, the British luxury leather goods designer, relocates and supersizes his London flagship, he’s keeping in mind that everyone likes a taste of the good life.
In addition to offering a new line of bags created by accessories designer Katie Hillier, as well as his own collection of handbags, totes, wallets and gloves, there are shooting muffs for hunting enthusiasts, shearling snuggle bags for babies, “lucky pencil dolls” for students “to ward off bad grades and negativity” and even dog passports. The shop itself also has been indulged a little.
“It’s a new store, so we wanted to bless it with good luck,” said Amberg, motioning during a walk-through to a window full of three-leaf-clover motifs.
“There’s a four-leaf one in there somewhere,” he added.
The 1,600-square-foot store opened in late April and is situated at 21-22 Chepstow Corner in Notting Hill, around the corner from Amberg’s original Chepstow Road site. The new store carries the entire Amberg assortment displayed by category, including bags, luggage, fashion and pet accessories, a babies’ collection, the “shooting range” and home products. They’re all merchandised within Amberg’s quirky found objects from his travels, such as a wai wai feather collector’s bag, a West African alligator briefcase and shelves of books with titles such as “The Bushman’s Handcrafts.”
Amberg predicts first-year sales will hit 700,000 pounds, or $1.3 million at current exchange.
Prices for the store’s accessories start at 10 pounds, or $18, for a woven leather bracelet. However, “the sky’s the limit,” according to Amberg, when it comes to the bespoke suitcase service.
“Our customer is independently minded and interested in materials and quality,” he said.
The store is organized over two floors. The ground floor houses the bulk of the fashion and accessories assortments, including the new Katie Hillier for Bill Amberg bag range called The Lady Hamilton Collection, after Lord Nelson’s mistress.
Hillier, who has designed accessories for Luella, Marc by Marc Jacobs and Hogan, as well as worked on her own line, looked to Amberg’s Trafalgar and Boston bags to form her own take on the collection. It consists of five differently sized totes in a soft, slouchy leather, with prices that start at 545 pounds, or $992. The bags feature dangling trinket charms and braided leather rings inspired by Hillier’s travels to Kenya and Morocco.
Amberg’s fall women’s accessories collection, which hits the store in August, is split into five groupings: Pankhurst, Supernatural, Trafalgar, gloves and wallets.
Pankhurst features four calf-leather styles. There is an oversized knapsack, a shoulder bag, a glasses case and a small clutch. Prices range from 68 pounds, or $124, to 302 pounds, or $550.
Supernatural has three styles: a shopper, a shoulder bag and a handbag. The styles are available in 10 different color combinations with a choice of suede, calf leather and soft hair. Features include knotted leather shoulder straps, striped linen linings and buckles on straps. Prices range from 261 pounds, or $475, to 392 pounds, or $713.
For fall, Trafalgar comes in four styles: a large day tote, two satchel sizes and a small underarm silhouette, in suede with leather contrast, or in soft hair. This collection is priced from 61 pounds, or $111, to 474 pounds, or $863.
There are two glove styles available in soft napa leather. The first style features buttons and rabbit-fur cuffs, while the second style is simple with a long cuff and strap detail. Both retail for 96 pounds, or $175.
Lastly, there are four wallets, called Hip, Travel, Nelson and Trafalgar, as well as a large travel wallet, which retails from 68 pounds, or $124.
The ground-floor space is light and airy with wooden floors and display units, while the lower floor has a more intimate feeling with Italian leather floors, which are also available to buy.
“We have this [flooring] in the children’s room at home,” said Amberg. “It’s warm and soundproof.”
Perhaps this also will come in handy when Amberg introduces children’s workshops next month. Budding designers ages six to 12 can attend Sunday classes to make leather products such as belts, bags and jewelry under the supervision of Amberg and his team.