Handcrafted and handwoven ‘murses’ even women will love from S.C. Vizcarra

In Philippine Star Column on June 14, 2012 at 4:17 pm

The Rodrigo. Woven from a single piece of leather.

Diamonds may be a girl’s best friend but a bag is definitely her baby. Slung over the shoulder, clutched in the crook of an elbow or dangling from a bent arm, a bag is something we never leave home without. We have all shapes, sizes and colors as one is never enough, and it becomes a veritable treasure trove (or portable trash can) for our most personal — and sometimes our partner’s personal items. How many times have you found yourself with your husband or boyfriend’s keys, wallet and cellphone? As a child I remember my father walking around holding his wallet, papers and car keys while we went to watch a movie or to the mall and my mom being so paranoid that he’d lose something or everything that she insisted he dump it all in her purse. Until recently, the only option for men was a clutch bag, which became the cause for many a DOM joke, it became associated with out-of-shape politicos or businessmen, or the knapsack, which only worked if you were either a mountaineer or still enrolled in school.

The Salcedo. Throw everything in, stylishly.

Thankfully the evolution of the “murse” has come round, with options for the conservative to metrosexual male within easier reach. S.C. Vizcarra has launched a men’s collection, which most women wouldn’t mind buying for themselves, and not just the men in their lives. Designer Rita Nazareno, whose grandmother Segundina Cornejo Vizcarra opened shop in 1925, continues three generations of luxury hand-woven bags using traditional weaving techniques. Having two brothers helped Nazareno to create functional yet aesthetically unique and beautiful bags that wouldn’t emasculate and can withstand the less nurturing nature of men towards their murses. “We started designing for men a couple of years ago,” shares Nazareno. “I design for my brother Anthony, an architect, and also my lawyer brother, Philip. But even if we designed this line for men, we’re finding that women like them as well.”

The Jaime. A bestselling leather “pull-out” all-around bag.

In terms of bestselling bags there is the Rodrigo (P13,500) which shows fine weaving as the body is from a base of a single piece of leather and is nicely two-toned, the Salcedo (P7,800) which both a brother and a sister carry and the Miguel (P8,900) a “market basket” design made from microfiber which she herself uses. “The Salcedo and the Miguel are great buys as they are very versatile with classic shapes.” All of the bags in natural leather take about a week to produce — each painstakingly stitched and designed under Nazareno’s scrutinizing eye. “ I never have a typical work day,” laughs this award-winning designer, “and that’s what I love about it. I could be somewhere and doodle something, take a picture of it, email it and then work on it with the team when I get back to the office. And the team is great too, they come up with great designs!”

The Bilbao. Frank Gehry inspired artsy attache.

There is also a new take on the male “clutch” with the Barros (P5,100) which one can easily imagine on the arm of a woman, made of leather weave and natural, antique with gray microfiber lining. Even with its sleek design, it opens up and expands to accommodate personal belongings and then some. For an all-around unisex work bag the Jaime (P10,000) is what gets swept off the shelves the most. It is foldable and stretchable and has a timeless look and made up of leather diagonal weave and a charcoal microfiber fabric lining. It’s strong enough to tote around your laptop and other work items in and also stylish to use for play or a day trip out. If you’re looking for something that pushes the design envelope, then the edginess of the Bilbao (P28,200) will make you or your man a definite conversation starter. Inspired by Frank Gehry’s art, this natural leather weave in pewter looks like an attaché on acid, and will turn more than a few heads, plus it wields everything you need for the day inside of it, effortlessly.

The Barros. A modern day clutch.

It’s Father’s Day weekend so your pops may need an accessory update, or your better half a break from his tired and tattered messenger. Perhaps you might just be looking for a brand new bag so why not go for local love and see if there’s a handcrafted “murse” in your stars.

The Miguel. A market basket inspired bag made of microfibre.

* * *

S.C. Vizcarra will have a sale on selected bags and corporate give-aways on June 15 and 16 at One Roxas Triangle, 3rd floor social hall, Paseo de Roxas (entrance on Cruzada Street), Makati (behind Mandarin Oriental Hotel), from 10am – 6pm. For more info, or call 854-6751 or 854-6755.

The Andres. A sleeker take on the normal messenger bag.

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