After launching five years ago with a flagship store in Madrid, handmade leather goods brand La Portegna opened its first European outpost on Marylebone High Street earlier this year. The store formerly housed a branch of Sloaney student staple Jack Wills – now, it’s a lovely, simple showcase for the range of classic bags and accessories, with a refreshing lack of brash branding or showy add-ons. Founder Jose Urrutia was inspired by his grandmother’s travels in the 30s and 40s – a pal of Ernest Hemingway, who also features in a couple of the black and white snaps displayed on the walls.
Rather than using environmentally unsound chemicals, the leather has been treated with a mixture of tree tannin and olive oil. A lengthier, more traditional process, it lets the leather retain a bit of character: these are the kind of bags that get better and better with age. With a Mediterranean – inspired colour palette, there’s rich burgundys,, cherry reds, classic tan and turquoise greens, all in classic, functional shapes.
A new addition to La Portegna is the in-store monogramming service: if you pop downstairs, you’re able to get anything you fancy embossed on canvas or leather, in a range of colours and sizes. There’s a flat rate – a bit of a bonus for those with multiple middle names or double barrelled surnames – and when the machine is all fired up, it’s done in around fifteen minutes.