Hanuxe handbags: less is more

Founder of the luxury brand Hanan Aljabr talks Italian craftsmanship, fine leathers and her inspirations

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(Image credit: PIERS MACDONALD PHOTOGRAPHY LTD)

Italy was one of the first places I visited on vacation with my family. I used to go shopping a lot with my mum and my aunt. I remember going to a small Fendi boutique in Venice when the Fendi Baguette bag was very popular, and there was a whole wall of Baguette bags in different designs. I'd never seen anything like it. That's when I started to be aware of the beauty of bags and I started to notice the quality.

I never thought I'd start my own company, but I started collecting handbags and had quite a large collection, and I found that when I was walking down the street, I'd see at least one or two other people with the same bag. The market seemed a bit saturated, and overwhelming, and I didn't feel inspired anymore, so my family suggested I should start my own brand and design my own bag styles.

In August 2014 there were a lot of leather fairs happening, and I started to contact factories in Italy. The tanneries took me through the process of how they made the leather, and showed me all the possibilities of what you could do with it, which fascinated me.

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I really like muted colours, and in my personal style I focus a lot on fabric and cut, so I decided to translate this into bag design. I'm not a fan of logos and branding, I prefer it when you can recognise a brand through silhouettes and colours.

My first collection is focused on neutrals and exotic leathers. These neutrals comprise rich earthy tones and cool celestial hues, reminiscent of magical Arabian landscapes and inky night skies.

I wanted to create some subtle signature design details for Hanuxe, such as the strap being non-adjustable, and quite short. I also think it's much more fun to have a bright colour on the inside of the bag.

I source all my leathers from a very credible and ethical tannery in Italy and the bags are made by highly skilled artisans in a workshop, which is located between Florence and Milan.

I've always been concerned with standards, and I only use the very highest quality animal skins. With skins like ostrich and crocodile for example, each skin is slightly different so no two bags will be exactly the same.

With Hanuxe my guiding vision is less is more – a unique fusion of Italian flair and craftsmanship and my Arabian appreciation for luxury that I hope will attract younger audiences to the pleasures of owning these unique, exotic pieces. The supreme quality of the leathers ensures the bags become more beautiful over time, creating items women will treasure for years to come.

HANAN ALJABR was born in Saudi Arabia, but moved to the US when she was one before returning to Saudi Arabia aged 11. She took two years to develop Hanuxe and launched her first collection last year, adding a new range of cardholders in ostrich, python and lizard this February; hanuxe.com

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