Manufacture Pascal leather bags – continuing a family tradition
The sisters Margot and Camille Pascal continue a long family tradition with Manufacture Pascal leather bags. Their great, great, grandfather founded Manufacture Pascal in 1854 in Saint Chamond, France. Together with his sons he specialized in textiles and belts.
Margot and Camille, you both have a professional background in fashion. How did you come to the idea continuing your families business by making handbags?
Well, we are both French, although Margot was born in New York, Camille in Paris, we feel at home here in Brooklyn, we lived 10 years in New York in our early years, before moving back South of France with our family. We grew up with quite adventurous parents who transmitted us the love of travels, the love of detail and craftsmanship.
They are both winemakers so every detail matters. Our father is a horseback rider, like most of our family members, we grew up taking care of horses, cleaning our boots, saddles and all our riding equipment. There is something very special about that smell of leather, a leather that lives and gets more beautiful with the years.
Today we have our studio in Brooklyn, where we both live. We started working together a few years ago, Camille had her line making dresses in Washington and wanted to work with leather, a desire to come back to that noble material which both reminded us of our childhood and our roots.
We started designing for ourselves, for our friends and family. Simple designs which would stay feminine, straightforward and honest. We travelled quite a bit to dive in the leather industry, the tanning process, sometimes with one of our babies under the arm.
It was intense but we truly fell in love with that world and the craftmanship behind it. The idea of designing together came after we both had our boys and were constantly looking for clothes and accessories which would look beautiful and be strong and would survive motherhood’s adventures.
Your ancestors were also successful racehorse breeders. You named your handbags after their race horses. A very nice idea to remember them. Please tell us more about your handbag collection.
We get inspired by small things in our everyday life – people walking in the streets, how objects are held. We end up having the same desires and vision for the brand. It’s a very spontaneous and natural process, we love details of classic luggage, old jewelry cases, equestrian buckles, hat boxes, and create what we can’t find out there.We believe that luxury comes from unique yet classic designs and try to create pieces that look like treasure boxes inside and out, cut in the very best quality leather we could find here in the United States.
We work with amazing and very talented artisans who help us create and develop the pieces of our dreams. Colors are very important, as important to us that the touch of a leather and its smell, we work hard every season on a palette that gives us goose bumps and reminds us a good moment, a holiday with our grand parents, a dip in the sea…
Which handbag of your collection is your personal It-bag and why?
The Petit Kodara and the Lady Officer have definetely been very popular since we started Manufacture Pascal leather bags, their designs are very simple but different. The Petit Kodara has an unique cubicle shape and has been used as an evening accessoire or even for a photo camera on top of the Macchu Pichu.
How do you wear Manufacture Pascal leather bags the best?
No rules on how to wear Manufacture Pascal leather bags, our bags are life companions and life is meant to be adventurous. The thing that touches us the most is to see photos from our customers travelling around the world with our bags.
On your website you use the saying from Ernest Hemingway: “Never go on trips with anyone you don’t love.” – What does that symbolize regarding your own brand and how important do you think this is for founding a company?
It is the essence of who we are. It sums up how we want to live our lives and how we were brought up. We want our collection to reflect this truth and this is why we use vegetable tanned leather and work with great local artisans.
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