To revisit the 60s, all you need is love – and the finest leather, says Peter Howarth...
When does design become fashion? Or engineering become style? These are questions that every boat designer and builder – and owner – will ponder. And they are also prompted by a recently launched collection of beautiful bags, in leather, suede and canvas by the intriguingly named Love Or Nothing Baby (LONB).
If the moniker sounds a bit summer of love, that’s because it reflects the relationship between founders Reinhard Mieck and Melissa Morris, and their enthusiasm for the 60s. They are partners, in business and personally, and met while he was CEO of luxury goods group Labelux and she was at Belstaff, part of the group. Finding that they shared a love of the design and spirit of the golden age of sports cars, pioneering fashion, mould-breaking screen stars and freewheeling, adventurous travel – what Morris calls the “authentic, unbuttoned cool of Steve McQueen and Jane Birkin” – they decided to strike out on their own.
“It’s all about travel,” says Mieck, “and that is something we really do understand. I was travelling for approximately 200 days of the year in my previous job.” Morris headed up the women’s creative team at Belstaff, and what struck them was how many “where’s my keys/wallet/passport” moments you have when on the move. But they also speak of how travel is about your daily schedule – “gym then work then lunch meetings, back to work, then seeing friends”.
LONB’s solution is the Runaway, a leather “panel” with pockets and compartments for your essentials, which can fold up into a clutch bag with a shoulder strap for women, or a handheld portfolio for men. It can also be clipped into a variety of bag styles, from backpacks to holdalls, so you transfer your belongings from one to another. Made in Italy from 100 per cent natural leathers, they are lined with durable Alcantara, developed for upholstering racing car seats in the 60s by the Italian firm of that name.
My favourite piece is the Vagabond bag. “Melissa was inspired by my personal collection of classic motorcycle jackets,” says Mieck. “You can see this from the curved lines and the way the pockets are integrated into the seams.”