Interview: Mansur Gavriel
October 31 2013
Mansur Gavriel makes simple, high quality leather goods with Italian vegetable tanned leather and brightly colored interior coatings. Inspired by natural textures, pop colors, clean lines and simple shapes, the collection evokes Italy in the 1960s, or a classic California easiness and casual elegance. Mansur Gavriel was established by two friends in 2012, designed to function for your daily needs and travel with you for years to come. We chatted with the ladies behind the breakthrough brand for a little taste of what makes their bags so cool.
Tell us about the background of your brand, Mansur Gavriel. What were you each doing separately and how did you come together?
Rachel Mansur: We both come from a design & art background. I have a BFA in textiles from the Rhode Island School of Design. Floriana has a degree in fashion from the University of the Arts Bremen in Germany. We met back in 2010 in Los Angeles at the XX concert. I was living in LA at the time, and Floriana was living in Berlin. We met downtown at the flower market the next day. We connected aesthetically immediately and began collaborating long distance. I visited Berlin, Floriana came back to LA. Finally in 2012 we both moved to NYC to officially open the company.
How would you describe the brand and see your bags being used? Who is your customer?
RM: Classic with contemporary energy. High quality materials and vibrant colors. No fuss women with a point of view.
Your collection’s aesthetic is so minimal, yet bold and statement making at the same time – how do you marry those two ideas and still keep your designs super simple?
RM: This is a fairly nuanced relationship we are always juggling. We like a fairly minimalist approach to design, but also bold and happy energy, so we spend quite a bit of time and effort trying to marry these two concepts. We also like the idea of creating something that will be beautiful for decades… not just one or two seasons. As a result we decided to focus on material quality and form over trend based hardware.
What other brands, artists, designers, etc, do you look up to?
RM: Many! Cecil Beaton, Prada, Dries Van Noten, Denis Colomb, photographer Annette Kelm, textile designer Dorothy Draper.
What advice do you have for aspiring designers?
RM: Follow your own true aesthetic and focus it. Don’t be afraid to edit.
What bags do you carry yourselves?
RM: I carry the black with royal bucket bag and the black with flamma large tote. Looking forward to carrying the cammello with orange bucket this spring! Floriana carries the black with ballerina bucket bag and black with blu large tote.
What are you excited for next with Mansur Gavriel?
RM: New shapes! New materials! New colors! :)