Monday, January 31, 2011

January in Amsterdam

The last day of January brings a bit of reflection from Odette in the Hester van Eeghen Amsterdam flagship store.

Greetings from Amsterdam! The first week of the year, like every year, is stock counting. Our team of seven counted all our bags. We looked in every possible place of our store, all three floors, and counted all. Our store looked like we had been robbed. As thanks to the whole team that worked so hard that day, Hester gave us all a pair of her beautiful Montreux gloves. Hester left the same evening for the first fair of the year in Munich.

Sad and dark weather much of the month...raining and the streets are quiet in our neighborhood. We discussed we like the picture of snow along the canals and over the bridges, down in the streets, much much better than rain. The picture of snow in Amsterdam is so romantic and one of my favourites. My other favourite would be an early morning bike ride through Amsterdam..with snow..a great kind of silence can be felt biking though the city. I only hear the wheels of my bike going through the snow and other than that..nothing. The city offers me a beautiful view!

After the Munich fair, Hester left again for Italy, to visit our producers, all in the surroundings of Milano. Sadly, Hester was robbed in Milano. They broke into her car during the night and stole the bags that were inside. Hester said this never happened to her in all the years of the company. 

On a better note, January also held the Queen's New Year's reception in the palace on Dam Square. Our shops are located not far from Dam Square and we could almost see her and all her guests from our windows. :-)

"veel groeten" 

Manager Hester van Eeghen

Thursday, January 27, 2011

Red Purses for Every Season

Red is everywhere.

It is that time of year, near Valentine's Day, when it seems as if overnight red is everywhere you look. But red is an amazing color to carry with you all year-round.

Whether you associate red with love and passion or strength and power, carrying a red purse, handbag or briefcase makes a style statement. It is the perfect accent to a neutral outfit, or a wonderful contrast with other bold saturated hues.

Color is a key element in Hester's design philosophy, so red plays a powerful role in her collections.

Here are just a few of the HVE designs in red. Enjoy!

A Note from Hester - Marveling at a Master's Hands

Just back from Italy where my master craftsman Franco has been making my wallets for almost 20 years now. How many credit cards have gone in and out of the compartments that he cuts with his wiry hands?  - Hester

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Unique purses. Colorful Handbags. What's Your bag?

What do you carry, a handbag or a purse? Or something else completely? We have a little survey on the right of the page for the next few days, so tell us your answer. And if it is "none of the above" then tell us in the comments section. 

The meaning of the words are definitely different in the UK.  A purse is more like a coin purse or wallet. Here in the US, we are a little more casual about actual meanings. Personally, when writing I seem to use handbag more often. But when I am at a restaurant and leave without it, "I forgot my purse!"

My grandmothers and mother definitely had pocketbooks. I never really understood that one. So far I haven't uncovered any regional differences in the states like the deeply entrenched soda vs. pop vs. coke debate. Do you know of any?

I would love to hear your thoughts on this in the comments section, and your vote in our quiz. Regardless of the answer, in my opinion Hester van Eeghen creates the most wonderful, colorful and unique purses, handbags, bags and yes, pocketbooks! 

Hester's Favorite Things - Color Harmony

"Kees van Dongen with his vibrant colours is one of my favourite artists. Wonderful exhibit at the Boijmans museum in Rotterdam. I photographed my mother with one of my bags in colour harmony." 
- Hester

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Luxury Handbags Lauded by Luxist

Luxist, a web site dedicated to covering the best the world has to offer on a variety of luxury and fine living topics, recently shared their discovery of Hester van Eeghen with their readership. Blogger Rigel Celeste raved: 

"I hadn't heard of Hester van Eeghen before this but wow, she's instantly become one of my favorite handbag designers. The Dutch brand has spent more than twenty years building a cult following in Europe and although the bags have been available in the U.S. here and there the launch of the new U.S. website,, is something I'm sure her American followers are more than a little excited about."

One of Rigel's favorite unique purses was the Monocle in Turquoise, Purple and Pink. You can read the full Luxist article here.

Monday, January 24, 2011

Hester van Eeghen - Unique and Colorful Leather Briefcases and Office Bags

When I inhabited the world of Corporate America, one of the ways I loved to express myself was through a truly unique bag for the office. Self expression in any environment is central to personal style and image, but in the business world it makes a particularly vivid statement.

When virtually everyone around me carried ballistic fabric bags with vendor logos, or soul-less black briefcases, my Hester van Eeghen bags always made a style statement, reflected a polished professional look and always garnered compliments. Complete strangers would stop me on the street to ask about my bag...and they still do!

Hester creates her office bags for women and men. This bag to the left, the Tummy, was created by Hester for her husband Roland in this exact color combination. He carries the bag every day, and the removable straps uniquely configure to shoulder, cross-body or backpack, perfect for cycling to work or trekking across town.

Hester's unique briefcases and office bags are full of function, as well as style. Each carries a standard 13" laptop and some even larger sizes (see product details on the website), has special  pockets for cellphones, pens, business cards, and multiple sections to keep you organized.

Even briefcases that look conventional, hold vibrant surprises and infinite style. The Triptych is a masterpiece of professional transformation. It is a briefcase that is calm and confident on the outside and colorful and bold inside. 

Thursday, January 20, 2011

Feature of the Week: St. Moritz

So soft...........that was my first take on St. Moritz, the "comfortably chic" leather handbag made of sumptuously supple Italian calfskin. This unique purse is also a change artist. Wear the bag open as a functional and spacious tote, or snap the magnetic closure to shape the bag into its slouchy style. 

The bag got its name from the luxury Swiss ski resort town, St. Moritz. This bag was originally created out of small remnants of rabbit fur, salvaged from producers, stitched together in a patch-work style. The fur reminded Hester of the women in St. Moritz, all covered in their best fur coats, and the shape of the bag when closed resembles an Alpine mountain.

Now made in the softest Italian calfskin, the St. Moritz comes in blue, black and brown, each with a distinct pop of color in the fine textile lining. Shop the St. Moritz.

Hester's Favorite Things - A Wonderfully Designed Bicycle

Even every day objects can be made surprisingly more beautiful: my husband's new bike from a young Amsterdam firm VANMOOF! I love the solar powered lights integrated into the frame. - Hester

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

A Hester van Eeghen Designed "MasterPeace Hat"

Hester had the honor of creating a hat for one of the members of the Dutch Parliament to help celebrate International Peace Day and MasterPeace. MasterPeace is a global innovative movement of artists, activists, journalists, governments, companies and members from civil society who believe that world peace is possible.

See all the photographs and read more about Hester's hat and this wonderful honor here.

Monday, January 17, 2011

News from Amsterdam

Nestled in a lovely historic district of Amsterdam, just off a canal, is 37 Hartenstraat, the flagship store of Hester van Eeghen.  Inside is magic! 
And along with Hester, a small team is responsible for this wonderful shop, Hester's shoe shop further down the street (more on that in a future post) and Hester's growing business. The manager in the lead is Odette, a wonderful woman with a strong business background who is also an accomplished synchronized swimmer!

Odette will be a contributor to this blog and keep us all posted on the happenings in Amsterdam. If you ever travel to The Netherlands, be sure to stop by and say hello!  Now, meet Odette!

Hello! Our HvE Amsterdam team consists of 11 women and 1 man...myself and Hester included..meaning we are both part of the women's section. :-)
We all have diverse backgrounds, but we are all crazy in love with colors and addicted to the lovely smell of leather when we enter our shops every day! 
Most of us live in Amsterdam and arrive with a red face after a bike ride in the morning to get to work! 
We all eat lots of brown bread with cheese during lunch (yes, we really love cheese here :-)) that we have made ourselves at home in the morning..but sometimes we treat ourselves to a great sandwich from one of the little cute lunch cafe's or bread stores in the same streets of our shops...mmmmmm
Something the team will hate or love me for: I have introduced the concept of a 'koektrommel' at the table: a box in which I keep fresh cookies to take from during those days when you need them ;-)  I think it is always nice to have something sweet to treat yourself or to treat our unexpected guests to. As I said, I have been asked to also bring fruits in addition..I have done so!  They will both remain, cookies and fruits always with us in the store, next to bags and many more leather goods! 
You are welcome to a cookie when you are around in Amsterdam! :-)  
More on 'us' soon.
"veel groeten" as we would say (= greetings!)  
Manager Hester van Eeghen

Thursday, January 13, 2011

Feature of the Week: The Montignac Satchel

Say hello to Montignac, an interesting and unique bag handcrafted in Italy. This versatile satchel is popular with both men and women.

Montignac is highly functional and epitomizes comfortable chic. Best worn cross-body or on the shoulder, the front flaps on this fine calfskin leather bag reveal two front pockets and also the larger main compartment inside. Little peeks of color are revealed on the sides of the pockets to provide visual interest and a tease of its full potential.

What makes HVE's Montignac satchel a really unique bag is the element of surprise you are treated to when you open the zipper in the center.

The bag expands to reveal added capacity and a wonderful color. The design is perfect for the body too. The soft Italian calfskin fits comfortably at the hip, and follows the contours of your body.

The wide strap is fantastic for the extra comfort it offers your shoulder when you are carrying many items. The bag also comes in grey--with the surprise of turquoise inside, and in black with olive.

The story of how this bag got its name is quite fun. To read about it, shop the Montignac.

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

NEW ARRIVALS - The HVE Early Spring Collection

The wait is over. The unique new leather handbags and wallets from Hester van Eeghen are here!

In the depths of Winter, the spirit needs a touch of Spring.  Bursts of color are reminders of the promise of warmth and renewal.

The timing is excellent for the Early Spring release, and this vision statement on the collection, as so much of the country is under snow!

This collection offers opposites--and often at the same time! Structured and soft. Sedate and vibrant.  Large and small. Unique and classic. But they are all filled with beauty and uniqueness and passion!

SHOP the new collection and discover all the new surprises!

Monday, January 10, 2011

Hester van Eeghen - Unique Leather Handbags and Purses

It's true. The main reason I love HVE bags are because they are so unique. I like the idea that no one else (or very few) will have a unique handbag like mine. Yes, the handbags are colorful and handcrafted in Italy, and I value and appreciate that too. But it is the unique handbag designs, and the little surprises that set Hester van Eeghen apart from other designers.

Here are a few of my favorites:
The HVE Felucca Handbag

The shape and way the Felucca opens is part of why this handbag is so interesting and unique. The strap is perfect for wearing on the wrist or to carry in the hand, and there is also a detachable strap so you can also wear it on your shoulder.

The HVE Harmonica Handbag

This bags is unique just for its shape. A great bag for a night out, and because the other side of the bag is black, it is also versatile. It makes a stylish statement right away. But then, when you open it up, the big surprise is revealed! One side opens into a make-up table, complete with an unbreakable stainless steel mirror and compartments for makeup. The other side comfortably holds all your treasures.  This is one seriously beautiful and interesting handbag.
The HVE Harmonica - Both Sides and Open Views

This post would go on forever if I discussed all of Hester van Eeghen's unique handbags --- because they actually are all unique in some special way. Instead, I will give a little sampling of photos. If you would like to experience Hester van Eeghen purses and handbags for yourself, please visit our online boutique.
The HVE Butterfly Handbag - Shown with "Wings" extended and retracted.

The HVE Macaron Handbag

The HVE Monocle Handbag

The HVE Fishy Stingray Clutch in Turquoise

The HVE Quarter Large Shoulderbag

The HVE Custard Messenger Bag

Saturday, January 8, 2011

Hester's Favorite Things - Vintage Bags

At the inappropriately named Flea Market, I always find inspiring little additions to my bag museum such as this bag with a lovely set of sweeping lines.

Thursday, January 6, 2011

HVE Featured Bag of the Week: Fishy Stingray

Hester van Eeghen's "Fishy" Stingray Clutch is the object of rapt attention. It has been the focus of media enthusiasm, and it will win you many compliments when adorning your arm.

The unique Fishy Stingray bag can be a showpiece clutch for formal events -- including a trip down the red carpet. Actress Zoe Saldana, who starred in the award-winning movie Avatar and who is a frequent vision on the red carpet, is the owner of the Hester van Eeghen Fishy Stingray clutch in black. You can read the article in USA Today about Zoe and her HVE bag here.

Of course, like virtually all HVE bags, the clutch comes with a detachable strap so you can wear it on your shoulder or cross-body. Personally, I like to wear my turquoise Fishy Stingray cross-body, as a surprising accent to a casually chic outfit.

When you feel the bag for the first time you can't help but wonder, can this be real? All at once jewel-like, prehistoric and evocative, the calcified texture of the stingray is mesmerizing and stunning.

The earliest coastal civilizations associated stingrays with strength and power. Their remarkably durable patterned skin was often fashioned into decorative items that have been discovered in the tombs of ancient pharaohs. The Han and Shogun Samurai used the skins for armor and for the grips of their swords. Today, small stingrays are caught by Asian fishermen for food. Their skins are saved and transformed. Hester continues that ancient tradition in a more peaceful way with simple, elegant designs that honor the stingray and showcase its beauty.

The HVE Fishy Stingray bag in black was also given another honor--it was selected as an Obsession by The Daily Front Row. If you want to make the Fishy Stingray your obsession, there are only a few left in each color, so now is the perfect time! Shop the Fishy Stingray.

Wednesday, January 5, 2011

Q&A with Hester: The Pursuitist

Recently an interview with Hester was featured in the blog The Pursuitist, a popular luxury blog that helps you "find and share the good things in life." It is a very interesting Q&A session, and here is an excerpt:

Hester Van Eeghen has been on the cutting edge of making quality leather goods in Europe for over two decades. Her use of shape and color is unique in the industry. Van Eeghen recently launched to extend her reach beyond boutique stores in North America.
Q. What makes your work different compared to your peers? A. No one has worked in these shapes and colors and whimsical expressions. Of course you have the classic Hermes and Chanel bags, but bags created as a surprise, as something you cannot resist opening, those were hard to find.
Q. What attracted you to leather work? A. I loved the smell, the touch, the flexibility, the many possibilities of leather. Leather work is a dying process, but I love the way it allows me to use my favorite surprising colors. I find pleasure in the top layer of the leather, and the ability to shape it into something beautiful.
Q. What kind of person has a Hester van Eeghen bag or wallet? A. My typical client seems to be very independent, free of mind, intelligent and has an eye for detail. They are often art lovers who appreciate quality and think of my bags as pieces of art because of the material, shapes, and surprises.

For the Full interview, be sure to visit The Pursuitist.

Tuesday, January 4, 2011

News from Hester

I received this fantastic photo with a note from Hester van Eeghen today. Amazing. I can't wait to see what amazing and unique new handbag creations she will make with this new--and gigantic--tool.

Here is the note from Hester: "My new laser cutter arrived - it needed to be lifted over our canal house in Amsterdam with a huge crane. This will allow me to experiment with new shapes, as usual, the leather is cut by hand or with hand-crafted metal molds that need to fit smoother shapes. So excited!"

Monday, January 3, 2011

Hester van Eeghen Handbags - Love at First Sight

The first time I saw Hester van Eeghen creations I was smitten. It was 2004 and I was visiting Amsterdam with a group of my closest girlfriends. We were staying at the Hotel Pulitzer on Prinsengracht and in the lobby was a magical display case filled with the most beautiful, colorful and unique handbags, briefcases and wallets I had ever seen. It didn’t take much convincing to add Hester’s store, conveniently nearby on Hartenstraat, to the list of our day’s activities. (If you ever want to visit, here is a map.)

The store was (and still is) tiny, but every inch of the sleek, contemporary shop was a treat for the senses. The visual beauty, the rich smell and soft buttery feel of the fine leather, and the sound of many languages of adoring customers marveling over the designs before them made the shop an extraordinary experience.

Two hours later, after I perused every last display in the store, I walked out embracing two of the most amazing bags I had ever owned in my life. (My friends also left the store with wonderful Hester creations, including a dear friend who hadn’t purchased a new handbag in several years. I may have had a little bit to do with that as I also earned the brand new nickname “the purse whisperer.”)

Many years and many trips to Europe later (including a few strategic layovers), my collection of HVE bags grew, as did my passion for Hester’s work, and my desire to make it easier to acquire Hester’s creations in America. Hester’s first online boutique, was created on October 10, 2010, and we hope it will soon become a favorite destination for those who appreciate quality, creativity and the artful expression of the unexpected.

My name is Debby, I am Hester’s partner here in the U.S., and I am curating this blog. We hope to share with you Hester’s creations, insights into her creativity and inspirations, as well as stories and greetings from Hester herself and her colleagues in Amsterdam. We hope you enjoy it, and we would love to hear from you.