Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Wallets as Art For Father's Day

The Diagonal Wallet in Black, Cognac, Brown and Cream

The wallet is a classic choice for Father's Day gift giving, and this year you can elevate it to an art form with Hester van Eeghen's contemporary and thoughtful designs.

Hester believes men should be allowed a little color in their lives too. To help ease them into a colorful place, Hester designs many of her wallets for men to appear conservative on the outside, and then surprising and bold inside.

The intricate hand work is all performed by amazing Italian craftsmen who create these beautiful works of art one by one from soft Italian calfskin.

There are three basic wallet styles in the HVE US collection for Men: the Diagonal, the Stair and the Money Clip Wallet.

The first of these is the Diagonal Wallet. Shown above and below, the exterior is a conservative black leather, beautifully soft and supple. Inside, a colorful array of diagonal angles hold 8 credit cards, the billfold section has two compartments and is large enough to hold international currency, and there are four additional sections for receipts and other items.

Left to right: The Diagonal Wallet closed and conservative,
interior in blues and greens, the interior in golds and purples

For the more adventurous dads you know, is the Stair Wallet. The stair-stepped shape of the flap is an homage to the tops of the canal homes in Hester's home town of Amsterdam. This wallet comes in a variety of exterior colors. The interior is a burst of color to make you smile, even though when you open your wallet you are usually paying the bill.

The HVE Stair Wallet in Black, Purple and Green, all with
the multi-colored interior.

And then there is the HVE Money Clip Wallet for the men who prefer a slimline profile. Cash is held in the center money clip, and there is room for plenty of credit cards to boot. Exterior colors are subdued and the interiors are simple and chic color combinations.

The HVE Money Clip Wallet
(top to Bottom) Eggplant with burgundy and brown,
Black with shades of grey,
Olive with grey and gold

Shop Hester van Eeghen's wallet collection for Men.

Have you selected your Father's Day presents yet?

Saturday, May 28, 2011

"It's a Thing You Connect Yourself with"

When people ask me how to describe Hester's work I usually use the words "architectural," "unique," and "colorful." When I asked Hester to tell me how she would describe her bags to people who had never seen them before, she went a lot deeper. Watch this short video of her reply.

"I do the interior design of...their mental rooms" 
- Hester van Eeghen

Thursday, May 26, 2011

How I Found My Favorite Bags

This is a guest blog entry by Judith F. of Manhattan, an enthusiastic fan of Hester van Eeghen's designs.
"I was in Amsterdam last year for the first time and on one of my many walks passed Hester's store. Unfortunately it was closed. I made note of the address so I could return the next day because the handbags that I could see through the window just overwhelmed me. 
And so the very next day I returned and bought three handbags and a credit card case.  I purchased a red bag that resembles the Pope's head wear with a purple bottom, a black and white "polka dot" clutch bag lined in pink with a strap for shoulder or cross body, and the most wonderful handbag made of stingray skin with a handle and also a strap - it was featured as a prize on an email I received recently.  
Each time I wear any of the three handbags, I have people stop me on the street to inquire where I bought them. It makes it so much easier lately because I can send them to the website. 
In Manhattan where one sees the most fabulous bags carried or draped over brilliantly dressed women, Hester's handbags still get the most attention because they are unique.

I don't like looking like everyone else and these bags have certainly helped me keep my own look."  - Judith F.

Thank you Judith for sharing your story with us! If you have a story, please send them to me at stories@hveus.com.


Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Customer Testimonial, "It's Ladies First"

Meet Lori L., a Connecticut TV Executive. Lori Recently purchased a Ladies First bag in Grey and Turquoise and she was nice enough to share a very complimentary note with us here at HVE US.

"I love this bag!!  The Lady's First bag is perfect as a laptop bag and handbag.  I've also been wiser about organization and Hester's obelisks do the trick.  I have gotten so many compliments on this lovely blue and grey bag.  My pal Melissa just had to get one.  And I've been stopped on the streets of Manhattan by strangers who just have to know from where this bag came." - Lori L.

Saturday, May 21, 2011

An Interview with Hester van Eeghen: Does Form or Function Come First When You Design?

Form or Function, which comes first? This question was posed to Hester van Eeghen in a recent interview I had with her in New York City. Watch this brief video for insights into her design process and how she integrates her world into her designs.

It's the constant awareness, using my eyes, and then imagination, 
and then my romanticism into the story of the bag.
 - Hester van Eeghen

Thursday, May 19, 2011

A Look Inside My Handbag

Despite our best efforts, we all know it is easy for our handbags to turn into a black hole of total chaos where nothing can be easily found, especially if you carry a large bag. It starts out organized but then daily life happens. What is the secret to keeping order? 

In recent blog posts I have shared with you some of Hester van Eeghen's tips for purse organization, starting with editing the contents, and then detailing how to use nesting, shapes and colors to quickly find what you need. 

Of all of these great ideas, the one I find essential is nesting (like the Russian Nesting Dolls) using smaller pouches inside my bag. 

An organized bag with several organizing pouches

Here is an example of how I organized my Macaron, a very roomy bag that I especially love to take when I travel.
The Serpentine

First I used the Serpentine as my wallet. This amazing piece has the interior slots and spaces for cards, cash, change, you name it. The added benefit of the Serpentine is that when I am traveling and in the evenings do not want to carry my large bag, I just grab out the Serpentine, pop in a lipstick and my phone and I am good to go because it can also be used as a gorgeous clutch or add the thin removable strap and it is a great cross-body mini bag (my favorite way to wear it).
The Serpentine Interior
Next I use the Lost and Found pouch for my iPod and earphones (there is nothing more annoying that those cords of the earphones). Since there are two zippers, the earphones go on one side, and the iPod on the other. I also add in earplugs so I can block out the news blaring on airport televisions or any loud talkers. This pouch is so cute with the circle zipper pulls.

The Lost and Found Pouch

Make up and lipsticks go into the Baby Quarter pouch where there is plenty of room for all the basics, as well as my vitamins and hand sanitizer.

Baby Quarter in Red

As Hester described in a previous post, different shaped pouches inside your bag make it easy to identify what you are looking for simply by feel. One of my favorite shapes, and one that is also quite quirky is the Toucan pouch. It is pretty obvious where the name comes from. I like to use this one for my pens and pencils and memory sticks. Other people like to keep their slimline reading glasses in this pouch.

The Toucan Pouch

Finally, I rely on the delightful Asteriks and Obeliks (inspired by a European comic book) pouches for my keys and receipts, respectively. 

The Asteriks is specially made as a slimline pouch to hold your keys so when you carry them in your pocket, it doesn't bulge and also so your pocket lining is safe from getting holes from the pointy keys.

The extra cool thing about the Asteriks, is that it is also convenient for when you go to the gym and don't want to carry a bag. Just pull out the keys and use the attached pouch to keep your driver's license, a credit card and some cash. 

Asteriks Key Pouch
The Obeliks is where I stash all those receipts and extra pieces of paper that can clutter things up fast. A practical and neat way to keep track of business expense receipts and the like. 
Obeliks Pouch
I personally like getting the wide selection of accessories to organize, and I go for a range of colors instead of trying to have everything match. I find that Hester's advice on this is spot on. The different shapes help me find things without looking, just by feel. The different colors help me find things quickly when I can look inside my bag. Besides, it is so nice to look inside my organized bag and see such a joyful range of colors!

Of course if I let the discipline of putting receipts in their right place slip, or just toss an item directly in the bag and not into a pouch, then it quickly spirals out of control. But life happens and so does being in a hurry. So every now and then I take a couple minutes and regroup and let the pouches keep it all contained!

What are your favorite HVE accessory items?


Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Hester's Top 3 Tips to Organize Your Purse

The Squeeze change purse 

Hester's first tip for organizing your handbag was to be vigilant about carrying only what you need. So now that you have selected only those essential items, what's the strategy for placement and keeping everything neat? Here are Hester's Top 3 Tips for organizing your purse:

Think about the patterns and needs of your life and organize accordingly.

Be aware of your personal habits, tendencies and lifestyle in order to choose an organizational strategy that meets your needs.  Here are some questions you might want to ask yourself:

  • Do you travel frequently? 
  • Do you have parts of your day when you wish you didn't have to carry a large bag, like going to pilates or running out for lunch? 
  • Do you prefer using cash or credit cards? 
  • What items do you use the most? 
  • Do you have time to stop and sit or are do you need to access your bag with one hand? 
  • Are you generally surrounded by lots of people or need to be concerned with security? 

Use a "nesting" strategy

This may make you think of the Russian nesting dolls, but using accessories, clutches and pouches inside your purse will help keep it organized. This technique also makes it easier to frequently change bags.
  • Group like items together in a smaller accessory bag
  • Carry bags within bags to use when you only need a few items
  • Choose wallets or clutches that can convert into a shoulder bag
Here are two great suggestions of HVE pouches to use when organizing your purse.

Obeliks Pouch in Pink
Baby Quarter Pouch in Kiwi

Use distinctive shapes so you can find what you need by touch and 
a variety of vibrant colors for quick visual discovery.

Hester makes a wide range of accessory pouches with unique shapes and bright colors. One of the most distinctive shapes is the new Toucan. Great for reading glasses, or pens, even selective makeup items.

Toucan in Blue

In a future post I will demonstrate organizing your purse using Hester's techniques.

What are your favorite HVE accessories?


Saturday, May 14, 2011

You Have to Like Attention

An Interview with
Hester van Eeghen
"You get some attention. You have to like attention a bit."

I recently had the opportunity to interview luxury handbag designer Hester van Eeghen in person. I will be sharing segments of this interview on the blog over the next several weeks. 

In this video segment, I asked Hester to describe her customers and what is important to them. 

What do you like about Hester van Eeghen's designs? How do you describe yourself?


Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Handbags and Haut-Chocolat

The Hester van Eeghen Handbags and Haut-Chocolat party at Vosges in SoHo

Two of my favorite things featured in one evening, Handbags and Haut-Chocolat, it doesn't get much better than that!

Hester van Eeghen recently visited New York City and the HVE US Online Boutique partnered up with Vosges Haut-Chocolat to celebrate with a party. Amid the lovely champagne and good music were "pairings" of Hester's bags with Vosges' mouth-watering truffles.

The Red and Blue Klippers paired with Rose Vert truffles

The Klipper paired with the Rose Vert
Dark chocolate truffle with rose water and tarragon topped with a red rose petal.

The Klipper luxury handbag recalls a glamorous era  with it’s the classic silhouette—at once comforting, romantic and powerful. The Rose Vert truffle is nothing if not glamorous. In France, tarragon’s generic name is Artemisia, named for the Greek goddess of the moon. The floral-anise flavored, bittersweet herb is combined with rose water and dark chocolate and marked with a red rose petal. Enjoy sinking your teeth into the truffle as you admire the distinguished nature of the Kipper and marvel at how something so seemingly simply can coax the imagination. 

Fishy Stingray Clutch with Black Pearl
Dark Chocolate Truffle with ginger, and wasabi topped with black sesame seeds.

The earliest coastal civilizations associated stingrays with strength and power. Han and Shogun Samurai used the their remarkably durable, patterned skin for armor and for the grips on their swords. Hester continues that ancient tradition with simple, elegant designs that honor the stingray and its beauty. Authentic  wasabi has a distinct flavor profile traditionally linked to Japanese cuisine. Wasabi is a root vegetable that is one of the most rare and difficult vegetables to cultivate. Combined with ginger, sesame and of course rich dark chocolate this is an intriguing combination. See how the pebble texture of the truffle mimics that of the handbag and note how while both wasabi and stingray skin are known for their strength they both take on a softness when applied with a subtle hand.

The Fishy Stingray Clutches paired with Black Pearl truffles

Serata paired with Platanos y Orchidus
Milk chocolate truffle with orchid vanilla, caramelized banana, Jamaican rum and topped with purple orchid.
The flirty vibrancy of these two delights the senses and elevates the spirit. Indigenous to Mexico, the Vanilla planifolia orchid plant yields one of the world’s most popular spices – the vanilla bean. The bean pod is actually the stamen of this species of orchid, pollinated by Melipone bees native to Mexico and painstakingly dried and roasted in a process that makes months. Today the popularity of vanilla has led to commercial production and hand pollination but vanilla’s aura of the rare and exotic remains the same. Both well designed and balanced with a pop of color, they speak to the joys of Spring.

The vibrant red and green Serata enlongated clutch
paired with the delicious Platanos y Orchidus truffles

The Serata, coming June 1

Platanos y Orchidus Truffle

Harmonica paired with Olio d’Oliva
White chocolate truffle with extra virgin olive oil and kalamata olive

Duality that results in a harmonious expression of luxury is what both the Harmonica bag and the Olio d’Oliva truffle are about. Slightly whimsical but with  grounded with the  highest quality components these two pieces play with your preconceived notions. As you consider which side of the Harmonica bag (and yourself) you want display also ponder which is the more transcendent part of the Olio d’Oliva – the savory or the sweet?

The pink and purple Harmonicas paired with
Olio d'Oliva truffles

Saturday, May 7, 2011

Purse Perfect - Hester's Tips on Organizing Your Handbag

Organized contents inside an HVE bag

How do you keep your purse organized, let alone your life?  The first step is to try to carry less.

Recently Hester van Eeghen discussed that very topic with Tracey Jackson, author of the new book "Between a Rock and a Hot Place: Why Fifty Is Not The New Thirty."  After emptying the contents of her purse on the table, Tracey explained that her purse has to carry her life on the run but she can never seem to find what she needs when she needs it. Not to mention that it weighs her down and makes her shoulders ache.

Author Tracey Jackson shows Hester the many items she carries in her purse

Hester noted that as a designer of handbags, part of her responsibility to her customers is to observe and understand what they need and what they are going through in life. Seeing a woman at a train station struggle to find her ticket in her bag inspired Hester to create special pockets and compartments, for example.

One of Hester's observations is that there is a spectrum of different types of women. On one end of the spectrum is the woman who needs to be prepared for every possibility. She tends to need a larger bag that can hold all the items she needs to face her day and everything that might happen in it. On the other end of the spectrum is the woman who takes life as it comes and barely needs more than her keys and some money. She tends to prefer small bags, or simply her pockets.

Of course, most women fall somewhere in the middle of this spectrum. Personality doesn't always drive purse size, situations and circumstances also dictate bag type, but overall one's need to be prepared or not has a big influence.

Hester had a lot of advice for Tracey, and for all women who want a more organized handbag, but it all begins with...

Tip #1
Be vigilant about carrying only what you really need.

This is easier said than done, so Hester offered ideas on how to pare down the contents of your purse.

  • Try to be efficient, avoid duplicate items
  • Stick to the essentials and avoid the "just in case" items
  • Select only the essentials by playing the following game: empty the contents of your purse on a table. Now, imagine you had to leave and you were only allowed to take one item with you, what would it be? Once that item is selected, set it aside and ask the question again with the remaining contents. Once you get to five items, try to stop there.  Maybe ten items would be real progress, as only you know what is essential to your life, but using this editing technique should help you stick to the basics.
  • Each morning, spend five minutes before you head out the door to organize and edit the contents of your purse. Don't let the chaos build. Some people prefer to do this at the end of each day instead.

Watch Tracey's video interview of Hester discussing more about how to carry less.

What techniques do you use to keep the contents of your purse under control? Do share!