Echoes of Charles Laurie’s forebears can be seen in the strong, beautiful leather found in his bags, cases and luggage. Saddlery runs deep in his veins, traceable to a family-owned workshop in Oxford Street in the 1800s making harnesses for carriages drawn by six horses, the Ferraris of their time.
Pictured: Charles Laurie. Photo by Patrick Williamson Photography
AN APPROACH THAT COMBINES BEAUTY, QUALITY, PRACTICALITY AND THE OCCASIONAL WHIMSICAL DETAIL
Today, Charles Laurie’s discerning clients appreciate his outstanding craftsmanship and his modern take on timeless classics: rounded edges; a subtle twist on the classic handle or strap; a pocket or compartment in an unexpected position; stunning combinations of colours such as the black leather matched with burgundy suede pigskin lining in his beautiful, slim Handle Folio coveted by men and women alike.
These are the hallmarks of a Charles Laurie creation, an approach that combines beauty, quality, practicality and the occasional whimsical detail. Laurie’s creations are always discreet, whispering rather than shouting their pedigree.
Laurie’s first collection, launched in 2018 was two painstaking years in the making. It saw him seek to reinterpret classic case and luggage items, using only the finest British saddlery leather for his handles and straps, complemented by Tuscan leather for the body in a range of gorgeous rich colours. In 2021 he launches his second collection, further building his signature classic meets modern style, and aiming to appeal as much to a female as a male audience. This more accessible collection is made from a combination of nubuck and a cotton canvas lining with durable Tuscan vegetable tanned straps.
As well as his bi-annual collections, Laurie undertakes bespoke projects, relishing the challenge that clients bring his way. Rather than drawing out his designs, he creates prototypes in a sturdy felt which he ruthlessly cuts away at or adds to as part of the making process until both he and the client are satisfied. And it is the fiercely practical demands that Laurie thrives on: a business leader who hot-desks globally and who needs a bag that both holds an array of electronic items and allows everything to be seen and retrieved in an instant; a chef who wants a box built in an unusual leather type to house a recipe collection built over years.
SADDLERY RUNS DEEP IN HIS VEINS, TRACEABLE TO A FAMILY-OWNED WORKSHOP IN OXFORD STREET IN THE 1800’S
Photo by Emma Lee
Photo by Emma Lee
A move from London’s Cockpit Arts, a business incubator for craftspeople, to his own studio in an old grain store just south of Rutland Water in early 2021, marks the next phase in the Charles Laurie story. He plans to focus on developing future collections, to further build his bespoke practice and to potentially dip his toe into creating interiors items.
But Charles Laurie is serious about giving back and supporting the industry that allowed him to reignite the family tradition. He plans to pass on his skills by training the leather-makers of the future, building a small apprentice team, in recognition of his good fortune in having apprenticed for one of London’s finest leather goods manufacturers. The desire to keep the craft of leather alive burns bright in Charles Laurie.
Unit 4 Picks Barn, North Luffenham Road , Lyndon, Rutland LE15 8TY