As the spring blooms in the small streets of the Nolita neighborhood of Manhattan, wandering each street is reminiscent of walking in the heart of a European city. At 251 Elizabeth the feeling is certainly Parisian as Ateliers Auguste is taking quarters in New York City straight from le Marais. From May 24 – June 17, Newyorkers will have the opportunity to discover minimally designed French bags and leather goods.
Founded in 2012 near the Phillipe Auguste subway station in Paris by Laurent and Xavier Valembert, Ateliers Auguste specializes in bags designed for men. The two brothers ran an ad agency for ten years and “started by designing four different bags for men that we could use ourselves … being specialized in communication design and media helped us build the brand from the ground up.” As the brand is steadily growing, the Valembert brothers released their first women’s piece the “Monceau”, bearing the name of a beautiful Parisian Park.
The looks are minimal and understated, the Valembert brothers “wanted to create a product with a timeless look.” When asked about his own inspiration, Xavier adds off the cuff: “Bauhaus, Mies van der Rohe, Le Corbusier, Minimalist art.” The accents of each piece can be found in the simple geometric lines separating the different materials whether it be leather, wool, felt, or heavy canvas fabric. The color palette is straight from the Parisian chic playbook: black, navy, grey, with a touch of orange. As for materials, a key facet toAteliers Augustes’ business model is the use 0f Tannerie Masure, the same leather tanner used by luxury brands such as Louis Vuitton, Céline or Goyard. Their production in Italy and Portugal allows them to provide the at same quality at a price much more attractive than the worlds luxury behemoths. One could argue that some of the designs can feel quite standard much like the classical zipped wallet styles famously coined by Comme Des Garçons. But as Valemebert puts it, “We can’t invent the wheel.”
For the Paris based brand, having a temporary store in Nolita is a real opportunity to introduce their craft to a more international audience. This is not their first pop-up rodeo, having experienced a similar feat when launching the brand in Paris. After much success with their local pop-up, they were encouraged to open their own store in Paris. “Opening a pop-up store in New York is an opportunity to test the market and study the short term response while keeping an eye on a budget. We had the experience in France so it was only natural to try it abroad.”
Shop these finely crafted leather goods online or in person at their NYC pop-up, now until June 17th.