When you're designing accessories, Álvaro González is the guy you call. The former accessories designer for Valentino and design director of accessories at Jimmy Choo has a career spanning two decades and a CV that namechecks all the majors - including Tod's, Loewe and Emilio Pucci.
After spinning bag and shoe magic at these accessory-heavy houses, the Spanish-born González felt the time was right to branch out on his own. And the result - an eponymous collection of exquisitely designed leather goods - is rather good. Made from calf, alligator and stingray leather, the range of sandals, belts and bags has been crafted by artisans around Florence (one of two cities González is based in), so the quality is ultra-premium.
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After recently adding a capsule collection of men's leather bags to his Álvaro line, we chatted to the designer about his exclusive collection for Mr Porter.
Tell us about the collection. What were you hoping to achieve?
I wanted something simple, functional and masculine. Aside from the leather which I have developed specially, the main design detail is the diagonal opening, which I started to work on with my women's bags - it's my own innovation. It allows you to open the bag up completely, so it's much easier for packing or finding something! Plus, it gives you two exterior pockets. The opening and the chunky dark zips are an important feature in my line.
What key accessories do you think every stylish guy should own?
A travel bag (I use the Álvaro 47, plus I carry it around for appointments), a bag for the gym like the Agape backpack, a document holder (for files, a laptop or tablet), a good wallet and something to keep your sunglasses in.
You've had an amazing career as an accessories designer. What what did you learn during your years spent at each of these labels?
At Valentino - quality and how to refine something; Tod's - product placement; Jimmy Choo - business strategy and creativity, and at Pucci - [the importance of] heritage.
What do you love about your job as an accessory designer?
Creativity in three dimensions, my fixation with detailing and the contact [you have] with incredible materials.
What should you look out for when buying shoes and bags? How can you tell if something will become a classic?
It's almost impossible to say, yet you feel it within. Go for simple designs and clean lines. Choose black, brown or navy as a colour, and avoid patterns and steer away from logos.
The Álvaro González collection is exclusive to Mr Porter and available now. Visit mrporter.com to shop the range.