I purchased my first briefcase when I graduated from university in the mid 1980’s. It was an Australian made buffalo hide frame-top briefcase. It was big and bold and made a huge statement. I loved it. Regrettably, I passed it on several years ago. And more unfortunately, Australian Made is not that common anymore.
I have had many briefcases since, but none could really match the class and distinction of the frame-top. Relatively recently I decided that I would search with earnest for a worthy replacement of the lost frame-top. I searched for both vintage and new pieces.
In my quest to replace the lost frame-top, you cannot imagine how excited and delighted I was to discover Rutherfords England.
Their website gives a hint of what is available. But I was totally sold when I discovered that I could have my own bespoke commission. Whilst I was drawn to the frame-top, I decided on the bow-top version. It is slightly smaller than the frame-top due to its design and contour. As the name suggests, the top of the briefcase has an arc like a bow. Not only is it functional, it is exquisite and a thing of beauty. Like any art or masterpiece, you never tire of looking at it.
I had a choice of leathers. I decided to go with a traditional chestnut English bridle leather with brown suede lining. The chestnut leather is so rich and is such a beautiful hue. I cannot wait for it to develop its unique patina and distinction. Moreover, the hand stitching on the case and handle is gorgeous and exudes perfection in craftsmanship. And, without doubt, the solid brass hardware and lock beautifully compliment the case.
There is a timeless elegance in beautiful design and craftsmanship. The exquisite harmony of design and craftsmanship, coupled with the best materials such as English bridle leather, is what defines and encapsulates Rutherfords products.
From an early age I have had a love affair with the enduring splendour of classic style and design, including its history and evolution. Often this enterprise defined the people who manufactured it, established the cities and moulded society to focus on the excellence of the product and its manufacture. I also find this fascinating from an anthropological perspective.
For example, it defined cities like Northampton for its shoe manufacturing and Savile Row and Jermyn Street for men’s clothing. Detroit and Stuttgart for automobile manufacture. There are many examples of this phenomenon worldwide. It continues to be the way today to ensure resources, technology, excellence and expertise are together to create an ecosystem to guarantee success.
Rutherfords are creating this ecosystem in the grounds of the Cholmondeley Castle, Cheshire; for hand-stitched bridle leather luxury briefcases, bags, folios and accessories. Employing tools and techniques dating back more than 100 years, they are sure to become family heirlooms that can be passed down from generation to generation. I know this from first-hand knowledge and experience. I have already invested in several pieces and am delighted
In seeking to replace my old frame-top, I looked and many options from a good number of different brands and even some of the most venerable English brands. To be honest, some of the venerable brands were very disappointing and had opted for what looked like a mass-produced version of what they used to be famous for.
This is not the case with Rutherfords. Every part of the production process is designed to create a masterpiece of function and design. I know that the bow-top will last for generations and will get passed on. In fact, my youngest son has already made hints and wants to claim it. He is convinced that it needs to be passed on to him, especially since we share the same initials.
We thank Jerry Tharapos for this beautiful article. More of Jerry's stylings can be found on his instagram @jerrytharapos - The Rutherfords Team