Do you currently have your own brand or collection?
I feel the combination of sinuous and angular lines used in the Aimee Kestenberg collection is very effective. Antoni GaudÃâs use of natural, curved lines are a great inspiration to me. I am also influenced by Frank Lloyd Wrightâs architectural design. I chose to use Herman Millerâs Eames Lounge Chair as inspiration for the âAmeliaâ tote. To my eye, the structural and decorative details of an Aimee Kestenberg bag are made beautiful by their usefulness. The chair is an archetype of classic mid-century modern design made of clean, useful lines that are both straight and sinuous.
What is your personal aesthetic?
It was my goal to use textures and colors that are familiar to the customer with a twist that will excite her. I chose to combine high quality nylon with matching shiny grey leather. The nylon adds a casual comfort to the leather. Light grey allows for the Aimee Kestenberg hardware to shine.
What are your current strengths & weaknesses as a designer?
I have a B.F.A in Accessory Design from Savannah College of Art and Design (S.C.A.D.) where I learned to design and build handbags. I have personally constructed over 50 handbags from privately sourced leather and hardware manufacturers. In addition, Iâve also designed a considerable amount of handbag hardware. In 2010 I began as an assistant designer for a custom fit missy footwear company. After my inevitable move to New York in 2012, I worked both on my own collection as well as with successful companies that represent prominent mass-market brands. In February 2015 I showed my collection, 3Seven&8, in the final Mercedes Benz Fashion Week at Lincoln Center as the official handbag sponsor of a luxury clothing company. Since then I have designed and executed collections for several globally recognized mass-market brands.
What is your dream job?
I currently have a capsule collection of high-concept, cut-to-order handbags. Iâve followed with great interest the arc of Aimee Kestenbergâs career. Her design courage has inspired me to follow her lead. The âAmeliaâ tote will be affordable and casual with a nod to the taste of the high-concept customer.
What materials do you work with?
In my independent work, I use mostly calf and lambskin.
What can you contribute to the Aimee Kestenberg brand?
I can produce looks that are provocative and bold without breaking tradition: silhouettes that are engineered to be functional, comfortable and as fabulous as her customer, no matter the occasion.
Christopher Belt, The âAmeliaâ Tote, Satin Nylon/Calfskin in Concrete Jungle Grey, $248.00