The Making of an Altari
Elvira and I founded Altari to create distinctive handbags for a global clientele seeking more than fine materials and craftsmanship, but also a deeper affinity with the product itself.
Designing and crafting such handbags is an arduous yet fascinating undertaking that joins together different people, places and cultures. This journey and the unique features of every artisan’s techniques give our handbags a well-defined, outspoken personality.
In this post, we will retrace every step of the creation of an Altari bag.
Our three models, Carla, Madina and Venera, are the result of over two years of prototyping different designs, materials, fittings and mosaic colour combinations.
At Altari, we don’t have a single designer, rather we rely on a talented, international team of designers who, like our handbags, bring together different cultures and perspectives from around the world.
The attention to detail and the sheer amount of time that goes into each handbag and mosaic are matched by some of the finest materials available - it’s a matter of respect for our artisans and their craft!
We source butter-soft calf leather from Italy, pearled threads from Germany, metallic threads from France. Our custom-made fittings are cast in pure brass, gold-plated and finally brushed to achieve a distinctive, ‘aged’ yet modern and refined look.
Craftsmanship is at the very core of Altari. While our masters of the mosaic make each handbag irreplicable, the attention to detail of our Italian artisans delivers a luxury handbag of the highest standard.
Our leathers are cut in Italy and shipped to Tatarstan, Russia where our artisans begin to hand-stitch each piece of the mosaic. While some artisans operate in traditional workshops, many others practice their craft in their homes. The decline of the leather mosaic has led to the closure of such professional establishments and pushed these masters to seek other work.
The technique and the tools they use have remained unchanged over more than 1000 years - no modern machinery is used in the creation of a mosaic. Each one is 100% hand-stitched and can take several days to complete. Each finished piece is uniquely different from all others, carrying the traces of our artisans’ hand work.
Each mosaic is shipped to our artisans’ workshop near Naples, Italy. Here Altari handbags come to life through a process of the highest quality standards, in line with the traditional luxury maisons. During this process, each handbag is marked by a unique engraving - each model in our debut collection is limited to 33 pieces.
At Altari, we go to great lengths to create something truly special - more than just an accessory, but rather a work of art - a testament to the depth and diversity of our shared human culture.