Lebeau-Courally: from origami to abstract constructivism

Whether it concerns watches, handbags or other accessories… the Belgian brand Lebeau-Courally is constantly innovating. The new handbag collection for instance combines origami principles with inspiration from abstract constructivism. We ask the in Belgium based Italian designer Valentina Milloch why she fell in love with the brand and why she wanted to transform the collection so badly.

Photos Anja Van Der Borght and Lebeau-Courally

When you saw the Lebeau-Courally handbag collection for the first time whas there something you immediately wanted to change?
VM: “Three years ago, when I started working for Lebeau-Courally the collection was very classic and not so much developped. In the early beginning there were only three models. The good part about it was the round lock, with reference to the ‘clef de fusil’ of the high end hunting rifles Lebeau-Courally initially is known for. That detail the designers from the first collection studied very well and the brand started to play with the concept. When Joris Ide, owner of Lebeau-Courally, bought the leather goods factory in Dijon (France) that now produces the handbags and for which I was already working I fell in love with the brand. It’s there that I realised how well this product is taken care of by the enormously talented craftsmen that are constructing this bag. As the handbags came in only few shapes and as I thought the collection was a little bit boring and old fashioned I tried to enlarge the collection and make it a bit more modern. Therefore I took inspiration from Le Boudoir which is the very first model Lebeau-Courally produced and which is made according to an origamic construction. The bag is made of only one piece of leather that is folded in different ways. I tried to respect this principle and construct all the other bags with the same origamic geometric kind of architecture. Of course, Lebeau-Courally is a more classic brand so as a fashion designer you cannot make highly creative designs but I tried to make the overall collection more modern. Since I am fascinated by the geometrie of architecture it was really a real fun concept for me to work around.”

Did you introduce new materials?
VM: “Yes! We use a lot of canvas and also embroidery and intarsia, a bit atypical materials as the factory is specialised in working with leather. The factory in Dijon has a long history with working with precious materials so therefore we also work a lot with reptile and crocodile.”

A lot of models combine leather with canvas.

If we take a closer look at the checkered bag, is this a new model?
VM: “The Boudoir is a kind of iconic bag so I didn’t want to change the shape. Therefore I tried to play with the material and I chose chequered leather. For that model I found inspiration in constructivism and geometric abstract art so I made this in tarsian, leaving the shape but playing with colours.”

Photo Lebeau-Courally

What is the latest model you developped within the collection?
VM: “It’s this Miss Courally bag from the FW18 collection that seems to consist of two pieces of leather that are connected to each other. I wanted to study something that reminds of the classic bag models but in a more contemporary way with a large shoulder strap and the belt that wraps all around the bag. We will be working a lot in the future with this belt that will be interchangeable.I also designed a new metal accessories with the Lebeau logo.”

Tissandre, Valentina Milloch’s favourite model in the F/W18 collection.

Which is your favourite bag in the collection?
VM: “Tissandre made out of leather straps is one of my favourite bags. It was very difficult to create as all the bands are irregular and soft. Inside there is a removable nylon bag which I like because it is irridescent, but you can choose it in different colours to personalize your bag.”

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