The concept of an investment bag is anchored on pillars of enduring design, superior quality, and increasing value over a period of time. Over the decades, we’ve seen how the birth of an “iit” bag could take brands to stellar heights or resurrect a label from obscurity. Hermes’ triumvirate–the Kelly, Birkin, and Constance–have made the French maison an indomitable luxury player. The same can be said about Coco Chanel and its emblematic 2.55 and Classic Flap. Brands are makers of bags, just as much as the hero purse can make or break a label.
In the early 2000s, we also saw how bags brought established luxury houses into the cool kids’ fold. New purses like Balenciaga’s City Bag, Yves Saint Laurent’s Muse, Fendi’s Spy and B-Bag suddenly breathed new life to established, often elusive French houses. This was shortly followed by the storming of Givenchy’s edgy Nightingale and Celine’s Boston. Suddenly, these uppity designer names were the stuff of elevated sartorial styles–and not just haute couture fare.
For the bag obsessed, the search for the ultimate purse is endless and costly. I’ve done my fair share of maxing out cards for the season’s most coveted tote, none of which have gotten me the promised return on investment. If at all, the love for bags has taken me on a path towards discovering new, innovative brands. For years now, I’ve shied away from “it” pieces and gravitated towards emerging or under-the-radar makers. Apart from quality and design, sustainability values now factor into every investment. Outside of the usual fashion capitals, I’ve also enjoyed reaching out to unchartered territories in search of the new statement piece.
Based in Bucharest, Romania, MAESTOSO is a contemporary leather accessories label that has just recently undergone a full rebrand. Its consultant, brand incubator expert Sara King Moura shares, “The brand was somehow being buried in heavy symbols and design details. It was not only difficult to market but also difficult to digest.” The team returned to the fundamentals and reconnected to the name’s DNA.
Since its founding in 2015 by Claudia Tecuceanu, Maestoso has always been about showcasing the lyrical attributes of architectural shapes and minimalist design. Sara affirms, “We decided to recreate classics in a majestic way, being faithful to what already exists within the market and elevate those elements through a no-fuss approach.” The brand decided that in a post pandemic world, it was time to part from “our almost aristocratic mood and returned to what we knew best as an archetype–steady simplicity.”
To mark the new chapter, MAESTOSO developed The New Classics, the brand’s very own expression of timeless, fashion staple. Four key shapes comprise the collection, which were each developed in consideration for the everyday needs of the modern luxury consumer. Sara details, “We focused on the cassette style, baguette, tote and hobo. We balanced our love for structured and solid shapes with the freedom of the architectural and shapeless movement.” Color ways are versatile and timeless while exploring new gradients outside the usual blacks and browns of leather. Styles from the New Classics come in shades tapioca, caramel, cream, gray and bordeaux.
Sustainability, heritage, and design are inseparable components of the Maestoso process. Every bag is painstakingly handcrafted by three generations of artisans who pay reverence to age-old bag making techniques. Apart from ethically-sourced leathers from Italy, the brand also utilizes eco-vegan cactus leather. Sara expounds that, “This highly sustainable, organic and biodegradable materials come from the Nopal cactus. It is sourced from the Zacatecas region of Mexico.”
With price points that range from 390€ to 490€, the brand presents a strong case for investing in bags without breaking the back. Sara adds, “We don’t do Black Friday or clearance sales.” Like a true luxury house, Maestoso opens its showroom to members of its community each year for a private tour the chance to purchase samples and out items. “We don’t over produce. We work on a pre order system before the official launch, allowing us to predict what we will need to stock up on.”
The team at Maestoso is unmistakably thoughtful and intentional in how they plan to grow their global presence. While the brand remains open to retail partnerships, they remain “patient and cautious of the when, how and where.” The DTC model continues to be the top priority where selling is concerned. Sara ends, “We don’t just want to run with the right crowd, but also to be perceived as a credible brand with a point of view. We have been taking our time because clarity and cohesion across the board is key.” Now that, to me, spells cult luxury status.