Chances are you’ve never heard of the bag brand being toted by many a style icon celeb worth her cruise show credentials right now, but we guarantee you’ll feel well acquainted with meli melo before this year’s through. The Brit-based leather accessories label, founded by Melissa Del Bono in 2005, has just arrived in two exclusive Australian stores and is making a bid to win over our local bag ladies the same way it has Kate Bosworth, Georgia May Jagger, Poppy Delevigne and even Kate Middleton.
Olivia Palermo with one of several Thela bags she owns in different colours
Credit: Getty Images

Despite this first toe-dip in the Australian retail pool, the brand’s been around and evolving for years, slowly gathering its luxe fan base mostly in the UK. It now has 13 signature styles (most christened with pretty girl names like Clemence, Rosalia and Allegra), with each bag or clutch boasting the same unique blend of Italian leather craftsmanship (a nod to Del Bono’s heritage) and Cool Brittania edge. It’s an impressive feat for such a relatively small brand to have made its mark in a sea of competitors, but the secret to meli melo‘s surprise success has been a hero by the almost goddess-like name of Thela.

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melo melo, Thela Mini in Bordeaux, $745. SHOP NOW

Thela’s soft and boxy and, even at the smallest of its three sizes (like the mini above) is big enough for an iPad, purse and make-up case (i.e. the utter essentials). At first glance it suggests nothing earth-shatteringly different design-wise, but look closely at this picture above  we give you five seconds to work out what’s very different. Give up? The handles are cross-bag, meaning it sits flatteringly flat to your body when hooked into the crook of your right-angled arm. (But conversely, isn’t ideal for shoulder carry, which is where that long strap comes in.)

Rosie Huntington-Whiteley with her leopard version

Olivia Palermo with husband on one arm, Thela on the other

Meli Melo Founder Melissa Del Bono

Having regularly candied up the arms of Alessandra Ambrosio, Lily Aldridge, Olivia Palermo and Sienna Miller over recent times, it’s been used as everything from a Fashion Week carry-all for Olivia to an apparent nappy bag slung over Sienna’s pram handle and regular plane carry on for Lily. There’s literally about two-dozen leather tones (we love the pastels) and prints (Rosie and Sienna both love the leopard) to take your pick from. And the largest size is literally big enough to live out of for two days. 

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Lily Aldridge carrying her Thela Medium in Tan
Credit: Getty Images

While you’ll either need to be in Melbourne (Grace boutique) or Sydney’s international airport (Heinemann Duty Free) to buy online right now, the online store stocks the lot and ships to Australia. Now you’re officially in on the melo secret. Totes amaze. 

Go window shopping through the current meli melo SS16 lookbook or online shopping below.

thela blue
meli melo, Thela Medium in Indigo and Milk, $1045. SHOP NOW

thela sand
meli melo, Thela Medium in Sand, $985. SHOP NOW

thela giraffe

meli melo, Thela in White Giraffe and Tan, $970. SHOP NOW

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meli melo, Thela Medium in Wisteria, $985. SHOP NOW
Cover and Title Images: Courtesy meli melo

 Cover and title images: Courtesy meli melo