Amy Zurek is no stranger to the makings of a highly coveted handbag: she cut her teeth at The Row, Coach, and, most recently, Khaite, where she helped launch the label’s cult leather luggage, but, in her mind, there was still an essential style missing from the market—something simple but not austere, special but not overly showy, contemporary but made to last. And so, just shy of two years ago, she set to work on Savette (borne from her mother’s maiden name), a collection of three timeless bags with a sculptural edge.
“I was thinking about a product that is so classic that it could be passed on from mother to daughter and through the generations,” says Zurek, who studied fine art and art history at the University of Pennsylvania before receiving a degree in fashion design from Parsons School of Design. It was there that she discovered her passion for the geometric nature of purses. “I found that I really gravitated towards precise, architectural design,” she recalls, continuing: “It’s a unique category to design because it’s not purely decorative; you have to really bear in mind functionality as much as you do the visual, stylistic quality.”
Such an emphasis on wearability led Zurek, a New Yorker, to take the versatile crossbody silhouette as her starting point. Crafted from smooth, scratch-proof leather in an atelier outside Florence, her first design, the Tondo (a Renaissance term for a circular work of art), comes with curved edges, two interior compartments, and Savette’s signature buckle. Available in both silver and bronze, the hardware was inspired, in part, by Modernist sculptures and the jewellery of Georg Jensen and Elsa Peretti. The bag also boasts an ingenious convertible strap, which can be slung across the torso, doubled over, or tucked inside via discrete pins—and voilà! That daytime carryall suddenly becomes a chic short-handled clutch.
“I instantly identified with the product: It’s minimal and modern but has an elegance of another era,” says the stylist Laura Stoloff who paired the structured silhouettes, which will be available for purchase on Net-a-Porter this week, with leather coats and elevated separates for Savette’s debut campaign. “I love the simplicity of them, but you can also make them feel more ladylike and polished for evening,” she adds, noting that she plans to wear the Pochette (the collection’s smallest and most pared-back shape) with vintage Levi’s and a smoking jacket—but, of course, offered in black, white, and cognac (with additional go-with-anything colours coming down the line), the styling opportunities are seemingly endless.