Our new SoMa Bag and Tiburon Tote, announced earlier this month, have been a long time in the making. During April I spent close to a month in Italy, working with our Italian atelier to complete these handbags.

In Italy, bag making is an art form that dates back to the medieval guilds. Most handbag artisans work in small ateliers, often working for the same business their entire lives. The ateliers are typically owned by families that pass them down from one generation to the next.

The first step in creating Jill Milan bags is to sketch them in our offices. We consider fashion trends while creating the initial concepts.  At the same time we also request materials from Italy’s fabric houses and adjust the concepts to accommodate the materials.  Designs usually go through numerous revisions before they are ready to go to Italy for production.

In Italy the artisan creates a pattern for the bags and then makes a felt sample, which we use to determine how the bag feels when carried, whether the handbag’s proportions and hardware are correct. After changes in hardware and sizing, we proceed to make samples in fabrics. The entire process takes at least three months from start to finish.

The next step is bringing these bags from Italy to the United States to be photographed. In these photos, model Ellian Raffoul of San Francisco poses with the handbags

We shot all these photos in San Francisco at some of the city’s most familiar sites — Nob Hill, the Mission and Pacific Heights.

You can see Jill Milan’s new collection online at www.jillmilan.com.

Credits:  Ellian Raffoul of Look Models, Moanalani Jeffrey of Moanalani Jeffrey Photography, and TAL Diamonds.

Jill Milan's SoMa Bag in gold and anthracite
 
Jill Milan Tiburon Tote
Jill Milan Tiburon Tote in gold metallic
 
Jill Milan SoMa Bag in anthracite
Jill Milan SoMa Bag in anthracite
 
Jill Milan SoMa Bag in antique gold
Jill Milan SoMa Bag in antique gold
 
Jill Milan SoMa Bag in pewter
Jill Milan SoMa Bag in pewter