Suman Tarafdar

Think fine Swiss leather and the de Sede name straightaway springs to mind. With roots in deep-seated leather expertise, de Sede’s prolific portfolio of unique leather products and services are of high repute globally. So much so that from classic James Bond films – On Her Majesty’s Service (1969) and Casino Royale (2006) – to more contemporary The IT Crowd or Hunger Games (2008), de Sede has featured in multiple popular culture programmes. Its use in the Bond films gave it almost instant fame, which the 54-year old brand has built on.

Almost two years after they introduced their furniture in India, the leading Swiss manufacturer of exclusive leather has announced the launch of their assortment of exquisite handbags and accessories in India. Monika Walser, CEO, de Sede said, “India is a very important market for us at de Sede. I believe in India. We started with furniture two and a half years ago and got a great response. We move into a market when we see people start to acknowledge and care about quality.”
de Sede’s roots and most of its global renown are in its much-admired range of furniture. The brand’s journey started with saddles followed by furniture that have been turning heads for decades. All de Sede leather – the brand processes around 70,000 square metres of top-quality leather annually – is manufactured in Klingnau, Switzerland. The precise connecting and decorative seams by de Sede are considered milestones in seaming technique, and are applied by hand on every model. Today the rounded de Sede logo with the distinctive S is instantly recognisable by luxury aficionados.
The company ventured into bags about a couple of years ago. “We have a DNA of doing sculptures and not just sofas. If you see ten sofas next to each other, you always know which one is the de Sede sofa, which is now sold in 69 countries. We decided we are masters in handling leather, and only having it on sofas and chairs is not enough, that is why we decided to start with bags. You can carry it all day long and you get the feeling of nice leather, and that’s why we started doing the bags.”

With price points going from ₹90 lakh to the ₹3 crore – the latter for the Angel clutch aka DS-ANGEL (almost as much as a Ferrari Portofino), it is also one of the most expensive handbags in the world. What makes it so expensive? Well, the limited-edition bag is covered in with 166 diamonds, 194 grams of gold and 245 grams of platinum! Even as Monika Walser, CEO, de Sede urges a feel of the exquisite leather hand stitched detailing, I am almost hesitant. Can one break a handbag?
Fortunately, not all the de Sede bags are as expensive, though the attention to detail and handcrafting is spread across the range. There are 13 models of bags on offer, along with accessories that are produced from the same high quality, premium leather and enhanced with the same seaming techniques that have been handed down for generations. The bags are made of semi-aniline bull leather and treated by in house recipes, reveals Walser. The natural grain and markings can be seen through a layer of pigment coating. The leather is also weather-resistant and dirt and water-repellent, a plus for India’s weather conditions.

The collections include clutches, messenger bags, totes and weekenders – and this includes bags for men too. The bags are functional too – and nothing highlights this better than the inner lining colours – yellow for women, pale blue for men – which makes searching for contents of a bag easier, points out Walser with a smile. Prices in India for bags start from ₹8,900 for the regular range. The brand offers its products at the same prices around the world, except if there is a special luxury tax or huge transportation cost. Chairs start from about ₹3.5 lakhs while sofas would begin from about ₹8 lakh, informs Sonal Saxena of de Sede India. “Our products are for a lifetime,” she stresses.

de Sede has also tied up for an exclusive collaboration with designer Varun Bahl. “In our bid to show further commitment to this market and take back a part of India through our bag collection to the world, we decided to collaborate with an Indian designer who represents the ethos of Indian art and marries it with the de Sede philosophy and strength in leather,” said Walser. The first of the ‘potli’ bags was unveiled during the launch of the de Sede handbags in India, held at the Swiss Embassy in Delhi recently. Bahl said, “we are going to be creating an exciting range of evening bags. de Sede is all about leather fine quality craftsmanship, and we have used leather in creating the embroideries with our signature motif.”
de Sede handbags and accessories are available in India at luxury boutique stores across India along with online luxury platforms such as Tata Cliq Luxury and Elitify.

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