“A handbag is a canvas with a handle.”Anthony Luciano
Anthony Luciano began creating one-of-a-kind handbags over 20 years ago.
Throughout the years, he amassed an extensive collection of vintage handbag hardware. Inspired by these antique pieces, his original collections were made exclusively from these rare collectors’ items. “I’m such a packrat!”, Anthony says, as he displays his drawers filled with hundreds of globally sourced clasps, beads, handles, and purse frames.
Only two months after starting his business, Anthony received a small write-up in Harper’s Bazaar. Soon afterwards, an author writing about the history of handbags contacted him and ended up featured eight of Anthony’s bags in her book, including one of his favorites: a carved jade frame with fabric that Anthony hand beaded. This immediate press helped Anthony get the word out about his unique products, and the customer requests quickly grew.
“People carry their lives and secrets in their bags. Every bag is created to fit their lifestyle and needs.”
Anthony’s repurposed bags are pieces of art. While his loyal clients loved them for occasions and specialty wear, they began requesting more practical options for everyday use. Every bag Anthony creates is either a one-of-a-kind or limited edition, but he was able to adapt his designs and expand into daywear.
In addition to custom orders, Anthony has third trademark styles that he tailors with an endless variety of colors, sizes, strap lengths, pocket styles, and materials. His bags may have thousands of iterations, but they all share one consistent tradition: a single penny is stitched into the interior seams. “My grandparents taught me that if you give a handbag or wallet as a gift, you must put money inside for the recipient’s good fortune and prosperity.”
“I’m teaching people about leather and construction over a glass of wine.”
Anthony’s studio is a beautiful combination of workspace, museum exhibit, and collector’s archive. He custom built a wet bar, installed his grandmother’s old canning sink and kitchen cabinets, and refinished the original hardwood flooring, all to create a speakeasy style that reflects his personality and love of antiques.
While redesigning his studio, Anthony also created a space for public workshops. In one popular workshop called “Sip and Stitch”, customers walk away with a wallet or eye glass case that they made themselves. In his “Erotic and Exotic” class, participants create custom paddles from exotic skins of alligator, crocodile, python, lizard, or ostrich. A dominatrix is on hand to offer advice and instructions for use.
By following his passions, Anthony has found his calling. He’s preserving the past while helping others attain it. This has allowed him to build a successful brand and business, but it’s clear that what Anthony is most excited about is sharing in the collective interest with the community he has created.