The Golden Age of Travel
The first in a series of five presentation cases for The Macallan in Lalique Golden Age of Travel. Each case is produced in an edition of fifty and holds a Lalique crystal decanter containing Macallan from the period. The cases will be released annually, with each edition featuring a different mode of transport (ocean liner, aeroplane, motor car, train and airship) and produced in a different colour.
From a fairly simple start – “It’s about the golden age of travel… It should look like a suitcase or a trunk” – this project evolved into a true labour of love.
What is great about luggage of that era is it was handmade – Custom built for specific applications in the best materials, with the highest quality workmanship, that would last for many years.
Finding a manufacturer who can produce that level of craftsmanship now is extremely hard. Add to that the specifications we wanted;
a full face blind emboss,
and a layered foil emboss on top that needed to register perfectly,
embossed triangular handle holds that match the Macallan 1824 date motif, and hand inked edges, (this is a specific skill – you can read more about it in this article about one of the only UK manufacturers still doing it at scale here)
solid brass quadrant hinges that cannot tarnish but don’t look lacquered,
goatskin fitments and hand-quilting on the transit pad, again in the Macallan pattern.
All these things take huge amounts of skill to produce at a level appropriate for the price tag.
But we did find a factory, in a town where all they make are leather goods, and where several generations sit together, quietly producing the most difficult luggage and handbags for various brands, (including the people who famously still make trunks). They don’t let you take pictures in there, but working with them was extraordinary. This is them showing me that the first solid brass hinges we sourced were useless.
And this is when they explained to me that the handle would need to be stitched all the way through the box, because the concealed screw fittings might split under the weight (aside from the case and the whisky itself, the decanter is very heavy, as the crystal is made with lead). That means passing a needle through four layers of leather and an inch of timber about ten times on each side of the handle, neatly.
It’s seriously hard work.
Where is the factory? I’m not telling. All I will say is it’s somewhere near here…
And that in a town dedicated entirely to leather, the hotel has a fairly morbid sense of humour.