'I would not have my own line if it had not been for Mr Porter,' starts Álvaro González, on the eve of launching his debut bag collection exclusively on Mr Porter. 'Jeremy Langmead and Toby Bateman came to dinner in Florence one summer, liked the sandals and belts I was making for myself and said: "We need that product".'
It's an uncomplicated story that mirrors the unpretentious design of González's eponymous leather accessories line, that already includes sandals and belts for men, and sandals, handbags and small leather goods for women.
The bag collection, which launches on Tuesday, was González's response to his own life experiences and needs. After two decades of honing his craft at European luxury houses like Loewe, Valextra and Valentino, González can be trusted to develop items that are as useful as they are desirable.
The holdall, backpack, briefcase and document holder come in black, navy and tobacco and are made in brushed calf, washed calf or, simply, soft calf. Their clean lines and fine stitching accomplish González's aim to create bags of 'understatement, masculinity and practicality', a feat that the diagonal zip detail enhances. It's an innovation of his own that González also incorporates in his women's bags. He explains, 'it allows you to open the bag up completely, it's much easier for packing and unpacking, or finding something.'
González's collections are a mix of his combined influences, 'passion from Spain, quality from Italy. From the UK; the avant-garde plus the international mix in London,' he says. He blends in experience from his previous roles too, crediting Valentino for their quality and refinement, Tod's for their approach to product placement and holding Jimmy Choo's business strategy in high esteem.
This open-minded modern vision suits Mr Porter, where he is both a vendor and a customer. 'Their offer is very complete and the site is dynamic,' says González. 'It's just right for the way we live today.'