Once just a posh London postcode with stratospheric real estate prices, SW1 is now an accessories brand that launched this week in Milan from a new showroom in Via della Spiga. Its high-end bags and shoes are designed by Florence and London-based, Spanish-born Alvaro Gonzalez, who was this week nicknamed 'one of the secret weapons of the shoe-and-bag boom' by US Vogue's Sarah Mower, due to his CV that includes eight years at Jimmy Choo as Accessories Design Director and stints at Loro Piana, Tod's and Valentino, to name just a few.
The brains, resources and initials behind the brand are that of New York- based Stuart Weitzman, a veteran shoe maker and a household name in the US. Gonzalez has developed the shoes in Weitzman's own factories in Spain (he owns 14) and the bags with specialist makers in Italy. He has also worked with New York-based art director David Lipman on the brand's new yellow logo.
Highlights from the bag collection include rhomboid shapes, winter pastels, minimal hardware, asymmetrically-cut envelope clutches and novel materials like its chains covered in leather or python-skin sourced in Japan and mosaic resin that recalls the Florentine inlaid stone technique, Pietra Dura. But what has really got the team pining is the footwear, which included deep, triangular-shaped décolletés, petal details on the vamps of booties and flats, wing-back details on the sandals and the heels, with inserted art-deco motifs in metal, resin mosaics (just like the bags) and spiral-effect hand-wrapping in suede.