Bags of style
In GLAMOUR’s October 2011 issue, we tell you about the arrival of Gruber & Whale handbags on our shores, and share a little about the fabulous founders of the brand, Robyn Whale and Taryn Gruber. But that was just the beginning – here, we talk to the talented twosome about their favourite handbags, how to accesorise with style, and buying investment pieces you’ll love for a lifetime.
GLAMOUR: Taryn, you’ve worked with the Vivienne Westwood label, and Robyn, you worked for Giorgio Armani. Can you tell us a bit about this?
Taryn and Robyn: Working with Vivienne Westwood and Giorgio Armani were opportunities of a lifetime. They were both very interesting, inspiring experiences, where we were able to work within the environments of successful super-brands. With this, we have acquired an uncompromising view on quality, craftsmanship and attention to detail. We have also learnt the balance of designing a premium, aesthetically beautiful product with practical, functional sensibilities. Robyn’s aesthetic is sporty, graphic and has practical sensibilities with clean and classic lines. Taryn’s aesthetic is unstructured asymmetrical lines combined with traditional, classic and historical sensibilities.
GLAMOUR: What’s the best thing about your job?
Taryn and Robyn: We are so grateful that we get up everyday and do what we absolutely love – being creative. It’s very exciting to confront the everyday challenges that come with running one’s own business.
GLAMOUR: Your bags are named after iconic women. Could you tell us a bit about this?
Taryn and Robyn: We relate to these women. Each one of them holds characteristics that inspire us, from their sense of individual style to how they lived their lives – we love what these women represented. They were unique, strong and independent individuals and this was clearly evident in the way they dressed.
GLAMOUR: Which is your favourite of your own designs?
Taryn and Robyn: We love the entire collection and what every bag has to offer. We have considered each style carefully and how they make up the collection as a whole. Each bag has its own special quality and function and has been designed specifically to allow for flexibility of choice. Our collection offers variety, with careful attention paid to every one. Taryn really enjoys carrying the Marlene for its practical size and day-to-night flexibility. Robyn carries the Faye and loves the unique square shape and broad base of this contemporary design.
GLAMOUR: What is your favourite iconic handbag, and why?
Taryn and Robyn: Iconic bags, for us, are the functional bags used from past decades that really contributed to the practicality of the working individuals life. The 1950s Postman bag is an example of this, an inspiration we used towards the design of Frank. From seed-sewing bags, vintage grocery shoppers, old tool pouches to army satchels, our inspiration stems from industrial bags that would make one’s working day that much easier, bags that demonstrated a sense of form and function for practical purposes.
GLAMOUR: What advice would you give a girl who’s buying her first investment handbag?
Taryn and Robyn: Look closely at the quality of the handbag from the stitching to the type of leather used. If she is buying an investment piece, she will want to ensure that the bag will last her a lifetime and will suit her practical, everyday life. Also, bear in mind that fashion is constantly changing, so invest in a timeless piece, with a classic colour palette, in order to evolve with fashion and the seasons, instead of against it.
GLAMOUR: Tell us a little about caring for leather bags and luggage.
Taryn and Robyn: By investing in good quality leather, small scratches should be able to rub off quite easily. Otherwise, use a leather polish (Dubbin) twice to three times a year to protect the leather. Leather is not waterproof and stains are difficult to remove, so it’s important to bear that in mind when in accident-prone environments. But it’s also important to remember that leather bags should mould to the wearer over a period of time and should be worn and loved, and improved with age. Markings and blemishes are part of that process.
GLAMOUR: If you had to use only one bag for a full year, what would it be?
Robyn: Taryn loves to wear Marlene and I love to wear Faye – we use these bags all the time! Sometimes we will swop for a day or night, but ultimately these bags suit our personalities and lifestyles.
GLAMOUR: I have black and brown bags. What are some other staple colours to own?
Taryn and Robyn: Chestnut and toffee are great for summer – toffee is particularly lovely when worn with denim, chestnut worn with a red dress or even red lips, a perfect match. One can also really lift their look in winter if they are wearing dark colours – the bag will pop and accessories can be the strong theme for an overall look. Black bags are a must have staple; you can never go wrong with black.
GLAMOUR: What three things do you always have in your handbag?
Taryn: Blackberry, Small Inner Bag (for lipstick, lip balm and a few bits and bobs) and a notebook to jot down ideas on the run.
Robyn: A Purse, Large Inner Bag for makeup and stuff (refer to Gruber & Whale website) and Eight Hour Cream.
You can visit the Gruber & Whale website to find out more about Robyn and Taryn’s covetable handbag creations.