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'Toronto Cycle Bag' by Caroline Issa

25th Jun 2018

To celebrate the 250th Anniversary of the Royal Academy of Arts, William & Son join forces with the editor and style icon Caroline Issa to create two unique handbags.

William & Son’s founder, William Asprey is a patron of the arts and it is in his personal art collection that Caroline found her initial inspiration for the distinct take on the classic Annabel bag. Both bags feature zig zag prints inspired by Jon Thompson’s Toronto Cycle painting. From a Canadian background, Caroline felt a connection with the artwork but also appreciated the fact that Jon Thompson had built his legacy in Britain, in line with William & Son, a distinctly British brand rich in heritage.

Jon Thompson – Toronto Cycle #7 – Northern Lights, yellow – 2009

The Toronto Cycle Bags curated by Caroline Issa reinterpret the shapes from Thompson’s artwork in a combination of contrasting colours and materials, showcasing the highest level of craftsmanship of William & Son.

Developed with Sarah Larn, our Head of Design and Product Development, the collaboration highlights the importance art plays in our modern society and how strongly it can influence product design.

Working in a couture way, the design process began by selecting the technique of embellishment and trailing different colour combinations and finishes of beads. Skins including anaconda, suede and calfskin, were selected from an Italian tannery and fabrics were cut in zig zags by hand before being sent to Paris where the beads were hand stitched on to the panels. Finally, the fabrics travelled back to our factory where they were made into the bags.

Caroline Issa carries ‘Toronto Cycle Bag’ to the V&A Summer Party

In partnership with Bond Street Association, William & Son is part of an exclusive collection of art-inspired window installations celebrating the Royal Academy’s 250th Anniversary available to view from the 22nd June – 8th July 2018. During these dates, The Toronto Cycle Bags will be displayed on 36 Bruton Street, in a unique window display curated by Caroline Issa.

“I have always been impressed by William & Son’s dedication to creating things of beauty with the highest craftsmanship. When they approached me about celebrating the RA’s 250th Anniversary with a spectacular window display I couldn’t resist. And especially when I got into William’s personal art collection and his own dedication to supporting artists and craft.” Caroline Issa

The two unique handbags will be sold online and in-store.



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