The making of a bag: Uma luxe satchel

How is an NVD bag designed, created and produced?   Here is a look inside the designer's sketchbook and inside the making of the Uma luxe tote:  an impressive 65 pieces and 14 rivets make up this beauty!

A great bag should cover many needs and fantasies :  a super carry-all, sturdy and strong, gorgeous and confident (like shoes and jewelry!).  A great body, good handles, a wearable sculpture.  So I set about sketching.  I was obsessed with an old doctor bag from my Berlin grandma that my mom inherited, and the look of a shapely bag carried in hand or in the crux of the elbow, like Audrey in ‘How to Steal a Million’, but modernised :  bigger, and it can just slide up to the shoulder, too. 

The bag was to showcase endless options for leathers and fabrics mixes, to show off all it’s talents :  wow, sweet, dramatic, fun, cool, low key, sexy, daring…and I realized it was like my favorite actress at the time  - Uma Thurman.  I was creating a great bag for all the parts we girls play in our daily lives.  The ‘Uma’ was born.

The bag first went from sketches to model to construction with Sophie and my previous atelier, but she decided to make a career change, so we went on to fine tune Uma with Patrice and his atelier.  We've been happily honing the Uma for a few years now.

Uma is by far the most complex bag at Nicole Van Dyke – and why it is the luxury model:  65 separate pieces make up one bag !  No step in the construction process is automated. Everything is hand-cut using metal ‘pattern pieces’ at the press machine : leather, fabric, lining and interlining are all cut this way. 

Then the bag is pieced and sewn together by the atelier confectioners, under Patrice’s supervision.  Various machines specialize in straight or rounded-corner stitching.  The handles are individually made around heavy cotton cord, and the lined, outer pockets at each end of the bag are particularly intricate work.

14 rivets are individually attached with a special machine at the handles, each end of the bag, and as feet underneath.

Like a great actress, transformed for a role, the Uma ‘acts’ so differently depending on the mix of fabrics and leathers.  The contrast piping and the details in the leather attaching the handles to the bag are particularly effective in highlighting the bag's silhouette - all that makes for one show-stopping bag that carries around all your glorious stuff!

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