“In Hollywood, we acquire the finest novels in order to smell the leather bindings.” – Ernst Lubitsch
Two of my favorite things: leather and a fabulous blank book waiting to be filled. Sketching, new design ideas, or just to get the million thoughts that fill my head on to paper…the possibilities are endless. While walking through the convention hall at Maison et Objet, we stumbled across a true treasure. This never would have happened if we didn’t walk the outskirts of the aisles as I always insist on doing, which always drives Jess (my general manager and merchandiser) crazy. “You never know what we may find,” I said.
What we found was Francesco Lionetti, a third generation leather atelier from Florence, Italy. The booth was nondescript at first glance. Then we noticed the colors of leather, and the beautiful workmanship. There was even someone embossing the books as we watched in amazement. Then Francesco appeared, and we were overwhelmed by his demeanor, charm and fabulous accent.
“BonGiorno belle signore. Hello, beautiful ladies. Would you like some cheese, or perhaps some wine?” When an Italian man offers you either of those things it’s hard to resist, even at 9:30 in the morning. We spent an hour with him and had to pry ourselves away. We listened to the story of his great grandfather starting their custom leather business which includes the likes of Zegna and Hermes. Old School manufacturing, everything is hand cut and sewn with precision.
After selecting piece types, colors, and embossing (you know I love croc), we couldn’t stop commenting on the cheese. “Oh, you like?” he said. Like?! We LOVE it. “Ok, I will send you some Grana Padano with your shipment.” We laughed, thanked him for a lovely morning and headed back to the bustling aisles. Our shipment came last week, and Jess called me screaming, “CHEESE!!! He sent the cheese!”
We didn’t just get beautiful leather journals, but also photo albums, notepads, and passport covers. The colors alone are making me dream of my next adventure to hunt for treasures. India perhaps….?