February 25, 2008
Beatrice Amblard Handbag Designer
Recently discovered the works of designer Beatrice Amblard, skilled handbag designer.
About Beatrice Amblard: April in Paris is both the boutique and workshop of master leather artisan Beatrice Amblard. The sleek, sun-drenched location on colorful Clement Street is well known to Bay Area devotees for its extraordinary custom accessories. All items are made by hand using centuries-old traditional methods, and every item is one-of-a-kind.
Amblard has more than 20 years of experience in her rarified trade. Born in France, she was 16 when she first visited the famous Chamber of Commerce and Industry of Paris.
Amblard enrolled for two years, and immediately upon receiving her diploma, was hired by Hermes in Paris as an apprentice. After four years, she came to Los Angeles to study English for six months. Hermes then invited her to San Francisco as â€œAmbassadorâ€? to the new San Francisco store, which opened in 1987. Amblard was only the second Hermes employee to come to the U.S. to work. After working on the infamous â€œKellyâ€? bag and custom designing small custom leather goods for fourteen years, Beatrice started her own line, April in Paris at a small workshop South of Market, where she built up a loyal following.
In 2000, Amblard opened April in Paris, a boutique and workshop on Clement Street. Beatrice is the only Hermes designer to open her own store in the U.S.
Amblard works with three or four tanners, all of whom are French. Only the finest skins are used, including French calf, ostrich, stingray and alligator. Amblard can request dye lots, which are done specifically for April in Paris.
Amblard is best known for her custom handbags, usually finished with the traditional saddle stitch, the same way it was done 200 years ago. All of her bags are marked with her logo, an 18-karat yellow or rose gold or sterling silver bee. The bee is the shortened version of her name and is what everyone calls herâ€”â€œBea.â€?
Amblard also custom designs briefcases, wallets, watchstraps, belts, coin purses, checkbook holders, Palm Pilot cases, desk accessories and anything else that a customer desires, including big items like furniture and car interiors. Amblard also has a line of jewelry and object, incorporating her bee logo. Items include pillboxes, money clips, key chains, bookmarks, rings, earrings and belt buckles. The only items without her bee are the sterling silver belt buckles.
The fun for the customer is the process of selecting the item, the leather, the color and the mixing of colors, the size, the detailing and the pleasure of working directly with Beatrice. A large stock of inventory skins is on the premises, and there is also an enormous array of swatch cards to choose from. Beatrice Amblardâ€™s work is so coveted; there is a three-month wait for a custom handbag. If a customer simply canâ€™t wait, there are plenty of beautiful handmade bags and accessories already in stock and for sale at the boutique.
Prices range from $175 for a custom calf leather watchband, $2800 for a custom calf handbag to $6,000 for a custom alligator bag. In the fashion world, where almost everything is made by machine, handcrafted, custom leather accessories are the ultimate luxury. It would be difficult to find more astonishingly beautiful leather accessories than at Beatrice Amblardâ€™s April in Paris.
Pictured below is a sample of bags by designer Beatrice Amblard
1) Natalie bag in alligator $9500
2) Reno clutch in lizard $3500 (above)
3) Manhattan tote in grain calf $3500
4) Bea Bag in alligator $8500
5) Lucy tote in alligator $8000
6) Nantucket in grain calf $3800
For more information please go to www.AprilinParis.us.
55 Clement Street, San Francisco CA 94118. Call 415.750.9910
Store hours are Monday to Saturday 11 am to 5 pm