Tuesday, April 26, 2011

A bag fit for a princess? Kate Middleton's $1,665 tote that was named after Diana

By Tamara Abraham

Modern classic: Kate Middleton with her grey Tod's D-Bag - an updated version of the original which was named after her fiance's late mother, Diana, who regularly carried it before her death in 1997 778

Given the circumstances, Kate Middleton is bound to be compared with Diana. But is the future princess actively channelling her fiance's late mother?

Miss Middleton, 29, has been spotted carrying Tods' D-Bag - a classic leather tote that the Italian label named for Princess Diana after her death in 1997.

Though it has been updated in style since its launch, with rounded corners and a zip, the style hallmarks are still there - quality leather, exposed stitching and a clean, classic design that screams luxury without flaunting an obvious designer label.

It is these features that have made it a popular choice with both A-listers and shoppers.

Fashion-forward actress Kate Bosworth owns a D-Bag in the same hue as Miss Middleton, while Jessica Alba has a bright glossy red one.

Anne Hathaway, Charlize Theron, Leighton Meester and Zoe Saldana have also been seen with different versions.

Celebrity favourite: The D-Bag is a hit with the A-list, and counts Zoe Saldana, Diane Kruger and Nicole Kidman among its most famous fans

Of course such luxury doesn't come cheap. A simple leather version costs from $1,665, while the 'luxury' version, with platinum hardware and kid leather lining costs from $4,650.

Think that's pricey? A glossy crocodile skin version costs upwards of $28,000.
Diego Della Valle, the son of the company's founder, revealed why it was such a natural decision to name the bag after Diana.

'She was an incredible supporter of our product,' he told the Times in an interview last year.

Understated luxury: The original D-Bag (left) which Diana carried regularly, and its modern incarnation (right), which is softer in shape. It takes two days for Tods' artisan craftsmen to make a single bag

He explained that the former wife of Prince Charles had discovered Tod’s herself, by browsing in the shops, unlike many high-profile women these days who are gifted with the bags they carry in order to generate press coverage.

'It was interesting for us because she used the D-Bag in many different situations, between official dinners or when she was in Africa,' he added.

Tod's was founded in the late 1920s by Dorino Della Valle, Diego's father.

But it was the younger Della Valle that spotted an unusual studded moccasin in a vintage shop in the U.S. in the Seventies, and used it as inspiration for what is now the brand's most successful product.

He explained how the company came to have a name that is so distinctly un-Italian.
'The idea was to try and get a name that
was easy to read and pronounce in every part of the world and recognise,' he revealed.

'At the time it was a little ambitious - I was young - but today it’s correct; people love the name. It’s

The company says its artisan craftsmen and an obsessive attention to detail are the secrets to its success.

Its website reads: 'Luxury... means having the know how of artisans apprenticed and trained over decades, and the capacity to detect the slightest fault in an apparently impeccable hide and discard it as unfit for Tod's.

'It is these same artisans, whose families have often been cobblers for generations, who hand cut individual strips of leather (sometimes as many as 100) and later sew them together, hammer them into shape and ultimately create an inimitable shoe or bag that only an Italian artisan with his ancestry and experience can create.'


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