Is This Australia's First True Luxury Handbag Brand?
There’s nothing we love more than discovering an up-and-coming brands, and we have no doubts that this one is about to be big. Founded by Hermione Espie Underwood and twins Airlie and Alexandra Roche Hamilton, Espie Roche is about to be the next big handbag brand.
“Every detail of an Espie Roche piece has been carefully considered, drawing inspiration from the art and architecture of the Centro Storico of Florence,” the brand’s site states—and the attention-to-detail shines through. With every aspect of the brand’s designs meticulously thought out, the final product is collection that feels undeniably luxe. From the colour palette to the hardware, each and every element has been carefully considered.
Being the fashion fanatics we are, we couldn't help but wonder exactly what the decision-making process behind the brand looked like, so we sat down with the founders for a little insight. Needless to say, the details they shared only further convinced us of Espie Roche’s impending success. From hours of driving through the Italian countryside, to paying homage to their own mothers, the founders have put their heart and souls into this collection. And it shows. Keep reading for our interview with Hermione, for the details behind the brand’s inception and its debut designs.
Tell us about Espie Roche–what was the idea and driving force behind launching the brand?
Espie Roche is a dream realised for each of us. Independently we had dreamt of developing a luxury brand and in building on Hermione’s early investigations in Italy, the creative endeavour slowly came to life. Working in Italy was a natural choice for us all, not just because we each have strong ties to the country, but because it is the leader in luxury and leather manufacturing.
Years in the making, the process has meant countless hours driving through Northern Italy, learning as much as we can about the industry and its experts; at trade shows and on the ground, knocking on doors to speak with artisans. Our shared aesthetic and enthusiasm culminates in what Espie Roche is today: A luxury brand offering classic shapes and styles in vibrant colourways, manufactured by the leading artisans in Italy.
How long did it take you to take the brand from idea to reality?
Espie Roche was years in the making. We wanted to allow the project the time it required, to learn about the industry and to develop relationships with each component and assembly manufacturer. As a team we were very patient, considered, and, ultimately, selective in who we worked with for our zips, our hardware, our calf and precious skins. We feel this is evident when you touch the ﬁnished product.
What was the process and how did you learn how to launch the brand?
As a team, we have diverse experience in luxury brands, PR, and fashion. In setting out, we focused on developing from a consumer perspective. Our priority was to develop a reﬁned and pared back aesthetic created with expert Italian craftsmanship. Espie Roche the brand was born from the foundations of quality, simplicity, and elegance with a hint of fun.
No brand arrives fully formed and we are aware this will always be a work in progress. With that said, we feel Espie Roche already exhibits a certain spirit, displayed in our playful limoncello packaging, our emphasis on colour, our social media, and our communications. Watch this space!
How did you choose the colours and fabrics you have available?
Our vibrant colour palette is a key selling point and will continue to be a focus for our brand in coming collections. The Collection I palette is inspired by a vintage Capri poster and consists of Nero (black), Pietra (grey), Aperol (orange), Ravello (blue) and, of course, our signature brand colour, Limoncello (yellow).
Our use of calf skin and precious skins was another deliberate choice. Espie Roche stands for timelessness and quality. Precious skins are rebellious act against ‘fast fashion’, as we seek to produce pieces which will transcend seasons and even generations. When we looked to our mothers’ collections, the pieces they had kept were often in precious skins or classic shapes,
driving our design decision-making. Did we mention the brand name? It’s another nod to our mothers, Espie and Roche being our mother’s maiden names.
Tell us about the trimmings and why they’re so special.
The Espie Roche aesthetic is bold yet discreet, playful yet sophisticated, modern yet timeless. Our launch strategy focuses our attention on the Arno Satchel: Our hero product and most versatile piece. It features gold bridges inspired by the Ponte Vecchio in Florence, which secure a hand strap and also serve to attach the long cross-body strap. Our hardware is inspired by the marble pattern evident in the Duomo in the centre of Florence.