LA Times - Peau de Chagrin skips fast fashion in favor of sartorial pieces that last

As a former fashion publicist for designer John Galliano and others, Mesh Chhibber is all too aware of the mercurial nature of the industry. So when Chhibber decamped to the other side — producing accessories and other goods rather than promoting brands — he had a different approach: create limited-edition pieces that take time to make and can then be bequeathed to another generation. 

Chhibber, who lives between London and Paris, teamed up with artist and friend Sofie C. Guerrero to form Peau de Chagrin, a brand with the unusual mission of making fewer items but having them last.

"We noticed that people weren't making things the way they used to," said Chhibber during an April interview in Los Angeles. "Customers were spending thousands of dollars on accessories that should last a lifetime, that could be handed down to grandchildren, and few brands still do that. I wanted to look for European craftsmen to make beautiful things properly."

Peau de Chagrin launched in 2015 with its first product, a sculpted tan leather handbag, devoid of logos and embellishment, a classic in the truest sense of the word. Each one takes 10 days to make by hand by an artisan in the Swiss Jura Mountains. The roughly $4,000 accessory generated a waiting list.

The just-launched second Peau de Chagrin is a yellow scarf created in Lyon, France, which has been the center of the French silk industry since the 1500s. The $792 square features an esoteric pattern of Kabbalistic text from a 17th century map that Guerrero discovered in a London library.

Limited edition silk scarf, inspired by Kabbalistic text, 700 Euros (approximately $790), peaudechagrin.com (peaudechagrin.com)

"It's the same idea as our brand," said Chhibber. "That of a sealed, special European knowledge."  

And what's next for Peau de Chagrin? A second handbag in black from an artisan in France and a handmade leather bound book from a British bookbinder. Chhibber said he will focus on bespoke, curated pieces to add to the line.

"People should buy fewer things, but what they do buy, they should keep forever," he said.

The handbag and the scarf from Peau de Chagrin are available at www.peaudechagrin.com.

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