W - A Novel Idea

In the mid-’90s, Mesh Chhibber was the guy smashed up against the barricades facing a crowd of angry editors all trying to get into the John Galliano runway show. Last spring, after 20 years in the business, the fashion PR veteran left the company he cofounded and crossed over to the other side. “I realized there was so much product out there—and a lot of it was poorly crafted,” he says. Nostalgic for the kind of beautifully made accessories that could be passed down through the generations, he and his artist friend Sofie C. Guerrero launched Peau de Chagrin, with the intent of producing only a handful of products a year. Their first collection, available on Peaudechagrin.com, consists of a single item: a vegetable-tanned leather bag made by a Swiss artisan. Each of the 100 bags comes with a copy of Honoré de Balzac’s La Peau de Chagrin from an edition Chhibber and Guerrero published themselves, featuring artwork commissioned from friends. “It’s a Faustian tale about consuming and desiring too much,” Chhiber says of the 19th-century novel. “It spoke to us.”

PdC