The best handbag brand you’ve never heard of

“It’s the woman that makes the bag, not the other way round,” says Italian accessory designer Gianni Chiarini of his clean, minimal designs.

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Image Caroline Leeming. Clockwise from left: tan large tote, £165; tan medium tote, £160; taupe flap clutch, £125; tan small pocket bag, £115; taupe envelope clutch, £105 (Available at Fenwick Bond StreetLeicester and Tunbridge Wells)

“You will never find a big, intrusive logo on our bags, they will never weigh you down with heavy hardware or overwhelming gold details," Chiarini continues. "Our designs are simple and understated.”

What caught our eye most about the bags is the price tag, starting from £105, with the most expensive just £195. Crafted from luxury Italian leather and manufactured entirely in Italy, that is quite a feat.

Twenty years ago when Chiarini branched out from the family wholesale accessory business and first launched the label, he travelled to China to investigate manufacturing the bags there. Unconvinced he resolved to create them entirely in Florence.

Now its “Made in Italy” stamp can be seen in 5,000 outlets in more than 30 countries around the world. Last year, 600,000 handbags were sold, all without a star face of the brand and no paid-for ambassadors to swing Chiarini's totes.

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Image Caroline Leeming. Clockwise from left: red tote bag, £150; red and yellow small pocket bags, £115; blue large tote bag, £165; brown small pocket bag, £115; yellow flap clutch, £140. (Available at Fenwick Bond Street, Leicester and Tunbridge Wells)

Aside from the quality, there's also a wealth of choice, with 60 different styles to choose from in a rainbow of colours with shades often inspired by make-up palettes. “I like the idea of women having a different bag for every day - to always change the style and not invest in just one expensive design that they have to stick with but feel they can have a whole handbag wardrobe to play with,” Chiarini explains.

The bags are versatile, whether hand-held, cross-body, over the shoulder or rucksack style. One of the most resourceful is the “Cover Bag” with a zip-free lower layer that you can interchange with different materials - laminated leather, printed fabric, camouflage raffia or even nylon.

As "versatility" is the fashion buzzword right now, that is good news for busy multi-tasking women in the market for hard-working handbags. That's all of us then.

Available at Fenwick Bond StreetLeicester and Tunbridge Wells

By Claire Brayford