‘Happiness for me is being in my atelier - my studio - completely unrestrained and focused, experimenting with designs. When I am working, I surround myself with sketches I’ve made and hundreds of swatches of leather. It is like a silent dialogue, and leather is my muse. From my first discovery of leather, I have remained true to this innocent obsession. The touch, sight and smell of it fills me with a sense of wonder and surprise. It is my intention to imbue this passion I feel into every design I create. I want my pieces to stir the soul, to uplift the spirit and to inspire joy. I want you to feel what I feel when I am creating’ thus Hester van Eeghen (1958 – 2021)
Hester van Eeghen Leather Design was founded by Hester van Eeghen in 1988. Educated in Dutch Literature and Law she discover her true passion and talent when working with leather. She was inspired by all of its possibilities, for her leather was not just a material, it was her muse. During her 30+ year working life she developed a great eye and knowledge of leather and explored all its possibilities and limitations. The thing that inspired her most was the fact that leather has something sensual, exciting, unexpected and invites to touch, elements she integrated in her designs.
Each Hester van Eeghen design has a distinct character, a slightly human quality that is also reflected in the name it is given. While designing the bags Hester has always considered it is something very personal, it is something held close to the body and in a way it is the biggest secret one carries around, it can hide everything and reveal only what one wants to be revealed. It is an extension of the person, something like a second skin, a reflection of how people think, how they do business and how secure they feel. So when looking into someone’s bag one gets a true insight in the owner of the bag….hence the reason why one doesn’t just go looking in the bag of another.
Clear and distinct shapes are an important element of Hester’s designs, while some have a supple, sculptural silhouette, others look stark and geometric or clearly inspired by vintage bags they are always recognizable as Hester van Eeghen designs and are clearly rooted in a typical Dutch design tradition. Hester believed that the beauty of the handbag design doesn’t only lie in the exterior of the bag but also in the hidden surprising element of the interior of the bag. What you get is not necessarily what you see. A sleek matte black leather bag could be lined up in some extravagant colour and small, mysterious compartments on the inside while a brightly coloured bag might have a simple clean interior. Each bag is a visual feast, the more abstract and remote the form, the more extravagant and tactile the material, always with smartly integrated practical and functional elements.
With an early childhood fascination for colour she intuitively began experimenting with colours in her designs as well. Shape is fundamental to her designs but adding colour brought depth, perspective and an element of surprise. She would bring her favorite colours to the tannery in Milan to try to duplicate them and when she succeeded she would give them positive, exotic and meaningful names that also reflected the patterns and textures they possessed. Colour was her source of energy and she transmitted that through her colourful designs.
Hester decided to produce her designs in Italy because of the high level enthusiasm about modeling and producing complicated designs, the professional craftsmanship and technical expertise and because of the unparalleled possibilities with regards to materials, colours and finishes. The bags are designed and produced to the highest possible quality.
It is with great sadness to mention that Hester, our sparkling, colourful founder and multi-talented designer passed away in April 2021. Although she is missed in everything we do since she was closely involved in each and every aspect of the business we believe her magnificent legacy allows us to carry on and build a great future on the fundamentals she has laid down. We owe it to her to continue to spark joy and surprise our clients by the leather goods we make.