Anya Hindmarch Told Us People Have Proposed Using Her Bespoke Collection

Caroline McCloskey

Anya_Hindmarch_Madison_Avenue_flagship_1-800x533British accessories designer Anya Hindmarch may have caused a frenzy when she launched her I Am Not a Plastic Bag eco-tote in 2007, but lately the designer’s attention seems to be squarely on her brand’s luxury roots. In 2009, she launched a Bespoke collection, which allows customers to personalize pieces from her collection. Now, Hindmarch is bringing the service to her newly opened Madison Avenue store—which features a workshop and craftsman right in the store.
We chatted with the designer about what makes her new store so special, making custom bags for Margaret Thatcher, and the inventive ways that her customers have used her bespoke bags. Hint: Wedding proposals are just the beginning.
The Vivant: Tell us about your new store!

Anya Hindmarch: Well, it’s the first time we’ve actually put out the bespoke concept [in one of our stores]—so it’s a really big moment for us. It’s lovely to be on Madison Avenue, properly. We’ve had a presence in New York for a long time, but it’s nice to have a space to fit the whole collection in and show it off to its best potential.
For me, it’s all about the craftsman and the workshop. This store is all about stories, including our products for customers that have handwriting and messages in them. It’s all about working with customers, and therefore creating memories. You feel quite privileged making these for people, actually.
And it’s about the craftsman in the store, because it’s also connecting people back to how things are made. People are so disconnected, it’s a shame.
Tons of celebrities love your bags and order them with personalized messages. Tell us what some have had written in their pieces?
Poppy Delevingne was proposed to with one of the jewelry boxes. It was so top secret, even I didn’t know about it! Inside all of the drawers were pictures of the two of them together. Then he had “will you marry me” written on the inside lid. There are so many stories like that.
We’ve also had funny ones. We had one with a naughty friend of mine who wanted a wallet made of crocodile, but we ended up making it out of the crocodile’s back end. So on it I embossed “to London’s favorite ass.” I love making the rude ones best—it’s quite fun.
Then there are also the sad ones. There was a man who knew he was dying, very sadly, and he ended up making a bag for his wife with a message inside to be delivered after he died. So, you know, you get very involved in people’s lives.
What did you do for Margaret Thatcher?
For Margaret Thatcher, I made for her a bag that said, “to someone you inspired.” It was a present from me. We made quite a few bags for her because our office was very close to her house. I also went to her funeral and Carol, her daughter, had a bag made for the funeral in memory of her mother. And what’s lovely is that Margaret Thatcher’s bag is now in The Churchill Archives Centre in Cambridge. Inside all of the pockets are letters from Gorbachev and Bush, so it’s quite historical.
Anything you’d love to have custom made personally?
Well, I love this [Bespoke Walton travel bag]. I’m desperate for it, because they just arrived. I want one for every child—I have five kids. It would be so nice to put all of their initials on them, so there wouldn’t be fighting over whose bag is whose. I love the colors and they’re a bit sixties as well. I really just want to organize my luggage. Oh, and actually I would love a big folio. I think it’s quite cool when you’re working. So, yes, I long to go shopping!
Anya Hindmarch, 795 Madison Avenue,

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