Object Lesson: Tooling Around

We once read that Michael Kors never ever carried bags over the shoulder because the weight on the straps destroyed the silhouette of a good jacket. Smart move.
Our latest obsession is Billykirk's top-class version of the traditional hand-held mason bag. Originally used for tools of the trade, this clean-looking tote is a must to replace a tired brief case or that slouchy (read: sloppy) overnight bag. Brothers Chris and Kirk handcraft their gorgeous bags with antique tools and old-world master-craftsman techniques. The result is a timeless, structured design they refer to as "the new vintage." We love the totally stripped down canvas ($310 for the overnighter size), but the brothers' version for Noah ($580) styled in Italian wool with leather and stainless-steel hardware is sublime for globe-trotting guys and girls alike. Trend watch: We just spotted similar designs at the Trovata and Derek Lam shows, too. —Christene Barberich and Piera Gelardi
From left: Derek Lam and Trovata Spring/Summer '07
Billykirk "Mason" bag (top) available in New York at Oak, 208 North 8th Street, Brooklyn, 718-782-0521, and in Los Angeles at Fred Segal luggage, 8100 Melrose Avenue, 323-655-3734. Noah bag available in New York at Nom de Guerre, 640 Broadway; 212-253-2891. For more information on Billykirk bags, go to www.billykirk.com.
Derek Lam photograph by First View. Trovata photograph courtesy of Trovata.
Thanks to the brothers of Billykirk, handyman chic is in the bag.

More from Fashion

R29 Original Series