The Fashion Folk S01 ep4 : Lambertson Truex, Truex Fashion, [New York]
Interview with Lambertson Truex
That is my assistant Amanda over there, lovely Amanda. Her mother was in Marocco on a camel. She called us on her cell phone from Marocco saying, "You're not going to believe this I'm in Marocco, I'm riding a camel with my handbag and there is a woman asking me if this is a Lambertson Truex handbag!"
KM: What is Lambertson Truex?
It is an accessory house for both men and women.
KM: When did the actual partnership and the company start?
February 1998 is when we sort of incorporated and our collection was first
shipped in September 1998.
Both Richard and I have been in the accessory industry for many years. I
designed the accessories for Carl Scalchi and CK Calvin Klein and Richard...
I was Design Director at Gucci for a few years, I was working for Calvin Klein, I
worked for Geoffrey Bean and various other designers. Prior to starting the
company I was Senior Vice President for Bergdorf Goodman so I worked on
the retail end of things as well, ran the fashion office that sort of thing. We just
collected our resources and decided to start this business.
KM: But why did you need each other?
We needed each other because we wanted to need each other, and we
thought two people, two heads, were great to formulate a really strong
We work very collectively from start to finish. We are also very
interchangeable, but Richard and I both start the collection together, sit down
talk about what we are thinking, what we are feeling individually, put it all out
on the table and then we sort of start putting it together in illustration form,
colour form and then we travel together to Italy.
I mean it sounds like we work in sync 100%; we actually work very differently
than each other. We both come from different areas that way. John likes to
have things very organised and the collection is flowing and we are designing it
together, he is inspired by that organisation and my ideas come from chaos...
KM: Ah so the chaos and the control.
So it is chaos and control
It’s a nice balance.
But it is a good balance.
KM: What was the need, for God's sake there is a lot of bags out there.
Well there may be a lot of bags now, but when we started the business I think
that the market really was begging for something new and different.
When we entered the market in 1998, we were up against, it was the Year of
the Logo, and we entered right at that time with a very low key, luxury, tranquil
KM: What is different about your product?
We put a lot of thought into each and every bag, so every design is really
designed from top to bottom.
Inside out, exterior, interior, the proportion of the bag.
The bags are more functional than what is out there. They are not a bag that
the woman wearing it enters the room and the bag enters the room first.
One of the problems with fashion at the moment is that people are more
obsessed with what is new than what is good.
In other words, what is setting the trend, just to quickly interrupt, is that the
woman is setting the trend and Richard was getting it right to the point about
really speaking and being with our friends, and talking with them is as almost
as important if not more important than travelling and seeing the world and
being inspired by a beautiful sunset.
KM: Why leather goods, what is the magic of leather?
It is a beautiful material to work with. But there is a major difference between
leather and fabric and how you can build a bag and shape a bag.
KM: Explain it to me.
Well fabric has a lot of flexibility; it is basically a woven fibre so you have the
ability to have a softer drape where leather has more than a rigid quality. Yes
you can skive it down to be paper thin.
Also the design of the bag lends itself to require a certain type of leather, for
instance some bags are made like clothing, where you sew the seams inside
then you turn it inside out - you can't make every bag that way. Sometimes the
technology has to match the leather that you are using and we have to match
the design to the technology that is available. What is the difficult part and I
find challenging and fun is like for instance take a shoe for example, you may
do a sketch of a shoe and you want some sort of stitching or whatever but a
shoe is not flexible like a bag, you cannot turn it inside out, you can't always
put a stitch where you want it so ... it is like a word problem, it is like O.K. here
is what we want it to look like, here are the machines that are available. You
can either do it piped or you can turn the leather the other way and stitch it that
way - that is going to give it a sporty look. Just changing a stitching or
changing from a piping or from a French seam will change the look of the shoe
We use a lot of natural tanned vercetta.
So they do age, in 20 years time they get better. In our opinion they get better
as they age. They soften, they darken a bit and to me it is part of the beauty of
KM: What is the reason that you have to make bags or shoes?
It is about feeling good.
I am really motivated by the reaction, even if it is a bad reaction, because I will
turn it into something good and obviously that is not what got me into the
business. What got me into the business was answering a Help Wanted ad.
KM: Is this your company 100% you don't have any financial support?
We only had ‘X’ amount of dollars to start with so that was it, and once that
was gone it was gone. So we were very lucky to have been supported by
companies that we were working for at the time, and when we decided to leave
they kept us on, on a consulting basis for a short period of time. But we really
put every cent we had into the company in the beginning and it has really paid
We have taken on one very important project in addition to our own label; it is
with Hartmann, Hartmann luggage. We are the creative directors for
KM: So you are obviously doing your spin off, and related to your core
Well we do bags for Will and Grace, and we have met some people in
Hollywood and that has been sort of amusing and they use the bags on the
show - they buy them personally for gifts and that has been sort of fun.
That is my assistant Amanda over there, lovely Amanda. Her mother was in
Morocco on a camel...
She called us on her cell phone from Morocco saying, Your not going to
believe this I'm in Morocco, I'm riding a camel with my handbag and there is a
woman asking me if this is a Lambertson Truex handbag.
OFFICIAL WEBSITE: Lambertson Truex, Truex Fashion, New York