Hubert Burda Media

Montblanc’s cutting-edge leather collections

GIACOMO CORTESI, managing director of Montblanc's leather division, on the Extreme and Meisterstück Sfumato collections

Montblanc’s cutting-edge leather collections

It may have made its name manufacturing impeccable writing instruments and has been gaining traction in the world of watches, but the Montblanc of today is also a leader in leather. Two collections in particular — the Extreme and the Meisterstück Sfumato — exemplify how the age old material can be groundbreaking in the way it stands up to the elements, yet also be informed by fine historical craftsmanship to accentuate the beauty of its designs. Managing director of the brand's leather division, Giacomo Cortesi, shares more interesting facts about these cutting-edge collections.

Montblanc Meisterstück Sfumato Collection

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1 Inspiration is from the Renaissance

“It happened to be the day when the Uffizi Gallery [in Florence, Italy] was opened to residents for free. Usually, long queues of visitors make it impossible to visit the museum. We found inspiration from Leonardo da Vinci's drawings and paintings using the sfumato technique, which has a smoked effect on the sides, to highlight brightness in the centre.”
2 Trials took more than a year
“We had to modify the application method, which includes the paint gun. In the beginning, we painted on finished products. It didn't work. We realised we have to paint every single segment by hand for the graduated, smoky effect, before assembling all the pieces together, so each product is one-of-a-kind. But we only have two painters (a third is currently being trained) to carry out the tedious process. A bag that usually takes two and a half hours to produce now takes eight hours.”
3 The most difficult piece to make is the belt
“It requires two people: One to move the belt as the other paints it. It is a very long strip of leather and the tiring process has to be repeated twice on each side, entirely done by hand.”
4 The collection is so popular it has a waiting list
“The aged patina effect creates this impression as though as you've had the item for years. This is something unique for Montblanc so we thought we would release a capsule collection. But we sent it out to the market and it sold out.”

Montblanc Extreme Collection

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1 It embraces technical innovations
“The two collections have different starting points. While the Montblanc Meisterstück Sfumato Collection has its roots from the past, this comes from the future.”
2 The state-of-the-art leather was informed by luxury car upholstery
“In combination with manufacturing processes in use since Montblanc made its first leather accessories in 1926, the accessories are crafted using high performance leather we developed with a top luxury car manufacturer. Our partner opened his archive to us and we found some interesting research that went behind this special leather that is resistant to scratches, water and even fire.”
3 Even Cortesi is now a backpack convert
“I never liked carrying backpacks but the one from this collection has changed my mind. I constantly travel and this multi-tasker is perfect for a 48-hour bag — I can put many things and have it close to me. It is a luxury leather product in a cool, contemporary design. I feel like I can go around the world with it, whether I'm on the plane, in the office, or riding a motorbike. And I'm not the only fan — yes, it's one of Montblanc's bestsellers and also has its own waiting list.”