SF: Behind The Scenes With New Luxe Brand House of Borel

House of Borel
Claire Borel and Michael Costello

Photo Credit: Drew Altizer Photography

With a debut at New York Fashion Week alongside Michael Costello designs under its belt and a spot at the Cannes Fashion Festival approaching on May 21, House of Borel is the San Francisco Bay Area luxury brand fashionistas are going to want to keep an eye on. The haute designer handbag label describes its luxurious arm candy as “distinctive with an old-world charm and an heirloom effect — but when you open it, there’s something bright, different and modern.” The brand, founded by former private equity rep Claire Borel, focuses on unique, high-end pieces, offering wardrobe stylings perfect for jet setters that prefer to travel in style. To shop the lavish, Italian-made offerings that range from $1,500 to $30,000, website visitors must request a “key” to enter the Private Access section, resulting in an air of exclusivity more similar to a boutique than any other e-commerce destination.

With the e-commerce presence officially established by Borel and fellow San Francisco residents Natalie Crane and Charlotte Welch, House of Borel has several exciting new announcements and endeavors occurring in the coming year ranging from new accessories to the opening of a downtown San Francisco showroom. Haute Living spoke with the talented ladies behind House of Borel and got some background on the brand and what handbag enthusiasts can expect from the haute label this year.

HL: What was the most exciting part of debuting at NYFW?
HOB: The most exciting part of NYFW was watching our designs actually walk down the runway. Seeing how fantastic the bags looked paired with Michael’s collection felt exceptional. Being able to create products from the initial idea to the catwalk was a dream for the entire House of Borel team.

HL: What are some major design aesthetics or signatures of House of Borel?
HOB: Classic shapes with modern elements. We love to use traditional fabrics and materials, such as our anaconda and crocodile caiman, mix them with bright pops of interior color and finish them with interesting and beautiful pieces of hardware such as rose gold and palladium. A feature we find special is our use of Borel blue in various pieces throughout the collection. We hope this will become a distinguishing trademark of our brand as we grow.

HL: What made you want to launch in San Francisco?
HOB: We are all from the Bay Area and reside in San Francisco. This city is mesmerizing; we love it and are continually inspired every day. San Francisco is truly an international city with so much to offer as people travel here every day and fall in love. Through our passion for authentic luxury and for this city, we hope to start a fashion movement that brings San Francisco to the forefront.

HL: What made you choose to launch as an e-commerce brand?
HOB: As a company starting in the Silicon Valley we are aware that having an online presence is imperative for the life and growth of a new brand. The trend in retail is all moving toward e-commerce. We wanted to be on the forefront of the luxury online market by launching online to be easily accessible for all customers across the board, wherever they are.

HL: What is your goal when it comes to launching on e-commerce?
HOB: Our goal is to create a global presence that gives our customer internationally easy access to our products. We would like to be on the forefront of the fashion industry by leading this trend while maintaining our roots as a brand from the Bay Area.

HL: Can you tell us about the upcoming fashion line for 2015?
HOB: Our line will be focused around the traveling woman. We will have pieces that can be mixed and matched together with the intent of being able to take them anywhere in the world at any time. We will have a limited collection of accessories that will launch with the clothes as well.

HL: What is the perfect look to pair with a House of Borel handbag?
HOB: We designed the House of Borel bags to go with almost anything, from jeans and a t-shirt to a beautiful wool coat and stilettos.

HL: What are three words you would use to describe what makes House of Borel haute?
HOB: Craftsmanship, authenticity and style.

HL: What can San Franciscans expect to see next from House of Borel?
HOB: On May 21 the House of Borel premiere handbag collection will be featured on the Cannes Fashion Festival runway that happens during the Cannes Film Festival. House of Borel will be launching the first luxury e-commerce showroom in downtown San Francisco for customers to come experience all of our products–handbags, accessories and ready-to-wear. There are a lot of exciting upcoming ways to see and experience House of Borel.