Superfluous doesn’t make sense for Melissa Morris. The Philadelphia-born, London-based designer who studied sculpture before cutting her teeth in the ateliers of Armani and Helmut Lang, launched Métier in 2017 based on her idea of luxury as an exquisite kind of utility. Her handcrafted bags are not accessories, they are functional, seamless, practical products created with a deep understanding of the way we live. The Duchess of Cambridge, a woman with a busier social diary than most and a prerequisite that she must always look immaculate, is a fan. Nicole Kidman, meanwhile, is such an avid supporter of Morris that she carries Métier bags both on and off screen. (Her Sergeant holdall was the highlight of the wardrobe department in The Undoing). The reason why you might not have heard of the brand is simple: Morris is on a stealth fashion mission.
“Métier is designed for people who have plenty to say and nothing to prove,” she tells British Vogue. “They value the highest quality craftsmanship and timeless design, rather than large logos or seasonal trends… and they are busy.” The latter is key to Métier’s rising success story. From the hidden pockets within the Duchess’s favourite Roma bag, which is inspired by La Dolce Vita, to Nicole Kidman’s Perriand Mini, a collapsible featherweight cabas style with detachable straps, Morris has thought of every detail possible to make her bags useful, without looking nerdy.
“A bag should be hard-working, not hard work!” she asserts. “It should both ease and enhance your life, like a safe port in the storm that keeps you together no matter what the day throws at you.” The more Morris talks, the more she sounds like some sort of handbag guru—one who has been waiting in the wings for her moment to shine.
While Kate and Nicole have certainly helped put Métier on the map, Morris is not short of clients frequenting her Mayfair boutique to buy her line of made-in-Italy pieces, which also includes unisex holdalls and a smorgasbord of homeware items. (Wine holder? Morris has got you covered.) CEOs, architects, lawyers and actors, alike, consider Métier bags an investment that will last a lifetime. To ensure her work cuts the mustard, Morris tests each bag in a facility that simulates 20 years of use. Its foil logo is sourced from the suppliers who restore Italy’s cathedrals.
Métier’s discreet logo is, in fact, where the brand story started. “I saw the shift towards large logos, which often traded true quality for branding—something that didn’t resonate with me, nor did I think it something the consumer should have to compromise on,” shares Morris. “Not only were logos becoming bigger and quality compromised for seasonal trends, there was very little consideration for the woman who was carrying the bag. As technology has revolutionised our lives, modularity and organisation are more and more important. A bag should be virtually weightless when empty, so when you arm it for your day, you can carry it with ease.”
Morris’s dream clients are George and Amal Clooney (“the embodiment of timeless elegance”), Joan Didion (“my forever style icon”), Ash Ranpura (“an incredible neuroscientist, a field very close to my heart”) and Marcus Rashford (“I am so inspired by the charitable work he has spearheaded”). But you’ll have to crane your neck closely to see whether Morris’s icons ever carry Métier, because true connoisseurs of luxury don’t shout about their handbags.
This article was originally published on British Vogue.