A passion for topnotch quality drew two kindred bag-loving souls to establish their own minaudière line. Celine Gabriel-Lim and Andrea Martel teamed up to create Gabriel * Martel, a luxe label of impeccably crafted bags that embody the two ladies' classic take on fashion.
"Gabriel * Martel is something that Celine has been thinking about for years," Andrea recounts. "During her time off, she would conceptualize the brand, research, and meet with manufacturers. Then one day we were out together and my pretty wooden bag broke because of shoddy craftsmanship. It was a lightbulb moment."
Celine then called Andrea the following day to propose that they establish Gabriel * Martel to create "beautiful bags of excellent global quality." "According to Celine, she thought of me because I am very passionate about fashion, travel and the arts," says Andrea, "plus I am very finicky about quality. Luckily for both of us, we loved the idea, and thus Gabriel * Martel was born."
"We wanted to make unique pieces that can stand as works of art," says both Celine and Andrea. "We wanted to make clutches for women who are not afraid to experiment and be different."
Read on to find out more about Gabriel * Martel and their second collection, Tocca di Lusso, and don't forget to click on the photo gallery to view the bags from the collection!
How does Gabriel * Martel differentiate itself from other minaudière lines out there?
C&A: Gabriel * Martel is different because we choose not to follow trends. Each design we create has its own inspiration. They are all individual, special works of art.
How would you define the Gabriel * Martel aesthetic and design philosophy?
C&A: We are all about high quality and unique designs that we gather from our everyday experiences. We don't follow trends or seasons. We design and create based on our whims.
Where do you source your materials?
C&A: We make sure we always use the best materials for our bags. Our inner lining, for example, is sourced from Germany; our hardware is from HK; and some of our stones are sourced from Myanmar or India. As much as we would like to source everything locally, the truth is, sometimes "the best" is not necessarily available here all the time and we can't compromise our designs, so if that means having to source our materials abroad, then we do it.
Are the bags Filipino-made?
C&A: All the components are put together by hand by our very talented local artisans. Even down to the details of what you actually don't see, we make sure we use only top quality. One can take apart our bag and we won't be embarrassed by what will be found in the shell.
What is the concept behind your second collection, Tocca di Lusso?
C&A: Tocca di Lusso was inspired by our recent trips to Morocco and England. We created pieces that reminded us things we saw—a window, a piece of rock, even a place mat. Everyday things that some people don't notice or pay attention to.
What are its similarities and differences from your first collection?
C&A: We were braver, less shy with our designs. We didn't want to make [bags] for all [kinds of] women, we wanted our clutches to make an impact on different kinds of women.
Is a third collection in the works? What can we look forward to?
C&A: We definitely have new pieces coming up and it's very exciting because we're now experimenting with beautiful and luxurious exotic skins.
What's in store for Gabriel * Martel?
C&A: Gabriel * Martel has made its debut in Europe via Spain where we are sold in Madrid, something we're extremely proud of. The bags are selling well there, and so we hope to expand to other countries as well—France, England, and Asia are on our radar. We've had inquiries from HK and Singapore. Hopefully we'll be available in these countries very soon.
Click on the photo gallery to view Gabriel * Martel's Tocca di Lusso collection.