I was invited to the exclusive Bentley Handbag and Accessory launch in Abu Dhabi on November 12, 2013. The event took place at Scott’s restaurant in Etihad Towers. It marks the first time that the handbags would be unveiled in the Middle East in a stand with trade show booth design.
Dr. Ariane Reinhart, a member of the Bentley board and the force behind the auto maker’s foray into women’s accessories, started the evening by giving us background on the collection. She noted the large disparity between the number of female and male Bentley owners. Dr. Reinhart said, “this made me think maybe we have to attract and address women differently”. She explained, “men are more interested in horsepower…after your husband and family, what is the second most important thing of a woman…the handbag”. The audience agreed with laughter.
Dr. Reinhart set out on a quest to, “design a handbag that would really carry the Bentley DNA”, and that she did. Bentley now offers ladies the Continental ($5,500 USD/20,240 AED) and Barnato ($7,000 USD/25,760 AED) handbags. Both are exquisitely crafted with the same care as the interior of a Continental or Mulsanne, respectively. The bags are practical and elegant and clearly an extension of Bentley right down to the cross stitching. The crisscrossing threads that seams the inside of the handle, mimics Bentley’s distinctive steering wheel stitch. The handbags proudly, but discreetly feature the famous winged “B” marque badge.
“Attention to detail is something that makes a Bentley a Bentley”, according to Dr. Reinhart, and that attention extends to the handbags. Each bag will have a plaque giving details of the bag and its limited edition number. Owners also have the option to personalize the plaque with their personal details. In the first year of production, only 80 of each style will be made. That 160 is further divided into 8 different colors across several countries. With those odds, the probability of bumping into another lady carrying an identical handbag is minimal. As with all the quality items produced by Bentley, these handbags command quite a financial investment. Keeping in line with Bentley’s return on that investment, you can own a limited edition handbag made of the highest quality that carries the distinction of a prestigious brand.
The handbags were revealed during a 10 minute fashion show. The models, all adorned in Arabian style fashions really brought the bags to life. My favorite is the Continental in Neptune Blue. Seeing it, carried by a model adorned in a flowing, bright red dress made me want to take it home. To learn more about both styles and color variations, visit the Bentley Handbags website.