BILL AMBERG SATCHEL (1992)

What kind of bag should a woman carry to work? Something stylish and graceful? The danger that there is that it may send out the wrong kind of signal – too frivolous, too unprofessional. Something huge and practical, then? Practical is good, but no one wants to be seen lugging about some bulging monstrosity.

Back in the 1980s, American designer Donna Karan came up with one influential solution – the satellite bag tucked away inside a briefcase – but that, in reality, is no solution at all. Why, after all, make life so much complicated? And in any case, surely a work bag can be both stylish and practical?

One of the UK’s foremost leather designers, Bill Amberg (1961–) always aims straight down the middle, seeking out the common ground between function and fashion. Indeed, for him there is no real contradiction between these two aspects.

‘My personal preference has always been for the function-meets-beauty side of things,’ he states. This beautiful red satchel nicely illustrates his point. Nothing could be more practical or simple than the traditional school satchel. But what transforms this bag from dull everday staple to luxurious necessity is the creamy softness of the leather, the refinement in the detail and the gorgeous color.

Amberg’s manta, ‘Bags that you can wear – not a bag that wears you’, is not just sound advice when choosing a work bag; it is sound advice for any bag.