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Basil Racuk: Emeryville's Solution To The Man Purse

At a time when over-the-top fashion seems silly, and luxury feels so right, investment pieces are the way to go. And while the new Target in Emeryville will soon be housing luxury-meets-mainstream Missoni for Target, in the same neighborhood a true luxury brand is in the making: Basil Racuk.

Inspired by California, these handcrafted leather accessories embody modern simplicity. Crafted from fine skins and vintage linings, each piece is a one-of-a-kind and takes about four to eight weeks to produce. Built in the designer's Emeryville studio, Bay Area-raised Racuk works with each customer, enhancing the luxury experience. "Luxury is about time. I make each piece slowly and to last. Meticulousness requires time, an investment; and time is increasingly rare, it is special. I'm also interested in the histories and techniques of craftspeople and artisans, and I use both artisan tools and techniques to create true heirloom leather pieces."

Women's and men's leather goods — handbags, wallets, belts, iPad cases, travel bags — have an amaranthine allure. And a couple high-end New York retailers recognize this; Basil Racuk can currently be found at Bergdorf Goodman and Leffot.

A testament to the designer's adoration of California, the 2011 collection was photographed at the soulful surf town of Bolinas. Polish meets peace in a misty world surrounded by lush greens and laid back dwellings. According to Racuk, "This collection was inspired by travel. Travel is glamorous, expansive. It shapes us. I'm introducing a new item now: A dopp kit produced in buffalo. The piece is inspired by the spirit of the West. I want all the pieces to come to clients with narratives; then, I want them to add on their own stories and make the accessories absolutely their own."

Images courtesy of Kelsey Winterkorn.  

Basil Racuk, available at Bergdorf Goodman and Leffot in New York and online at basilracuk.com

Samantha Durbin (sami.7x7@gmail.com) is a lifestyle writer who honed her blogging skills as Editor of FabSugar.com. Samantha graduated from The Fashion Institute of Technology, and also writes for San Francisco magazine and Gilt City.