Calling all Rimowa aficionados, you’ll be pleased to know that the brand has newly launched a premium suitcase line in leather, adding to their famous aluminum and polycarbonate cases. Luxurious and slick, as you’d expect from this leading luggage brand—after all, it has been innovating since 1898—meet the new Distinct line.
Crafted in leather, the brand first used this material in its early stages; Rimowa then introduced aviation-inspired aluminum cases in 1937, a move that revolutionized the industry and resulted in their iconic grooved aluminum design that we all know and love today. The rest was history until this month. Hugues Bonnet-Masimbert, CEO of Rimowa, says, “It took some time and valuable expertise to bring the Distinct range to life, and we’re proud of our commitment to make it happen. Integrating leather, a material that dates back to the brand’s origins required developing an entirely new manufacturing process, which took three years to build.
Hugues continues, “We wanted to ensure that the leather was durable and would withstand the rigors of travel, so part of the research led us to other industries, including the world of automotive and aeronautics. Then came the development of a precise leather-wrapping technique onto a solid structure, ensuring that the suitcase holds its shape and, of course, integrating our signature grooves. This comprehensive research and innovation was crucial to offering a lifetime guarantee on a leather suitcase and a tremendous challenge for our development teams overall. The result is a beautiful case encapsulating our most important values: craftsmanship, heritage, and innovation.”
To mark the launch of the new line, Rimowa shot the collection at the Musée Soulages in Rodez, France, set amongst the famed works of Pierre Soulages—and the first brand to do so. Making a connection through craftsmanship, the campaign plays to the dexterity of the Germain Maison and the artist, drawing commonalities of time-honored skill.
The brand may have been inspired by the leather of its early days, but in the spirit of innovation, a key pillar of the Maison, the Distinct luggage line has incorporated a new production process, which sees an ultra-precise leather wrapping technique onto a solid structure. The result? An elegant suitcase that holds its shape, featuring Rimowa’s infamous grooves, available in the two classic and unisex colorways of back and navy. New details come in the form of corners, a logo badge made of aluminum, and protective bumpers on its rear shell. The leather and aluminum are set against silver rivets and a metallic zipper for a shine-matte combination that nods to the industrial aesthetic. Then, there’s the color-matched leather luggage tag that can be personalized.
On expanding this leather line, Huges said, “Growing Distinct is, of course, in the realm of possibility so long as it fits the needs of today’s travelers. We created the range for those who value craftsmanship and the use of premium materials, offering them an elegant and highly functional travel companion. Right now, it comes in a sleek black and navy shade; the next step could be introducing a new color.”
Where form meets function, it’s not just about the exterior; inside, expect a black lining with monogramming in jacquard. There’s the flex divider to compress on one side, while the other features a zipped compartment and a flap pocket. Engineered to meet these needs of the discerning traveler, there are considered functionalities, including its stage-free telescopic handle, leather grabbing handles, and its Multiwheel® System for effortless steering when you’re on the move.
At the heart of the Maison is the legacy of craftsmanship, and merging this with modern technology to ensure it remains innovative (it’s also worth noting Rimowa produced the world’s first polycarbonate suitcase, too, in 2000), it comes to no surprise then, that on looking to the future Hughes says, “Innovation is always a prime focus for us. We’re working towards launching our Innovation Lab, which we anticipate to take things to new heights. The Rimowa Design Prize is another important initiative we introduced last year to champion German design and nurture young talents through a mentorship program with industry experts. We’re gearing up to launch the second edition and looking forward to it.”
The Rimowa Distinct Cabin is now available in-store and online at rimowa.com.