A small Madrid based firm, La Portegna makes classic, leather and canvas products such as their travel slippers, wallets, bags and cases. They are straightforward, functional designs that will certainly appeal to the frequent travelers among you. Their accessories to hark back to a golden age of travel, with products orientated to make going from one place to another more of an enjoyable, aesthetically pleasing experience – of time well spent on the journey, not just a laboured, unmeditated rush to your destination.
The company was founded by José Urrutia, who inspired by the travels of his grandmother in the thirties and forties, which included trips with little known author; Ernest Hemingway (above). Portegna was the name given to the Europeans that emigrated to South America during the early 20th century. All the products are handmade and traceable to southern Spain.
Last year before setting of the the south of France I got caught up La Portegna’ s idealistic ideas about travel (despite my impending Ryanair flight) and I was inspired to make an order. I brought one of their Bamboo Towels (€55.00) and a personalised ‘Humphery’ cardholder. Upon arrival they were accompanied by a charming handwritten note that wished me well on my travels, the sort of easy to do, but ever so gratefully received customer service that wins someone like me over pretty quickly.
The towel itself was gratifyingly large, well made and nicely designed. It’s real value comes when used regularly on the beach/round the pool. The bamboo cotton allows it to absorb heat and dry exceptionally quickly, a feature which is great when fooling around in and out of the pool over a long summers afternoon.
I opted for a cardholder (€35.00) as I wanted something that wouldn’t stick out of my pockets so much as the bulky, change-laden wallet I carried before. I also rather fancied having my first, albeit modest monographed leather piece. Following a courtesy email from Leticia at La Portenga confirming about colour and my initial preferences (I took her advice and opted for silver lettering) the holder turned out very well indeed. For the price (roughly £28) I was surprised at the quality of the leather used, which was remarkably soft and has over time proved to be nice and durable, the colour too (I went for the dark navy) hasn’t rubbed away or run, a testament to La Portegna’s handmade credentials and ecologically sound vegetable tanning process. Below is the finished product, sitting nicely next to a pair of Hentsch Man Otto Sunglasses on a slightly less than glamourous train journey down to Dorset.
Having been happy with my purchases over the space of a year (and after receiving an email informing me of La Portegna’s current sale..) I have been deliberating what I might invest in next? There are some great looking leather bound books and envelopes, but for me it is the simply designed, classic looking holdalls and laptop cases in both canvas and leather options which are the strongest products in the range (all are available with monograming) :
Or perhaps their increasingly popular and brilliantly Mediterranean travel Mocs (€95) :