The story begins during the Great Russian Revolution of 1917.
A young Russian boy lands in the United States of America as a refugee, fleeing his motherland victim of atrocities and wars.
It is 1929 when Richard Koret founds his own handbag manufacturing company in New York.
Koret immediately became a pioneering company and a leader in the industry by producing in his small company on 33 East 33rd Street bags of high quality craftsmanship with a meticulous and innovative design.
He had an immediate success, his creations conquered Hollywood stars already in the 30s.
He was very selective in choosing his clients… only the most prestigious ones! To give an example: Saks Fifth Avenue, Bonwit Teller, Bergorf Goodman in New York, Neiman Marcus in Dallas, I. Magnin & Co. in San Francisco. In Europe, only Fortnum & Mason, official supplier to the royal family, had the privilege of being Koret’s client.
In 1958, Richard Koret met Romualdo Dori, a young Florentine creator and manufacturer of straw bags under the “Rodo” brand name, and immediately understood his potential, later asking him to produce exclusively for him. This will be a great advantage for both of them; for Rodo a great school and development of his company, for Koret a creative supplier ready to realize every new idea.
In the same period, two product genres were born that would make history: bags and suitcases in “carpet” and wicker.
The first kind was born from the inspiration Koret had during a visit to the church of San Marco in Venice. At the foot of the altar he sees a beautiful floral rug.
The manufacturer was a historic weaving mill in Cantù that had ceased production but still possessed the eighteenth-century looms used for the production of that carpet.
The carpet was made with a suit base on which a wool yarn was woven creating a carpet but not cut. The main feature was that the wool yarn was dyed and during weaving each color had its own precise place thus forming the floral pattern.
Koret convinced Vergani, owner of the weaving mill, to resume production by committing himself to buy all the material made.
With this new material he realized a series of refined bags and suitcases, with calfskin finishing and synthetic lining, a novelty for those times.
The success of this line was enormous, so much so that for years Saks Fifth Avenue dedicated three permanent showcases to bags in “carpet”.
After a few years and with about 20,000 meters of fabric in stock, Koret asked Vergani to suspend production.
The fine production of carpet bags ended when the huge stock was exhausted.
It was such a sumptuous and admirable collection that she ended up being a supporting actress in the film “Amanti” starring Marcello Mastroianni and Faye Dunaway, while influential people such as actress Elizabeth Taylor and Princess Margaret of England owned more than one.
This collection of “carpet bags” is a pearl that makes up the history of the great fashion houses of the past that should never be forgotten.
The person who told us this story is Franco Bellini.
Franco started working for Rodo at the age of 16, from 1960 to 1982.
At Rodo he worked for the sales department, dealing with representatives, but had a fundamental voice in the drafting of the sample book in the choice of raw materials.
He later founded his own brand called “Franco Bellini”.
He is the largest and most exclusive collector of Rodo and Koret bags.
Thank you Franco.