Bill Amberg's Leica Collaboration

Bill Amber Studios, The Camera Bag, Leica

Likers and followers of our Facebook page have heard us mention this sweet new bag a while back already. But here's an article over on The Telegraph in the U.K. about it, called "Picture perfect: Bill Amberg's Leica collaboration". See, Bill Amberg (Studio) is a leather goods extraordinaire - and this time, he's turned his attention to wrapping our Leica goods in a seriously plush bag. Warning - its price tag is not for the faint of heart... The Camera Bag, Bill Amberg Studio for Leica is available in the UK (e.g. Leica Store U.K./Mayfair) and costs £550 ($880 USD).

If you want to know what the leather-goods guru Bill Amberg is thinking, it’s best to look at his products. The first hero piece he produced was a lambswool papoose he designed to carry his own first-born, and for which a standing army of eager young early-adopters readily assembled even as the term “metrosexual” was being welded together.

Since then, he’s surmised that the “post-square” city sort requires simple yet elegant briefcases and has realigned the suburbanite’s satchel for a generation previously unlikely to carry such a thing; he’s endorsed the craze for fashion-forward fitness with an innovative gym bag complete with “self-wicking” lining (in collaboration with A-list Knightsbridge work-out refuge Kx); and, perhaps a little closer to his outdoorsy heart, reimagined the Edwardian-era equipment required to pursue his own private passion – shooting – with a range of sturdy, unshouty hunting accessories. Knoweth the bag, knoweth the man.

Which is why I wasn’t altogether surprised to find myself in Leica’s Mayfair photographic studio last week as the designer took me through the various styling cues and premiumising ideas he’d brought to a new camera bag. Amberg has owned an “old Leica” for years, but the invitation to design a new ever-ready case for the renascent brand came with a slight problem: no one he contacted on its owner forums wanted one. What these most redoubtable of reportage snappers really required, it turned out, was a small, ever-ready camera bag that could hold a body with lens, a spare optic and the numerous leads and chargers required to keep the company’s current generation of digital M cameras alive and alert.

So – given there’s rarely a commission or a creative impetus that can’t be kick-started by looking at historical precedent (served in Amberg’s case by a vast library of historical hold-alls) – the new Bill Amberg Studio for Leica bag is redolent of, perhaps, a French railway worker’s tool bag from the Twenties (although I might be making this up), taken down to more portable dimensions, smartly dressed in black bridle leather and lined with shock-supressing acrylic felt.

Thankfully, it doesn’t look anything like a camera bag – which is a good thing when you’re lugging around a Leica – but it does speak of Amberg’s long-held position as the king of cases: at least those that appeal to the urban adventurer, or the adventurous urbanite – or, indeed, his latest iteration, the Hipster. For, heaven knows, if anyone can claim to have furnished successive generations of switched-on, trend-focused fellow travellers with dressed-down premium hand-luggage, it’s Bill Amberg.

The Camera Bag, Bill Amberg Studio for Leica is available in the UK and costs £550.