The time has come to push a 131-year-old German heritage leather brand into the future, and no one is more ready to shake things up at Braun Büffel than Fabio Panzeri, its Creative Director. The Italian designer joined the brand on June 2017, bringing to it 20 years of experience designing leather goods and accessories for brands like Prada, Helmut Lang, Etro, Dolce & Gabbana and Calvin Klein. On paper, his appointment to Braun Büffel was a natural match. But Panzeri had something more visionary planned for Braun Büffel.
Ever since his appointment, Panzeri has been redirecting the codes of the house with his radical vision, turning the Braun Büffel classic DNA into something more bold, retro and futuristic. This was hinted at his first capsule collection for the house he released last April and became clearer with the autumn/winter 2018 collection, where he took inspiration from glamorous 1970s disco charm. All of this eventually brings us to his latest collection, spring/summer 2019, which marks his first complete collection for Braun Büffel, and Prestige was among a group of international media invited to see his vision for the brand come to life.
At its Marina Bay Sands store in Singapore, Braun Büffel invited Seungri from South Korean boy band Big Bang to celebrate Panzeri’s first full collection. His presence was greeted by many screaming fans who had gathered outside the store long before the event started. Of course, the K-pop star was already sporting the new Braun Büffel Bully clutch, which this season featured the house’s iconic Bully dressed in an astronaut outfit, dubbed the Space Bully. Naturally, the space theme trickled to the store that had been decorated with futuristic details, completed with a spaceship background and blue neon lights. Two tote bags, the Doris-C, is also housed within a glass window display that releases smoke.
“This marks a new chapter as we start to write the future legacy of Braun Büffel,” says Panzeri of his first full collection. “Evolution is part of our design language at the house. We strive to always continue innovating.” He was referring to “Retro Future Vision,” the three fundamental words that encapsulates the new turning point of the brand and Braun Büffel’s spring/summer 2019 collection. He explains: “Retro in respect of the previous DNA, such as the craftsmanship and quality, future to make the collection jump into the future and vision, as in my vision to move the brand to a new direction.”
True to his word, the collection breaks away from conventional classics by featuring a line-up of contemporary elegant styles that reflects Fabio’s vision of a metallic and geometric-influenced futuristic utopia. This is translated to the collection with strong pop colours, metallic mash-ups, geometric patterns, exotic prints and maximalist accessories.
Taking centre stage at the women’s collection is the Doris-C, a hand-crafted tote bag that has been constructed with calf leather pieces featuring the entire colour palette of the season. The house’s buffalo logo too has been artistically reinterpreted to an Art Deco style, which is further accentuated by studded hardware and dainty details of hand-tied bows, inspired by the pussy-bow blouses.
In terms of encapsulating the “Retro Future Vision,” nothing competes to the Doris-C. But other lines among the collection has also been graced with Panzeri’s bold and striking touch, whether through colours, details or materials. In Kelis, a top handle bag and clutch has been embellished with studded and futuristic-geometric details. In Dahlia, tote, hobo bags and backpacks featured an exaggerated piping detail and is also available in multiple bold colourway combinations like light blue and yellow. The Ris, a top handle and small shoulder bag, is released in two different versions this season, one in a full metallic printed calf leather inspired by the geometric patterns of a diamond and the other with a metallic-python printed calf leather detail that is very elegant.
Other great callouts also include Candice, a top handle, tote and shoulder bag which handles and strap are interchangeable. And of course, the Space Bully, Braun Büffel’s symbol of sustainability that is made of 100% leather cut-offs of the season, meaning that no leather were left to waste. This season also marks an exciting launch for Space Bully as new shapes are introduced to the range, including Braun Büffel’s very first cap. For the first time, the Bully is also unisex, which is part of Panzeri’s approach to make the collection more genderless.
That said, many of the pieces out of the men’s collection can be easily worn by the ladies as well. This includes its new clutch and tote bag in retroflex fabric, a hi-visibility material that reflects any light shone upon it. Other men’s ranges use materials like neoprene and nylon, marking a significant turning point for the leather goods brand.
“For sure, it’s a big challenge for us to change so fast. But at the same time, I am really confident.” Panzeri closes. “I know I can lose some customers. But I am really sure that I’ll get many more new customers.”
At the end of the day, it’s either go big or go home, and Panzeri definitely leans towards the former.
In Indonesia, Braun Büffel is available at the brand’s boutiques in Plaza Senayan, Pondok Indah Mall 2, Grand Indonesia, Senayan City, Kelapa Gading 3 Mall, Puri Indah Mall, Central Park, Kota Kasablanka, Trans Studio Mall and Paris Van Java in Bandung, Tunjungan Plaza 5 and Ciputra World in Surabaya and Centre Point in Medan.