Amanda Briskin-Rettig is perhaps Australia’s most successful accessories designer. She enjoyed enormous success with her first label, Mimco (since sold), and is now focusing her attention on her luxury leather goods brand, A-Esque, which launched in 2012 with women’s accessories. With nearly two decades of experience, it’s surprising Briskin-Rettig is only now making the foray into men’s design. But here it is.
“I think men are very discerning when it comes to fashion,” Briskin-Rettig says. “I wanted to do men’s from the outset of A-Esque, but the positive response from men inspired me to do it more quickly."
Her first collection is a curated offering with rich Italian leather and silver metal hardware featuring throughout. As with the women's range, construction takes place in Richmond, where the brand’s atelier team makes each piece using traditional machines and techniques. Clean silhouettes are softened by raw edges and thoughtful textural details – such as perforation and mixed leather grains.
The collection is housed at A-Esque's newly opened Chapel Street concept store, which has replaced the original that was next door. Briskin-Rettig designed the space herself in order to showcase both collections harmoniously. A muted colour palette is offset by a colourful installation by Melbourne artist John Nicholson and quirky touches, including display racks fashioned from repurposed ballet bars.
Most pieces are transitional and can be carried from work, to the gym and onto drinks. The Backpack One, with its refined take on adjustable straps, is a standout. The pack does double duty too, transforming into a carry bag. For those looking for something a little more professional there’s a sleek folio in rich nappa leather. Small bags start from $200 with larger pieces, including weekend bags and carryalls, running between $500 and $1000. Fans of A-Esque will appreciate the pieces’ resonance with the women’s range, a result of Breskin-Rettig's conscious decision build on its androgynous aesthetic.
“I see this as an evolution of A-Esque,” she explains. “As a brand you develop a certain language, in everything from your straps to your method of stitching, and you can see flowing through both collections.”