How Rimowa transformed the suitcase into a luxury accessory


Since 1898, Rimowa has known that before any aesthetic consideration, a suitcase must be a utilitarian object. In this German engineering house, it is only after years of research and development that innovations emerge. The models, manufactured in the Cologne factory, respond to a know-how that is as precise as it is well kept, which is nestled in the patented Multiwheel caster system, in the maneuverability of the telescopic handle or even in the TSA locks that allow airport security services. to open the suitcase without damaging it. After aluminum and polycarbonate, Rimowa has just launched a new material that took three years to develop. “It was a challenge because we didn’t have the know-how around leather and this type of stitching, so we had to think about how to package our polycarbonate structure, maintain an efficient weight, and be able to provide our delivery service. , explains CEO, Hugues Bonnet-Masimbert. This Distinct collection marks a new strategic step because it expands our range of possibilities. » And to mention this new 3,000 square meter “laboratory” in Cologne, whose team of engineers is dedicated to studying the future of travel and mobility.


Rimowa has long been known for avant-garde creatives who like to purchase their bag like their ballpoint pen, finding the best objects with a design that is as impeccable as it is functional. And to move on to the fashion accessory phase, the association with carefully chosen creators proves to be one of the best resources. If some collaborations had already seen the light of day, they accelerated with the acquisition of Rimowa by LVMH in 2016. The transparent Off-White model (2018) appeared, the red one with the Supreme logo (2018) but above all the use of the monogram Dior Oblique elegantly clad in aluminum (2019). Lately, Rimowa has also partnered with Tiffany. “We spent months brushing the aluminum of the suitcase to recreate the diamond effect. We don’t want the brand to simply put its name on our models, but for there to be a true creative exchange that also challenges our teams, continues the CEO. These collaborations continue to be an artistic exercise that only results in very limited quantities that usually sell out within minutes. » And to add another fashion string to its bow, the German house launched its Design Award in 2022 with German design universities.

Affirm your heritage

After Tokyo and New York, Shanghai hosts “Seit 1898” (date of creation of Rimowa) in December. The scenography of this exhibition combines history, with the first aluminum models dating back to the 1930s, and a contemporary dimension (collaborations with fashion and pieces imagined by artists such as Daniel Arsham and Olafur Eliasson), all seasoned with notes of intimacy with loan from the luggage of singer Patti Smith or tennis player Roger Federer. Because if, in the brand’s 127 boutiques, salespeople present the models with gloved hands, as in a jewelry store, the Rimowa bag is never as beautiful as it is patinated by time. As evidenced by its latest campaign “A lifetime of memories” which considers every scratch, every shock, every sticker pasted as so many travel memories. Installing your product at the crossroads between work of art and technical skill, between diary and fashion accessory, is what we call having the codes §

Distinct Collection, €2,750 for the Cabin model. rimowa. with

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