Just when I was searching for something new upon my arrival to Tel Aviv, Colle'cte designer and co-founder, Tal Drori, reached out to me with mind-blowing photos of their brand.
I immediately remembered that I had seen their unique bags on the runway of Moscow fashion week; I was very intrigued. Despite the short notice, I was able to get an appointment. I was so fascinated by all that this married couple created and managed right out of their Tel Aviv home, which also served as their studio.
The House of Colle’cte is a combination of two words in French: colle, which is glue and collecte, which is collection. What started as a catchy business name for partners, Tal Drori and Assaf Shem-Tov, actually seems to fit as a perfect metaphor for not only their business, but also their married life. “We glued together two minds, two different worlds into one,” This dynamic duo is taking Israel, and the world, by storm, one bag at a time. Without further ado, I am excited to bring to you an interview which delves into the mind of the Colle'cte brand.
How was the business idea born?
It all started during my final project at Shenkar College of Engineering and Design. My professor recommended that I get some professional help to complete my clothing collection. He gave me Assaf's number who, at the time, was head designer for Daniella Lehavi, a shoe and bag brand. Working together, we created a small collection of bags. At the time, he refused any payment from me for his services. A few years later, we were working as employees in fashion houses in Tel-Aviv. We decided to continue what we started years ago back in 2009, which was to create art together.
The style of your bags is very unique, what's your inspiration?
Our inspirations are very wide and vary from shapes in nature to the history of fashion. Our strongest inspirations are armor, weapons and warrior woman from the 19th century in Europe, like Jeanne d’Arc, Urracá, Marie-Angélique-Joséphine Duchemin and widowed Brûlon. Assaf takes on the look of the bag and its construction and I handle the vibe, texture and female perspective. Together, we combine our aesthetic and talents into one collection. We've also had collections inspired by female rock stars and Dandy men (also known as beaus or gallants). Our latest collection is inspired by sports.
Tell us about your most exciting collaborations
We've done a lot of collaborations with many Israeli designers. Every year, we try to do something new--something for our soul. Collaborating with other designers takes us to new and unexpected paths and also allows us to travel, which we love. For TLV fashion week, we collaborated with a local bridal and evening gown designer to create a collection of evening handbags and clutches which was sponsored by Swarovski. We also recently did a collaboration with fashion designer Yosef, which included a 20 piece clothing collection, 3 jewelry pieces utilizing silver and leather and 6 handbags which were inspired by The Alchemist. We sold them in boutiques here in Israel, and were even invited to present them at Mercedes Benz FashionWeek in Moscow.
Can you share with us some details about Moscow Fashion Week?
It was an amazing experience for us to take part in this big, elegant event. Witnessing all the behind-the-scenes elements of this event was amazing because we are considered an accessory brand and don't usually get to feature in fashion shows. It was certainly a memorable week in Moscow.
You participated in a shoe exhibition called Cinderella Syndrome, currently running in Tel Aviv, where you designed a bag in the form of shoe?!
Yes, the bag is our personal interpretation of a stiletto shoe. We call it New Balance; the space between elegance and pain. As we know, fashion dictated that women were subject to pain throughout history. This is true, even with stilettos, due to the relationship of human anatomy and the foot. It highlights both human balance and weight on high heels. We wanted to create a bag that challenges gravity; one that highlights the juxtaposition of balance vs. imbalance.
What's your most popular bag?
We have several best sellers, but our most popular bag is our ball bag. I know this very well because we produce it in our studio by hand, every single one of them. To date, we cannot find a factory that makes them as perfectly as we do in our studio. We produce the bag in many colors and also offer variations, such as the choice of 1 to 6 tassels. We created the ball bag back in 2012, but decided to adjust its diameter when the iPhone 6 was unveiled in 2015 due to its worldwide popularity.
When you design your bags, what kind of customer you have in mind?
Actually, our customers inspire us. We design for the state of mind of a cool, vibrant, urban woman. Sometimes very classy and other times avant-garde, we want our bags to be comfortable and user-friendly, and yet still have a different look and vibe. We strive to give the handbag world a different look altogether.
Your husband is your business partner, can you tell us how is this working for you?
Its very natural and normal for us; we like it. We both have our parts and we truly complete each other. Many people ask me about this and I always say, "Yes, it takes a very specific character to do it, and for most couples, I know it's not recommended." We worked together before we were a couple, and we like to be together at work and at home.
After seeing this brand in person and witnessing the impeccable craftsmanship, leather quality, hardware and interior of each bag, I decided to add Colle'cte to my personal bag collection. A Colle'cte bag is more than worth its investment; its a great value for the price and a piece of art all on its own. For me, the Small Uracca and Large Uracca bag below are both unique and practical at the same time. Since it be customized, I am ordering mine in white leather. I am sure once it arrives, you will see lots of it on my Instagram and also here on Tel Aviv Couture.