Etienne Aigner Factory Direct Store
Our beloved founder and forever inspiration, Etienne Aigner, was born in Hungary to a close-knit Jewish family who taught him the value of education and hard work. As a young man he would make his living as a carpet merchant, a window dresser, and a light bulb salesman. While apprenticing under a well known bookbinder in Paris, Mr. Aigner also learned to make handbags from a colleague in what he described as a “fortuitous accident.”
Luck would always play a role in Mr. Aigner’s life; it’s no coincidence that his iconic logo was styled to resemble a horseshoe, a universal symbol for good luck. Living in German-occupied Paris, he was forced to flee to the countryside where he became a member of the French Resistance. He and his Parisian-born wife Suzanne supported their family by hand-stitching leather goods. When it was safe to return, he had the good fortune of working in the ateliers of famed couturiers Christian Dior and Jacques Fath. The latter would help guide Mr. Aigner’s approach to handbag design, telling him that “a bag had to be constructed intelligently; being unique was not enough.”
“Fath declared that if I worked according to this principle, this would not only result in the bag’s selling, it would also result in that type of bag being kept and sold long-term in the stores,” he wrote. Eventually, producing critically praised, best-selling handbags featuring other designers’ names and logos on them began to wear thin, and the former bookbinder began to look toward his next chapter.