Myriam Schaefer Leads Exclusive Club of Chic, Ponders Current Political Mood

The Switzerland-based designer adds to her classic line of discreet and elegant bags in her newly opened showroom

“I knew this was perfect for my bags,” said handbag designer Myriam Schaefer. She was referring to her Rue Perronet showroom. The space, where Schaefer has shown twice now, is part of a school and cleverly has floor-to-ceiling bookshelves with square cubbies ideal for displaying the leather goods. But facets of the room are evidence of Schaefer’s personality beyond her bags. Everything is charming and antique—needlepoint pillows, an old brass shoe, velvet-covered Louis XIV dining chairs, assorted vintage lamps and paintings, and a papier-mâché bust in her likeness. In the middle of the room are two velvet, quilted settees, just like the one Rosalind Russell’s character in Auntie Mame had on a hydraulic lift. They are a favorite spot for Schaefer’s charming dog, Volpone, who laps up the attention from all the visitors.

Schaefer’s best friend is Dianne Brill (Google if you really must!) and she plays godmother to her kids. The youngest, CeCe, took to calling her “Auntie My-My” or “Me-Me,” depending on the mood. This season, Schaefer named one of her three new styles the My-My, which is a large, A-shape hobo. She also added the SOS, a bucket style that holds all you need to get you through the day. And to the popular Byron series, she added a smart business portfolio style. All three represent a new price strategy for Schaefer, and come in under $4,000.

“I love quality and beautifully made leather goods, so I want to justify the price. Retailers tell me they are an easy sell because they are exclusive,” she said. Schaefer is also responsible for the Balenciaga Motorcycle Bag design. She says women who carry them recognize each other on the street and often become friends, even forming a club, as is the case in Dallas. “The chicest people in the world don’t want to be show-offs. They don’t do labels. They know better.”

After chatting bags, Schaefer offered her Swiss resident take on today’s political climate, saying that most of them are politely wondering what the fuck when it comes to rights and issues currently being challenged around the world, such as abortion and other civil liberties. “Switzerland is a small country where you must speak three languages that sits on mountains. That gives them a global view,” she said. “There is so much respect there.”

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