In recent years, it's fair to say we have all become a bit more crafty. The 2020 pandemic saw a third of the population take up new hobbies, and we all dabbled in arts and crafts made simple by the constant stream of TikToks and Reels we were glued to. I became a dab hand in embroidering my friends’ names into t-shirts (which made personal and convenient postable presents) while others learnt to pot, knit and crochet. The current cost of living crisis has meant our penchant for DIY has stayed and so has our desire for the handcrafted.

London Craft Week returns this week, which sees makers, designers and galleries from around the world head to the capital for a schedule of workshops, exhibitions and tours taking place across the city. Regardless of their medium, designers, makers and creatives alike have always been tasked with communicating an unwavering sentiment through their work, and using traditional techniques and handcrafted methods of production is held in high regard given the rise in collective eco-awareness.

And it's not just indie businesses proving the point, as big brands are also stepping up to the mark, increasingly using historical methods in their designs to enforce the importance of heritage and timelessness. And the (newly launched) Weekend MaxMara Pasticcino makes a fitting example.

MaxMara’s relaxed off-shoot, Weekend MaxMara launched back in 1983, and claims its chic-casual wear perfect for that weekend getaway. And last year saw the launch of the versatile Pasticcino bag, a delicious clutch that’s become a core design for the brand, centred around the idea of celebrating craft from around the world. A global tour to discover the excellence of local craft traditions, Weekend MaxMara launches the bag in the different countries it works with its local artisans, so each year results in a different design detail on the handbag. The grand tour debuted in Venice last year, highlighting Murano glass (a tiny island adjacent to Venice known for its unrivalled glassmaking spanning eight centuries) in the bag’s clutch fastening, and using fine Fortuny fabric manufactured by the renowned Venetian textile factory.

This year's take on the Pasticcino pays homage to Paris, tributing France’s well-established heritage in lace and fine ceramics. Northern France is the world’s leading region for its inimitable savoir-faire lace, with the Nord-Pas-de-Calais region being the first in the world to have a power loom back in 1809, securing itself as the European centre of the finest laces. Weekend MaxMara celebrates this by using refined and feminine lace fabric by the esteemed Master Dentellier Andre Laude, a French company based in the well-regarded Calais region in the know-how since 1850.

The two signature boules that make up the clasps of the bags are produced by Manufacture des Emaux de Longwy, honouring the French fine ceramic style of Faïence. The company was even visited by Napoleon and has since held a powerful influence on the ceramics industry. The boules are handmade in casts exclusive to the Pasticcino and treated with gloss varnishes to achieve a textured effect.

The French rendition of the Pasticcino comes in a series of Frenchified hues from Citron and Rose to Graines de Courge, Cassis Violette and Réglisse.

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By Emily Whitehurst