Friday, March 19, 2010




Words/Images Judith Ecochard/

Mia Small Messenger

Brooke Bowler---also in Black

We’ve been to the OR tradeshow a bunch of times …and  ELLINGTON HANDBAGS always has a sizeable booth smack dab on the major aisle that runs the entire length of the Salt Palace Convention Center.

A quick glance, every time we passed by (a few gazillion times over the course of three days)… registered---  yes, this is a practical brand. The handbags all came in practical neutrals, the shapes and sizes are practical--- for haulers like us.

But nothing POPPED…till this season’s collection. And now we say WOW, nice.

Ellington is based out of Portland, Oregon and has a mission statement --- creating  “forever bags.”

Timeless classics are the MO of many, many footwear, accessories, and apparel labels.

Happily,  Ellington proves that this can mean stylish styles that endure…not too blingy or overloaded with details that easily date.

PLUS:  The “givens” of modern lifestyle accommodations…

...that in handbag terms translates into inner pockets for electronic gizmos, outer zipped pockets for personal stash, key fobs and most important of all…durability…in quality fabrics and zippers.

AND, details like contrast stitches, snazzy logo,

--- visible hardware rings and buckles in places with functional pizzazz.

BELLA HOBO in Paprika  (Also comes in Black, Gray, Green Yellow)

Signature materials of Ellington handbags are:

-Matte and glossy Italian Leather (the former from a small family tannery in Vincenza, Italy),
Pebbled Eco Leather (made from an“…environmentally responsible tannery that uses efficient processes to reduce water consumption, energy use and CO2 emissions”),

100% vegetable dyed glazed Italian lamb leather (for richness and buttery texture pictured above in the EVA TOTE),

...and washed nylon twill that’s durable (without feeling like hardened cardboard).

First up --- a pair of hobo classics: the Nicole ---plush leather with a feminine silhouette… 

...and the unstructured, single thick leather strapped Sadie. Both have, special hardware anchor rings that freshen up the look---plus are lined with easy to clean nylon. (Smart).

A retailer favorite is the Hannah Tote ($199) or smaller crossbody…that both have intricate ruching/waffled surface texture, amazingly hand-stitched. We liked how we could stuff our laptops into the former and the easily adjustable straps and rich patina on both...traits usually found on only pricier carry-alls.

Our personal favorite, one that is now the go to sporty, fashionable carryall for all our gym gear…are the Lindsay Duffle ($109 in a bold Red or Black)…and the Lindsay Tote ($99).

We actually hauled around the 'stuffed to the gills' duffle during New York Fashion Week and got a lot of admiring glances…and then double takes when people found out how much it costs.

The shiny nylon material, different sized outer pockets …with striking thick silver zippers, and shoulder and hand straps…gives this heavy weight hauler a chi-chi Prada-esque vibe at a fraction of the price. 

The tote even has a functional stow away pocket on the bottom for sneakers.


Handy too are the Amelia Airport Express ($39) for gals on the go. Yes, there are a lot of brands with zipped organizers full of slots for credit cards, tickets, boarding passes etc. What we thought special…the colorful nylon shades  and a detachable strap that converts this oversized wallet into a belt friendly bag to carry vertically or horizontally.


The black, leather trimmed Mia collection, with trendy gold hardware …that’s urban sleek as well as functional. 

The Sophia, a silky crushed nylon hobo that fits perfectly on the shoulder…with a striking diagonal zip and loose pleating.

The Roxanne…a WELCOME style departure…. BUCKLES galore.           


Given the price points for the quality of materials and construction…and the bump up in style, we would not be surprised to see Ellington start making appearances on female shoulders from coast to coast. As they say in sports, a real”game changer” of a collection.

APPROPRIATE: The handbags all have female names.

The Joni Tote homage to singer/songwriter of Joni Mitchell