april in paris
Beatrice, owner of April in Paris

There is something about Paris that changes people. If you have been, you will know what I mean. If you have not, you must go. Beatrice Amblard, the designer behind April in Paris, was only 16 when she visited Paris for the first time, but it was love at first sight. “The smell of the leather, the glue and the wax went right to my nose. I decided right there on the spot that I would become a master artisan in leather.”

And what better place to work with leathers than Hermes in Paris? Beatrice was hired as an apprentice where she learned the art of creating handbags. At Hermes, she worked on the famous Hermes Kelly for 14 years. The craftsmen and women of Hermes are famous in their own right; as they are able to perfect the double stitch and meticulously create leather masterpieces.

Beatrice took all that she learned and opened her own boutique, April in Paris in the San Francisco in 2000. She focuses on classic and contemporary pieces. Being the only Hermes leather artisan to open a store in the US, Beatrice is able to bring something to the table that is lacking in this “it bag of the season” market, timeless elegance. She spends 60 hours a week using centuries-old tools to make wallets, belts, briefcases, and handbags. While her products are not ‘cheap’, they are a fabulous option to Hermes, the brand that is hard to come by and whose prices are going through the roof. It is very evident that Bea has a Hermes background, as her craftsmanship is divine and some of her bags have a feeling of Hermes.

Every piece is made-to-order, so there is a waiting period of 4-6 weeks. Yet this insures that you can choose a design, color, and material, to make a tailored finished product to your liking. Currently, all handbag orders can be placed via phone, 415.750.9910, or you can Beatrice directly at bea@aprilinparis.us . Right now, there is a shopping option for small leather accessories and belts (all to die for also!)

With every big fashion house pushing out trendy bag after trendy bag, we sometimes forget about the delights of smelling the beautiful leather of a new bag and inspecting every fine detail of a well-made bag. Because of this, I find April in Paris to be a refreshing and delightful line, brought to us by a top-notch artisan.
Visit April in Paris online or at her store located at 55 Clement Street, San Francisco, CA 94118.

Below are 4 of the latest designs by Beatrice:

april in paris celeste alligator bag
1) Celeste, black millennium alligator $6500

april in paris boston alligator tote
2) Boston tote, denim millennium alligator $9500

april in paris reno clutch
3) Reno Clutch, ring lizard $3500

april in paris colette clutch
4) Colette Clutch, millennium alligator $5500

Share Your Thoughts With Us

  • william

    Her designs look like they were crafted with attention to every last detail but they are not attractive at all. A lot of them look very similar to some Hermes styles, showing her background but also a lack of individuality.

    Being a good designer takes craftsmanship as well as a strong sense of vision; unfortunately, her vision is a mediocre imitation of Hermes.

  • SKelly

    I agree; I’d like to see other pieces that are not Hermes “inspired.” It’s clear she has the craftsmanship down and her pieces look gorgeous, but if I didn’t know she was the designer, I would have thought Hermes added some new styles.

  • Anne

    they look like terrible Hermes knock offs.

  • Dana Leslie

    Tsk,tsk,tsk,
    Clearly Hermes has a dedicated following, but hold your horses kids.
    The exquisite purse I now own was a complete co-operative design effort and is fun and classic.
    Most handbags crafted by April in Paris are co-designed by the client and designer Beatrice Amblard drawing from the over 120 previously crafted handbags. The nature of “custom” is that when you are investing in one of these beauties you are totally part of the process. Don’t take my word for it check out her site or just go and meet her and see for yourself. Happy hunting.

    • SKelly

      Dana,

      I’d love to see pics…do you have any?

      • Dana

        Sure I will send one as soon as I find it.
        Thanks.

  • Deanna Belli

    I find the handbags to be quite beautiful and refined. I agree with Dana, in that each bag is CUSTOMIZED and reflects what the client has requested with respect to design, color, and choice of material. Yes, the Boston tote resembles closely an Hermes favorite, but no doubt is what the customer ordered. In my opinion, they are not “horrible looking” handbags, whether one considers them a knock-off or not. I also have more respect for those who run this site and do not feel they would feature someone who just makes knock-offs. I certainly plan on purchasing a bag. Thank you Dana for sharing your experience with this craftswoman!

  • Candace117

    I’d be interested in knowing some prices on bags with leather skins, not just exotics (though the photos are lovely).

  • Erin

    Whatever! Number one and four are beautiful. I’d buy them if I had the cash.

  • Linn

    I agree with Dana and Deanna. This is where you get the
    top notch craftmanship and custom order your own bag.
    You can the best of both world.I certainly plan on ordering
    a bag.

  • Christine

    These are gorgeous! Next time I go to San Francisco, I’m checking out her boutique.

  • Vern

    What nasty, callow, uninformed comments from the first several posters. As an initial matter, although these pieces evoke Hermes in that they, too, have a classic, timeless elegance, they also exhibit a creativity and joie de vivre not always found in Hermes pieces. The clutch, for example, is brilliant. (I confess to some bias here, as Bea made that for my wife.) Because each piece is also a collaboration between Bea and her client, each piece is also unique. Finally, the materials and, most especially, the worksmanship are world class. My wife and I were in New York over the winter holidays and she received at several social functions numerous compliments about the clutch — from people who really know world-class workmanship, including an unsolicted query about where to get one at a fellow diner at Per Se. I suppose these might look like knock-offs to those who have no idea what they are talking about, but it is a legitimate question whether that’s an audience one cares about in any event.

  • kathleen

    I own two April in Paris purses (including the gorgeous black clutch featured above) and I love them. The purses with designed with input from my husband (who loved the process), and myself, and it was wonderful to be able to have a say when it came to color, size, strap style, etc. Beatrice was brilliant to work with, and brings great insight and incredible attention to detail to the design process. Spending time in her shop is pure pleasure for anyone who loves gorgeous handbags.

    And for what it’s worth, I also own a Kelly bag and I love my April in Paris bags just as much.

  • becks

    I’m surprised at the comments of the first few posters! Sure, the April in Paris products evoke an Hermes-like elegance, but they are beautiful in their own right. I am loving the first and last clutches previewed here. You can really see her crafts(wo)manship in these structured pieces. And the little bug that is on each of the bags is so quirky, I love it!

  • william

    Would you say it is callous when Megs makes posts about ‘fug’ bags? I would not, it’s her opinion, and she is as entitled to it as I am to mine.

  • Celine

    those bags really don’t appeal to me, i’d rather buy Hermès. and the bug thing is quite repulsive.

    • Dana

      Well well,
      The “bug” is an 18 karat gold Bee which is the trademark for Beatrice’s boutique. “Repulsive”? what an unusual choice of words. :???:

      • william

        The bee looks tacky and juvenile regardless of how expensive the metal with which it is made is.

        If you base opinion solely on cost and status you are hardly an afficionado for any form of art, much less handbag design.

  • Brennamom

    Ouch! If you can’t say anything nice….. :roll:

    I hope Bea doesn’t read any of this, it really reflects badly on our community….I’m embarrased :oops:

    • william

      In case you have not noticed, Megs herself often makes posts solely to criticize a bag’s design.

  • poppy

    William,

    if you dislike her work so much why don’t you go somewhere else? clearly you’re neither a potential client or admirer but for some reason you can’t seem to stay away from this posting. And please start criticizing Meg and her choice of stories. you can always go read something else…

    • william

      My point was that even though my opinion of these bags is negative, that Megs is negative sometimes, too. For people to call my comments callous is to call Megs’ criticism of bags callous, as well. There should not be a distinction between the value my opinion and Megs’. The reason I continue to comment is because no one seems to understand this.

  • poppy

    oops, i meant please DON’T start criticizing Meg and her choice of stories…

  • Deanna Belli

    Let’s all agree to disagree sometimes. BTW, I love the Bee.

  • Chantelle

    I don’t think anyone here has the right to criticize these handmade bags. How many of you ladies out there can actually say that they can design and handcraft their own handbags?
    Until you do, no one can take your opinion seriously.

  • Vern

    William–couple of points.

    1. My post said “callow,” not “callous.” The definition of “callow” is “lacking adult sophistication; immature.” I chose the term advisedly.

    2. It is correct that you have a right to your opinion. But you don’t have the right to have that opinion be accepted or taken seriously. When I wrote that your postings were callow and uninformed, I was being precise. You have not worked with Bea. You have not even met Bea. You do not own one of her bags. You have not seen one of her bags. Despite that almost complete lack of knowledge, you nonetheless felt free to deliver a very personal, vitriolic attack on Bea and her work. That was callow and uninformed.

    I acknowledge your opinion. Given that you completely lack any basis to have one, however, it is not possible to take your opinion seriously. Bea is an artisan, trying to bring some beauty and elegance into a pre-packaged, mass-produced world. It is your loss that you are unable to see that.

    I commend to your attention Kurt Vonnegut’s short story, “Welcome to the Monkey House.” At present the irony of it will likley be lost on you, but sometimes chance intervenes and seeds take root in the poorest of soils.

    • william

      Callow, callous – my point remains. I certainly understand many will not take my opinion seriously; similarly, I can not take your’s seriously. :wink:

  • Beatrice Amblard

    I am pleased with the overwhelming response to the article writen. I am very flattered to see how many of you have taken time to comment. All constructive and intelligent criticisms are valued.
    “Les murs ont des oreilles”

  • Dana

    I did find a pic. How would like me to send it?

  • tirolia8

    The Reno clutch is just gorgeous. Bravo!

  • Rach

    The clutches are BEAUTIFUL!!! I want … :lol:

  • treyci

    i don’t know…i think that they are definitely lovely bags. i live in the sticks so i’d have nowhere to wear these delightful bags, but if i did i think that the black clutch is gorgeous. as for the “bug”? it’s adorable! i love it. everything about these bags is beautiful.

  • Sammy

    Quite frankly, when i saw this post in the forum i immediately felt the same as William. Nothing William said was harsh. He even complimented the craftsmanship. He was purely stating his opinion. I didn’t comment because i knew mostly everyone would love them.. But looking back, maybe i should have shared how i felt. I don’t think it’s right that many of you jumped all over him for his opinions. If this was a stereotypical ‘fug’ bag.. say.. some new Fendi creation, posters would have no problem talking smack.

    Just because the actual designer is trolling the posts/responses shouldn’t make us censor any of our feelings that are anything but flying praise. Would kind of defeat the purpose of having a forum filled with differing opinions at all.

  • oleu

    manyak bir şey yapıyor bu kadın
    :shock: :shock: :shock:

  • chloehandbags

    I’m going to jump into the fray, here; or, rather, the post-fray calm and say that I can see both sides of the discussion.

    I will attempt to leave aside my feelings about the cruelty of exotics, for a moment (how snakes are routinely skinned alive and then tossed aside and left to writhe, skinless, in a corner and how alligators and crocodiles have stakes driven into their brains and can take hours to die, in agony); to concentrate on the aesthetics of these bags.

    I think these bags look beautifully constructed.

    Of course, as they were hand-crafted by a highly-experienced and clearly talented ex-Hermes master artisan, one would expect no less.

    However, although I do not, for one moment, think the designs are ‘fugly’ (in fact, I think they are quite inoffensive), I do agree that, inevitably, they are lacking something and that something, IMO, is the input of an, equally talented, designer.

    Having said that, as I am not the biggest fan of Hermes bag design (which I, generally, find very pedestrian), either, perhaps I’m not the best person to judge?

  • Merlina

    I personally do not own any bags by Beatrice Amblard, as I am a loyal fan of fellow designer Marcela Calvet. In fact, it was my husband who introduced me to her label and bought my first alligator bag. Now, my husband knows quality. So do I. Although I only own Marcela Calvet, I have to admit the designs by Ms. Amblard are very nice and the quality shows. I do not understand some of the comments here; because to make a beautifully crafted product it requires skills, dedication and a good eye for detail. These designers have it and it is reflected in the finished product. Their goods are expensive because they are not produced for the masses; rather, they speak to a more select clientele who can appreciate what they are offering.

    In any instance, I am sharing my two cents here. And since Marcela Calvet just started a fabulous end of season sale (their email says at 70% off in anticipation of their newest upcoming collections), maybe those who have never experienced owning this type of handbag (lizard, alligator), ought to take into consideration what I am sharing. Then, perhaps their opinion of what truly means classic and timeless might change.

  • Trina

    I just stumbled onto this blog and am thrilled to be introduced
    to a handbag artisan in Northern California. I have a passion
    for bags and absolutely love Hermes, Chanel some Gucci, Chloe
    etc. Although the blue tote was not exactly my cup of tea, (I do not care very much for rigid handbags-Hermes or otherwise) the craftmanship is very intensive and the bag looks pricey. It could pass as an Hermes or Valextra sans the bug; I will have Beatrice to design a bag for me in the near future. But, to dismiss Williams comments like he is somehow unappreciative, invalid-or even a peasant is why this country is going to Hell as it is. Everyone has a right to express their opinion, whether
    it is liked or not-and yes I DO SEE his point! To get upset, judgemental and pious over a purse, is just as ridiculous as me
    taking the time to voice how silly and inconsequential a debate
    on handbags really is-no matter how much I love them. And believe me, I LOVE HANDBAGS-would even go so far to say that I dream about them, but in the big scheme of things bags are actually nothing; couldn’t even take ’em all if it started to
    flood HERE today!
    LOL

  • Buz

    I have known Bea for 15 years. She has made over the years a multitude of small items (belts, watchbands, etc) in the finest quality leathers and exotic skins of the highest quality workmanship while she was at Hermes.Hermes quality has been essential to me since they refused my application for an account to buy my wife a little alligator bag while a medical resident earning $1500 a year!

    She is a delightful human being with great integrity as well as a master craftswoman. You will feel the same if you visit her studio in San Francisco. Her purpose is to create individual pieces of the highest quality. So, if “her” designs do not please you, visit her and let her create your fantasy for you alone.

    Although I can afford her work only occasionally I consider her part of my “family” and you will too when you visit April in Paris.

  • Amy

    It is no surprise that shoppers from the United States might be uncomfortable with products made from exquisite materials, genuinely hand crafted and conceived from a exchange of ideas, also known as personal attention. Most of us walk around in mass-produced ‘designer’ labeled Chinese manufactured products designed by the accountants of large conglomerate firms.
    I would follow up Epictetus’ quote of “Know, first, who you are: and then adorn yourself accordingly” with one of my own, “wear it and be wild”. And then encourage everyone to investigate the true meaning of wild.

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