LT Gstaad Hobo in dove quilted leather with patent trim - $1,595PB: People are often frustrated looking at the inside of a trendy bag and find canvas;

John: We do canvas lining, especially when we want to do something light. But sometimes, canvas even makes it heavier. That is why we discovered the world of lamb suede, because it is light and easy. When we use canvas, the pockets are still trimmed in leather, it plays with what’s in the bag. Because cell phones have evolved, people carry their Blackberries and smart devices, we decided to make our pockets flat. So they are a little more universal, more generic and work in this high technology world.

PB: How would you sum up your brand?

John: Easy. Relaxed. Quiet. Robust. Light. When I look around [in the showroom] I see texture, detail. Thought-out. Finally, I’d say respectful.

PB: Do you have a favorite material you work with?

John: We love, LOVE leopard print. We designed with leopard print since 1998 in our first collection. Alligator as well. We love working with leathers that are a natural tannage, ones that are not covered with paint, chrome. Deep, saturated colors, even our pebble grains and our Nappas have saturated colors. We don’t like painted, nothing that is fake and vinyl.

Richard: I don’t really enjoy working with fabric, either. Something that is soft and drapey.

LT Mini Margo in orchid snakeskin - $595, Dietrich in orchid crocodile - $3,200, Framed Clutch in orchid satin - $745PB: Your names are interesting and they flow together perfectly. How did you decide your last names were going to make a brand name?

Richard: The hardest part is naming anything. I never particularly liked my name, but I thought John’s name was very cool

John: ;I obviously didn’t like my name; guess two bads make one;

Richard: John has a great name but nobody can pronounce it.

John: It is the easiest name to pronounce. I think that people just want to have conflict and struggle in life. If you look at Lam-Bert-Son Tru-Ex – it’s like the alphabet, very simple.

Richard: People tend to think we are European.

John: Born and bread Americans! Truex is French/Danish but it has been generations since my family landed on Manhattan Island.

Richard: When we first started the company, the DMM of Bergdorf, Suzan Cohen — very funny woman from Boca – asked “What’s it gonna be called?” and I said that we had a couple of things but that we thought of Lambertson Truex. “Perfect, perfect! It sounds vaguely European and my people will think it sounds very classy.”

John: We played around with a lot of logos and variations, just Lambertson – no – just Truex – no – Truex Lambertson didn’t work. We were playing around, sketching the logo and the L and T just fit like a piece of the puzzle. They lock together, seemed natural.

LT Florence in espresso crocodile - $16,000, Leola boot in espresso crocodile - $2,995PB: The biggest challenge breaking into the industry?

Richard: When we launched, that was the year that logos exploded. Dior did sweaty campaigns with greasy girls, wearing logos; Again, we are perceived as a huge brand because we sit next to Gucci and Prada and we started the company with just our money and no backing. We still do not do any advertising. The perception of the store and the people is the hardest part, getting our name out there.

John: Actually starting was not that difficult. Obviously, as with any business, you have to incorporate this, ship that. But breaking; I think we started at the right time. There were not a lot of brands out there.

Richard: To do it now would be extremely difficult.

LT Florence in espresso croc detail shotJohn: We had a lot of friends that really supported us in the retail world, the editorial world. People embraced the support we received worldwide, we were very fortunate because we had a lot of people who wanted us to succeed. We are very thankful for starting when we did and having such support. And frankly, there were not many accessories out of America. It was all very European-driven. Through our retail experience, we entered at the right price point. You cannot enter the market in 1998 with a $2,000 handbag. We knew that, at that time, $795, $895, $995 was the sweet spot. We built the collection, knowing that is where we had to be. Chanel was $1,200, we had to go in with a beautiful brand that could sit next to Chanel, be different and priced at $995. We did not want to give the retailer a reason to tell us “We don’t want to buy this.” A to Z was covered, price points, materials, leathers, everything. They couldn’t say no!

Richard: The first order I hand-delivered to Bergdorf. Security went crazy because they knew me as the executive vice president of the company. When I showed up in my jeans, carrying this big box, the security guy would yell “Mr. Lambertson, get someone here to help him!” and I thought, “No, no, I am here to deliver;” It was really funny. John would be waiting around outside in the Volvo, double-parked.

Share Your Thoughts With Us

  • These two men are a complete class act!! I loved getting to meet them and their designs are truly amazing!

  • windowshopping

    I love that they say this!

    “We truly think that our customer is a leader, she doesn’t follow trends. She buys for herself, not for the girl sitting next to her, she is not there to impress. She is there to feel great about herself.”

    • They truly are one of a kind. I can not rave about these two men enough!

  • Jane

    GREAT INTERVIEW!!!

    :cool:

  • dimon

    Wow! Excellent questions and these guys gave you a lot of information, shows your influence in the industry. One of the best designer interviews I’ve ever read. Pity about the spelling of J. D. SULLINGER though!

    • Corrected, thanks for pointing it out. As you can see, I am not much of a book reader.

  • Jessica

    These guys are so classy and down-to-earth. I’m very impressed!

  • doozer

    Good interview and fun to read. Nice guys! Thanks

  • What an amazing interview!!!!! Both guys seem so nice and down to earth. Can’t wait to see more from them :mrgreen:

  • susan

    fabulous. doesnt. even. scratch. the. surface. I have often wondered what “their story” is. I loved their advice for up and coming designers… something to aspire to!

  • charlie james

    I too have the pleasure of knowing both. What smart, savvy- and dare I nice- nice guys. The interview is so true to real life form. John – always reacting to, almost interacting with materials and the ‘physical’ side of bag creation, and Richard, more ephemeral and almost spiritual about congering up the magic. Clearly the end result is great product, classy and classic, but unique with a youthful panache. My wife is a big – not so secret collector and ‘carrier’ of LT.
    Charlie

  • charlie james

    I too have the pleasure of knowing both. What smart, savvy- and dare I nice- nice guys. The interview is so true to real life form. John – always reacting to, almost interacting with materials and the ‘physical’ side of bag creation, and Richard, more ephemeral and almost spiritual about congering up the magic. Clearly the end result is great product, classy and classic, but unique with a youthful panache.

  • Paul Reichel

    I read this and I can’t say that i do not agree. However, How come they went broke – if they were ‘savvy’ and their wares were sought after.
    Funny that.

  • Paul Reichel

    Ah! OK! I read the rest – if Samsonite bought a controlling interest in 2007 then I have answered my own question. Let’s make this clear – I have no criticism of Samsonite. AND their place in the market doesn’t enhance the image of LT (more like the Kiss of Death). I buy Samsonite ‘cos it’s functional, hard- wearing, I check it in and I expect that I will throw it away 2 years later if the airlines do their usual ‘best’. This is not the LT world. When Porsche let Audi build the first 924 (ancient history, but…) did it enhance the Porsche brand? Do I avoid fragrance companies when I find out they are owned by P&G? Good to spray on before I mow the lawn to veil the sweat – but that’s it!

  • Grace Young

    This is great news. I knew John as I was a supplier for Carlos Falchi in the late 80’s and early 90s. John is so talented and professional plus wonderful to work with. So happy to see him now having his own line of collection like now it is almost 20 years later. Just a hunch to find out how he is doing from googles and found this article. John has impeccable taste and always want the best quality and details.

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