Crocodile skin is suddenly the material of the moment. Utterly luxurious, it is also a prudent investment that will look and feel better with age. Discover our selection of products in this most exotic of skins.
Crocodile skin is suddenly the material of the moment. Utterly luxurious, it is also a prudent investment that will look and feel better with age. Discover our selection of crocodile products, as Santiago Gonzalez, president of ultra-luxurious handbag brand Nancy Gonzalez, shares his tips for purchasing this most exotic of skins.
Long a staple of style, crocodile skin has recently moved into the realm of avant-garde fashion and cutting-edge design. On the runway this season at Hermes, Dior and Bottega Veneta, and used increasingly in the type of furniture that blurs the boundaries between art and design, crocodile is suddenly the material of the moment. Utterly luxurious, a crocodile skin product is also a prudent investment that will look and feel better with age.
Nancy Gonzalez, the Colombian and New York based handbag brand, is renowned for its vertically integrated production process that begins at the crocodile farms of South America and ends with some of the most sumptuous handbags on the market. Santiago Gonzalez, the company president and son of the designer, is an expert on the use of exotic skins. Here, he shares with Luxuryculture.com his essential guide to buying crocodile skin.
Santiago Gonzalez's definition of luxury?
Creativity without limitations.
If luxury were a moment?
Now. Always now.
A Lucio Fontana painting: purity, rigor and composition...
My driver, Donald, and my housekeeper, Betty.
"To determine the quality of a skin, you first of all touch it. You want a skin that's been bred properly, so that it's soft, young and supple. If it's an old and poorly maintained or wild skin, it's going to be too thick. And then you look at it closely - you're looking for scratches. Remember, these animals are fighting, so even the best skins might have a scratch on them. But the most expensive skins have very few scratches or imperfections."
"Skins come from a whole range of species, each which have different qualities and attributes. Alligator is well known for having scales that are very square. The surface of the skin is also softer and smoother to touch.
Crocodile has a more textured feel. Most bags you see are made out of crocodile from the Nile. If you look closely, you see a pore at the bottom of the scales - one little hole, where they breathe.
Then you have the porosis crocodile, which has a v small hole, but that's very beautifull. They're mostly from Southern Australia, and the scales are very square. Perosis is sought after because after the scale has reached a certain size the animal can continue to grow, but the scale doesn't grow. So you can make huge bags without any cuts. It's the priciest skin because it is so rare.
At Nancy Gonzalez, we use all species, but mostly Cayman crocodiles from South America. Why? Because we like the texture, we think it's more modern, and we like it for our product.
With all species, the bigger the skin, the better. Skins are sold by centimeter and the price per centimeter increases by size, exponentially, like a diamond. A large bag with no cuts, in porosis, would be very rare indeed - comparable to having a brown diamond."
"Crocodile skin should be kept inside their felt bags in a place that's not too dry. You want the skin to be in a place where it can breathe. It's not dissimilar to taking care of a fur coat. The very best way to care of a crocodile bag? By using it regularly, of course. They look so much better when they're well used."
"It's not the case any more that products that use crocodile are less fashion and trend driven. People need to fall in love with the style first and then they'll look at the material. A customer prepared to pay these prices is not willing to sacrifice design just to have a skin bag. The trends in crocodile are the same trends as in high fashion. Though there is more of a sense of permanence with a product in skin."