Article: The Story Behind the Manacor Bucket Bag
04.21.17

The Story Behind the Manacor Bucket Bag

The camera catches her laughing. Mum is smiling widely, her eyes shining, her beautiful black hair swept into a loose updo framing her face.

Snapped in a Basque village in the 1960s, the photo captures my mum sitting against a stone wall. On the ground next to her is a rope-handled, lacquered basket.

The basket was the inspiration for our Spring 2017 Manacor bucket bag.

Mum designed the original basket herself. She’d commissioned a gypsy artisan to make it, asking him to customize the piece with leather-wrapped rope handles.

She had a thing for baskets—when we were infants, Mum enjoyed toting my brothers and me around in Moses baskets!

Mum always had an independent spirit and unique style. When she couldn’t find things she wanted in stores, she made the pieces herself. Or she partnered with local tailors, seamstresses and cobblers, building up a community of craftspeople that made pieces to her specifications.

Years later, on holiday in Mallorca, I remembered the photo.

Mallorca is a special vacation retreat for my family and me. That summer, walking in the island’s salty, rosemary-scented air, under the fig trees and pines, I began to daydream about a perfect carryall.

Mallorca, photo by Mercedes Castillo
Mallorca, photo by Mercedes Castillo
 

Shop Manacor, Large

Shop Manacor, Large
Mercedes Castillo’s mother, Mercedes, 1960s
Mercedes Castillo’s mother, Mercedes, 1960s

“That summer, walking in the island’s salty, rosemary-scented air, under the fig trees and pines, I began to daydream about a perfect carryall…”

It would be something I could take to the marketplace. Carry along for a drink after a day at the beach. Tuck in my lap for dinner at the harbor after a day of sailing.

I thought of the old photo—and mum’s basket. My imagination began to percolate.

I never meant to duplicate Mum’s design. Her basket was the springboard. Mum’s bag was made in the Basque Country; ours would be crafted in Italy. I loved the idea of a woven bag, but I wanted it to be clean, minimal, geometric—and crafted of luxe leather to play up the piece’s simplicity.

We lined the bag with a linen drawstring pouch detailed with rolled leather “poms.”

I wanted two sizes: a large bucket for toting to the market and beach, and a miniature version for al fresco dinners when you need only your phone and a light scarf to wrap yourself against the night air.

We called the bag the “Manacor,” the name of one of my favorite Mallorcan towns.

The Manacor comes in some of my favorite colors: navy, white, natural and limone, our signature yellow.

Mum loves navy. This summer I’m surprising her with a Manacor bag in marine blue!

~Mercedes Castillo