The Portugaba: Christian Louboutin’s Artisanal Map of Portugal

The Portugaba: Christian Louboutin’s Artisanal Map of Portugal

“Year after year, I have spent days exploring different regions
following recommendations from friends, going from a little
embroiderer in
to a cestería [basketry workshop] in the
. I’ve discovered people with a great savoir faire and a
real sense for colour combination and patterns. It gave me the
desire to design a bag as a tribute to the love I have for this

Aligning with artisans from across the country, the creation of
the Portugaba tote nods to
Portugal’s rich history and tradition of craftsmanship. “You have a
lot of ways to imagine Portugal but I really wanted to create a bag
that felt quite earthy because there is something almost rustic in
the Portuguese modality. I didn’t want something too delicate; I
wanted the bag to have a form of solidity.”

Serving almost like an artisanal map of Portugal – the beadwork
on its handles, the referencing of azulejos tiles, the masterly mix
of bold colours on its fringe – the Portugaba is a manifesto of
skills, time and artistry.

Louboutin’s Portugaba tote nods to
‘s rich history and tradition of craftsmanship.
“Portugal is one of the places I go to design my summer
collections. The light here, the laid-back people and the vibe is
very inspiring to me.” From the sun-drenched coast of the Algarve
to the brightly tiled streets of Lisbon,
Portugal summons vivid images and serves as a source of creative
inspiration for designer Christian Louboutin.

An Artisanal Map of Portugal

Miranda do Douro

Located in the north of Portugal, Miranda do Douro is the
birthplace of the Capa de Honras – jacket of honour – one of
Portugal’s oldest traditional costumes. The wealthier the owner the
more ornate and intricate the decorative details – hearts, for
example, signify affluence, abundance and love. Applying this
artistry to the front panel of the Portugaba bags – in the form a
CL coat of arms – gives the traditional decoration a more modern


A small village in northwest Portugal, Fridão was once home to
the largest number of weavers in the region. The area is famed for
its application of puxados, a technique which involves pulling
individual threads through a piece of fabric in order to create
high and low reliefs with a look and feel similar to velvet. The
right side panel of the Portugaba is a tribute to puxados experts,
who dedicate themselves to the tradition.

Ribeira de Pena

Working with cotton, local artisans in the municipality of
Ribeira de Pena have over twenty years of experience using the
technique of picado. The technique consists of cutting complex
patterns into the top layer of wool using only scissors. Everything
is done freehand and through instinct. Traditionally used to make
cushions, tablecloths, bedspreads and attire, the panels take up
three hours to create.

Mafra and Ericeira

A small village between Mafra and Ericeira is responsible for
the bead-embellished handles you see at the top of the Portugaba.
The beads reflect the style of Portugal’s azulejos tiles, which are
often seen covering the exterior of traditional buildings. These
centuries-old ceramic tiles bear distinctive traditional patterns
which here have been repurposed, transferred by hand onto beads,
are then kiln-fired. Each piece takes almost an hour to

A portion of the proceeds from every sale of the Portugaba
bag will be donated to Portuguese charities.

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