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Perez Sanz

Perez Sanz

210 East 65th Street
4th Floor
New York, NY 10065
212 249 5151
perezsanz.com
Hours:
By Appointment
Established: 2009
Other Locations:
Argentina

“Everything that we find is an excuse for us to make something different,” is how Luciano described the magnificent pieces in his charming boutique. Walking into Perez Sanz, I assumed that I was entering a mere accessory store. Luciano, who designs the pieces with his father, Julio Perez Sanz, quickly opened my eyes to the fact that his business is not just belts and bags: both father and son are master craftsmen, creating in a variety of media for different purposes. They are architects, fashion designers, interior designers, and visual artists, all at the same time.

Julio started crafting his designs in 1966 in Buenos Aires. As a young boy, Luciano apprenticed in his father’s workshop. His earliest job was making necklaces from glass beads, but he clearly remembers graduating to the forge, where he was allowed to use a blowtorch at the tender age of six. Luciano and Julio employ old methods that are seldom used in our machine-driven world, and often recover ancient crafting techniques that have not been used for years. Customers frequently mistake their products as vintage, since highly detailed handmade pieces are so rare today.

Luciano is very proud of the fact that his company helps the Argentinian economy. Though he and his father are the designers, they have a team of talented people in Argentina who cannot leave their homes, either for health or family reasons, who do much of the construction of their pieces. Luciano then pointed to the tasseled leather bags and said that they give strips of leather to the Argentinians and it is products like this that are the outcome of their work.

Luciano misses the workshop in Argentina, but is excited to be in New York. “Though I had to learn a lot while moving here, New York is a wonderful city. We want to find some sort of stability here.” He confided in me that one of the biggest cultural shocks for him comes from his social life. Whereas artists tend to form a small, easily-recognizable group in Buenos Aires, he is overwhelmed by the far-reaching creative community in New York.

As I wandered through the shop, Luciano explained that he and his father look for the intrinsic beauty in their objects, not for the expense of their materials. He sees that granite and bronze can sparkle just as brightly as marble and gold. “For us, these are just as precious,” he went on to say. He showed me a delicate ostrich bag that also formed a bracelet when hung on one’s wrist. The leather handles were so finely made that I was convinced they were constructed from cord, rather than hide. Luciano stated that he tries to use as much of the animal as possible when using leather. I was fascinated when he showed me how his alligator bags are shaped to fit the exact dimensions of each individual reptile.

The father-son team specializes in items that are both beautiful AND functional. “We cannot do everything,” Luciano said, “And so we make things that are useful.” He showed me a breath-taking leather and metal necklace collar that could be used an infinite number of ways and then could be twisted into a free-standing sculpture. There were also tasseled shawls that could be worn in various fashions over one’s shoulders or as a skirt. “You can play!” Luciano suggested repeatedly to me, encouraging me to find the many different uses of each piece. “Everything has, in a certain way, a story.” I adored the little men on horseback with hair made of bristles that were hidden throughout the store, and many belts and necklaces were decorated with wide-eyed dragonflies. “Some people think they are elephants,” Luciano said, urging me to look at the art from a different perspective. I think what I found to be the most delightful were the belt buckles that were made from carving out the top of pumpkins.

Enthusiastically, Luciano opened up some of his photo albums and showed me pictures of some of the larger pieces he and his father have completed. I was astonished. Huge fake boar and stag heads made of metal decorated a wall, spindly sculptures based on native Argentinian watchtowers dotted a plain, and a giant metal Christmas tree inhabited a foyer. I was repeatedly impressed by how Luciano and Julio were able to alternate between a sleek, modern style and a highly decorative baroque look. It seems that they are perfectly capable of catering to anyone’s taste. Luciano believes that accessories are an extension of a person. “We are helping our customers be more them,” he said, poetically. It was refreshing that Luciano’s primary focus is in the art itself rather than business or prestige. He told me, “I have no interest in becoming famous – though if I ever did, I would hope it would be for what we do, not who we are.” He continued, “The excitement of seeing someone pleased or surprised by a piece – that’s what makes me happy.”

In closing, Luciano shared with me that sometimes he and his father begin with the material and at other times, it is the idea that they have first and then they go hunting for the correct material to create an intriguing accessory. Either way, it is apparent that they adore what they do, but especially that they can share in the process together, even when they are oceans apart.