Savette’s Handbags May Not Be Bulletproof, But They Definitely Aren’t Meant To Be Babied

Portrait of Amy Zurek.

Constantin Brâncusi sculptures, a plastic tote from New York’s Chinatown, and the sunlit paintings that line the walls of the Whitney Museum of American Art are a few things that have inspired the unconventional handbags designed by Amy Zurek, who founded her luxury brand Savette in 2020. “I absorb the world around me,” she says on a cloudy New York afternoon, “and that impacts the design of the pieces.”

Zurek wants to reframe the narrative around accessories by designing impactful, timeless bags that can be cherished forever by people who celebrate any aesthetic—from Lady Gaga to Emily Ratajkowski, both of whom are devotees of the brand. She doesn’t design with trends in mind, striving instead to create modern heirlooms to be passed down through generations. This is an undertaking that the designer is well-prepared for: After studying fine art and art history at the University of Pennsylvania, Zurek graduated from the fashion design program at Parsons School of Design and landed jobs at luxe, minimalist brands, including Khaite and The Row.


One afternoon, Zurek was taking stock of the gaps in her own wardrobe. “I was looking for a bag that was minimal, clean, and thoughtfully crafted from high-quality materials, but wasn’t overly plain or austere,” she recalls. “Something that had a subtle but recognizable element that wasn’t a logo.” Savette was born—and so was the Symmetry Pochette: a compact, ladylike bag and crowd favorite, with a petite top handle and an oversized turn-lock. “It’s not the most functional everyday piece,” she says, “but there’s a simple sophistication about it.”

Though Zurek’s pieces conjure a vision of pristine, elegant femininity—the kind of thing you’d see in an Audrey Hepburn film—she insists they aren’t meant to be babied. Rather, they’re made with timelessness in mind, and feature resistant materials like woven leather. “Often, women are worried that a bag is going to get scratched, or they’re going to wear it in the rain, and it will be ruined,” says Zurek. “Our bags aren’t bulletproof, but that was definitely something we considered. If you’re investing in an item, you want it to last.” Every piece is made in a three-generation family-owned factory in Italy, with all materials produced on-site or in neighboring regions.


True to the Savette ethos, which nods to family heirlooms and fine art, Zurek’s mother and grandmother serve as the designer’s personal style guides, inspiring the shapes and textures of the young brand. “I have a lot of jewelry from my grandmother,” says Zurek. “She collected a lot of Georg Jensen and Elsa Peretti. I really treasure those pieces, and they inspired some of our hardware elements, like our signature locks.”

As the hunt for fresh design trends wages on—Balletcore! Indie sleaze! Barbiecore!—Zurek is carving out a space for herself in a crowded fashion landscape. “I wanted to make handbags that exist outside of the cycle of trends,” she says. “I think that’s an uncommon design philosophy today, when we’re inundated, season after season, with newness.” What’s next for Savette? Zurek sees the brand expanding, perhaps first into small leather goods or a limited collection of homewares. At the moment, her purpose is clear. “I want the bags to be wearable by many kinds of women in all seasons.” she says. “Our guiding principle is timelessness.”