Retail Review: Samsonite Black Label

1214243569When I travel, I’d like to think I do it in style, but I must confess that chic (and uber-pricey) luggage has always kind of puzzled me. It seems pretty ridiculous to spend a ton of money on something that will more than likely be dropped, kicked, and shoved violently as cargo en route to your destination, and then show up at the baggage carousel wet and/or stained.

Or worse, reek of rotten seafood and gasoline (yes, this happened, and yes, it was horrifying).

But even a luggage skeptic like me was smitten with Samsonite Black Label’s latest collections of travel-ware, available at the brand’s boutique in Copley Place.

Creative Director Quentin Mackay has taken the Samsonite brand’s luxury label to a new level with collections like the Resort line, which is inspired by classic Samsonite designs from the 1930s, made of fine leather with polished brass detailing. Each piece is beautiful inside and out, with stunning colorful vintage patterned silk linings. At $1,100 the Along Weekender duffle (pictured) is way out of my price range, but its detachable second bag feature is awesome.

There’s also the Vintage line – a throwback to 1930s and 1940s era travel, with pieces made to look like those your grandparents might have toted. The rounded and rigid purse-like Beauty Bag ($310) and Mini Bag ($260) are definitely reminiscent of mid 20th century glamour. In keeping with the vintage theme, there’s also the Fashionaire line, which is a re-imagining of 1960s era luggage prints and floral patterns.

For those more concerned with extreme durability, SBL has developed the new X’Lite line of bags to withstand the abuse of baggage handlers, turbulence, and all other high-impact incidents. The Hardside Spinner ($660) is made of an incredibly strong and lightweight composite material to keep your stuff safe and lighten your load. According to Samsonite reps, the bags easily passed the official Samsonite crash, slam, and bump test, so you can rest easy next time you see your bag carelessly chucked into the cargo pit.

Samsonite Black Label, Copley Place, 617-236-0429,

–Joe McGauley