Inspired by tales of Hemingway’s travels in Africa, Jose Urrutia has set out to bring a sense of adventure to London.
La Portegna’s hand-crafted leather goods started with an unusual inspiration: a lion killed by Ernest Hemingway. The creature was turned into a rug and given by the writer to the grandparents of the boutique’s owner, Jose Urrutia. Listening to his grandparents’ stories of African travels with Hemingway gave Urrutia the idea of creating a range of durable accessories and luggage that had a sense of adventure about it.
He finally turned his vision into a bricks and mortar boutique on Marylebone High Street in 2009, with all products sourced from artisan leather-workers in southern Spain. Stepping inside is almost like a holiday in itself. Sunflower-yellow shutters surround the windows and pops of summery colour come from turquoise handbags (from £250) and aqua espadrilles (£145), some of this season’s new arrivals. “Our store has a sunny, cosy and laid-back ambience,” says Bilbao-born Urrutia. “I want clients to slow down when they come in.”
La Portegna caters for the modern city-dweller as much as the explorer, with a selection of notebooks (from £65) and iPad cases (from £135) available in sustainable leather. If you are thinking of upping sticks Hemingway-style, however, snap up one of the leather camera straps (£50). It’s the perfect accessory for your next adventure.
26 Marylebone High St, London, W1