When it comes to putting together an exclusive cut, in this case for The Summer Cottage bag, a moment has to occur when you know the pieces are falling into place. I had in my possession rare vintage fabric from Austria but it took weeks to find the right zip. I went to several mercerie’s, and started checking in to collector/antique stores to see if I could conjure up some ideas.
The mystery was solved when I visited a mercerie in Monfalcone. The lady was showing me many styles of metal zips, even with the language barrier she could tell by my facial expressions and sighing that I wasn’t getting what I wanted. She then went to the back room and came out with a box.
I had never heard of Riri Star before, but there is an instinct when your heart stops beating and can see. I not only saw but felt that I had discovered something of value. The colours of the tape had a hue of history, the width of the teeth were thin and delicate, and the metal of the zip was painted the same colour as the tape. I knew at this moment I would use these zips only on fabric just as special.
I came home to do some research on the zips:
Riri is one of the most widely recognized and oldest zipper manufacturers in the world. Founded in 1936, Riri has set out to provide the most high quality zipper available. They have received national recognition for being the “ultimate in quality, precision and reliability.” Riri is most often seen on top of the line items such as handbags, clothing, and luggage, as well as on brands such as Dooney & Bourke, Prada, Dolce & Gabbana and others.
The most popular Riri Zipper is made from precious metal alloys, nylon, and zamac (zamac is a family of alloys with a base metal of zinc and alloying elements of aluminum, magnesium and copper). The zippers are made in Mendrisio, Switzerland and Tirano, Italy. During production, there are at a minimum 10 steps to allow for precision in every function of the zipper. Each metal tooth is polished several times to make it as smooth as possible, and as the old saying goes, “you can rub the teeth of a Riri zipper on a woman’s silk skirt and see no zipper track lines.”
After polishing, the teeth are electroplated in a number of finishes such as brass, nickel, antique brass, antique silver, and more, in a plethora of tape colors. At the end of the process the zippers are able to withstand an impressive 160 lbs of pressure.
I have a limited amount of Vintage Riri Zips so you’ll have to keep an eye out for when I use them. Most likely on a bag when I find exclusive fabric to match.