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Buy the purse Dieter Rams secretly designed for his wife

Once one-of-a-kind, the fabled 931 bag can now be yours… for a price.

In 1963, the industrial design legend Dieter Rams was just beginning his three-decade run as Braun’s chief designer. He wanted to surprise his wife Ingeborg with a gift. So in what certainly sounds like a slight abuse of power, he collaborated with the leather companies behind Braun’s shaver cases to produce a one-of-a-kind purse for her.

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[Image: © Gerhardt Kellermann, Munich/courtesy Tsatsas]
Now, for the first time ever, the “931” bag is available for anyone to buy through the boutique Frankfurt label Tsatsas, a luxury leather goods company run by husband and wife team Esther Schulze-Tsatsas and Dimitrios Tsatsas. Coming in two colors–black and concrete–the bag exudes a certain Ramsian austerity, with a rainbow-arching handle looping directly into a clasping rectangular prism. One can almost imagine this shape opening to reveal a Braun portable radio or record player, but instead, it fans out to reveal multiple storage compartments, all lined with Tsatsas’s go-to “blue lamb napa” lining.

The project began when a close friend of Dieter Rams reached out, and told Tsatsas the origin story of the private bag. “No one except the members of the Dieter Rams Foundation knew about the existence of the handbag,” Esther says. Taken by the “timelessness, paired with a perfect balance between the minimalist exterior and the sophisticated and somehow feminine interior,” Tsatsas worked closely with Rams himself, discussing “every single step” with him and his team. The updates to the design were minor–the most aggressive of which was that Tsatsas added a detachable shoulder strap to give the piece more flexibility in day-to-day life.

“As you can imagine, as a perfectionist for sure he also checked the final version and approved it,” says Esther. Each bag is produced in a traditional leather working shop in Offenbach, Germany. If you’d like to acquire a 931 for yourself, the bag is available now for $1,030. You can order it through the Tsatsas website.

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About the author

Mark Wilson is a senior writer at Fast Company who has written about design, technology, and culture for almost 15 years. His work has appeared at Gizmodo, Kotaku, PopMech, PopSci, Esquire, American Photo and Lucky Peach

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