While everyone's been preoccupied with recession, depression and general economic malaise, Tumi slowly edged its way into the luxury market. Granted, it was never an inexpensive product: it's always been built tough, using good materials. In fact, this editor often relied on two enormous garment bags-on-wheels for fashion shoots (including one produced on an African safari). But ballistic nylon isn't exactly chic.
Several years, ago, however, the company introduced its "Townhouse" collection of handsome trunks, suitcases, and small leather goods. Suddenly, editorial antennae everywhere started to vibrate, and it wasn't long before Tumi jumped onto the shortlist of desirable (as opposed to merely practical) travel gear.
This September, the company is taking another big step. Two unisex pieces–a document envelope and a slim, top-handled portfolio–will be available in French-tanned American alligator. We approve. Ballistic nylon is great for flak jackets, but a sleek briefcase like this says "Master of the Universe" loud and clear.