In 1970 Wanny Di Filippo established Il Bisonte in the heart of Florence in via del Parione, between Via Tornabuoni and the Lungarno in the historical Palazzo Corsini, as an artisan workshop making leather handbags, travel bags, briefcases, wallets, belts and stationery accessories.
The brand became famous for their natural vegetable-tanned cow-hide, which arrives in store a pure, palest tan, and darkens with time, sunlight and handling.
But why a brand name such as Il Bisonte? Wanny, who created the logo, explains: "I’ve always been fascinated by the feeling of peace and strength that bison convey. For centuries these animals have been source of life and future for the people who roamed in Northern America territories. Nowadays it is a symbol that I proudly use to 'sign' my product."
Over the years, the product has kept a top-level quality and its unique design, but the company has grown enormously with a sensible increase of goods produced and human resources. The production company operates in the new and modern factory in the countryside near Florence. In spite of this expansion, the company has maintained the style of its origin and the traditional artisan-ship typical of the trademark. The founder, Wanny, still loves his activity and continues to realize with his own hands the shapes which his minds creates with same enthusiasm and simplicity by which he began.
Hunt Leather and Il Bisonte
Hunt Leather introduced Il Bisonte to Australia in the late ‘70s and the collection is exclusive to our own stores. We love the beauty, personality and individuality of the Il Bisonte leathergoods, and we visit Wanny at the showroom and the factory near Florence every year to buy from the extensive collections that Wanny still creates. Everything is made exclusively to order, and each order takes six months.
Their collections increase each year, with new models and leathers. Many of these leathers are seasonal only, but successful models are added to the collection. Il Bisonte only make TO ORDER – they don’t have a seasonal range on the shelf like other producers. So our collection is often very different from that in other parts of the world. The range has expanded greatly in the last few years, with shoes, watches, cuffs, bracelets, and even watch boxes.
Il Bisonte has somewhat of a cult following – just ask an aficionado to show you their naturally darkened wallet! We’ve been collecting Il Bisonte stories for years now and there are too many to relate here. But just ask an Il Bisonte fan and they’ll tell you their own.
Wanny di Filippo
He is an amazing man. As a hippy in the late 1960s he started making leather sandals when living with like-minded artisans on the coast of Italy. He is a complete original – an artist in his own right, a huge supporter of the arts, a collector, and a real eccentric. He always wears a waistcoat, a scarf, and loves his cigars. Over the last few years, as his English and our Italian has improved, we have come to know him well and he has revealed his very generous side. He is “babbo di Natale” to my girls as well as to children in hospitals in Florence at Christmas time! And we were extremely proud that he came to Australia in November 2007 for the opening of our Hunt Leather store in the MLC Centre.