Melissa Morris, founder of luxury leather goods brand Métier, was born in Philadelphia. It was her passion for creating elegant solutions to modern problems that brought the brand to life.
Melissa’s career began at fashion houses including Armani, Helmut Lang and Belstaff, but she has always had her own idea of what luxury should be: aspirational yet relatable, timeless but of the moment, a product that’s indisputably beautiful but befits an urban lifestyle — an exquisite kind of utility. Her ideas – and brand – are anchored by a modular collection of timeless pieces with purposeful design to transform daily experiences.
As an avid traveller, we speak to Melissa about the idea behind Métier, the most memorable destinations she’s visited and the travel bags she relies on.
What sparked the idea for Métier?
I was living in New York and so often found myself searching in panic to find my wallet, phone and keys inside my bag. One day, I was on my way to work and had my usual panic about where my subway card was; I was on the ground searching through my bag frantically. I looked around and saw three other people doing the same thing. I was also frequently flying to Italy for work and experienced the same panic at the airport, except with my passport or my house keys when I finally returned home. It was then that I realised travel in the 21st century has changed – we are all on the go more than ever before, and yet the pieces we use to carry our cherished belongings never evolved to keep up. I created Métier to elegantly answer these modern problems. Our mission is to marry timelessness and perfected craftsmanship with a profound understanding of how we live today.
How does Métier help the modern day traveller?
At its core, I believe design should either solve a problem or improve an experience. If it is not doing either of these things, I see little reason for its being. The same goes for luxury design, with the difference that it is realised in the most elegant and timeless way. Métier bags are designed to give you the peace of mind to know your cherished belongings are safely organised; you have one less thing to worry about in your day. With so many things to juggle throughout your day, my bags are created so you can enjoy your journey and to allow you to feel your best.
Which Métier bag do you reach for when travelling?
I always carry my Perriand Weekend because the exterior and interior pocketing are perfect for my needs: there is a hidden exterior magnet pocket for easy access to my passport or phone; I use the interior side pockets for chargers and adapters on one side and my glasses and sunglasses on the other; and the zipper pocket behind the laptop is perfect for my house keys and AirPods. The Stowaway, which clips inside our larger bags, is my secret weapon: when it’s inside my Perriand Weekend, it acts as an organiser for my essentials. When I get to my hotel, I just unclip it and it turns into a chic shoulder bag so without a second thought, I am off to enjoy my day. The Stowaway clips into our work bags too so when I go from work to an event – I just unclip the Stowaway and store my Private Eye in the coat check. It is incredibly pleasing, I must say!
View this post on Instagram
What is the first trip you remember taking?
My family always went somewhere new every summer together and I have a lot of memories of our summer trips – but the trip that stands out is our first to London. I was 10 years old and so excited. I remember landing and getting in a black cab which was thrilling – I couldn’t believe my parents were riding backwards! We went for high tea at Harrods and visited all the sites, but my obsession was getting a pair of Doc Martens. My sister and I thought we were so cool.
What’s been your most memorable trip and why?
A few come to mind, but I think my first trip to Tokyo tops the list. It felt just like Lost in Translation, where you land super bleary-eyed, and everything just feels so different in the most amazing way. Like so many people, I am enamoured by Japanese culture and was excited to experience it firsthand. I first went to Tokyo on my own when I worked for Helmut Lang. The team that was based there was in charge of showing me around and we had so much fun; they took me to all their favourite hidden spots and I never wanted to leave. There were so many fun memories, but I will never forget visiting the Tskiji Market early one morning and having fresh Tamago with shaved daikon and a big mug of green tea. It was so warm and comforting yet so clean and elegant. That is the type of memory that makes me want to endlessly explore.
View this post on Instagram
Where or what is your escape?
While travel is so special, I think it is important to be able to find an escape in your everyday world too. For me, that is taking time to myself to go to the food market and cook (it completely relaxes me), as well as yoga and meditation which I do almost daily. I have been practising yoga for many years and there is nothing else that allows me to escape the hectic pace of life in the same way.
What’s the biggest lesson you’ve taken from your travels?
Be open to new food, new cultures, new everything. I’ve never understood people who go to the same place every year at the same time of year. Travel is about experiencing life. It can be the most inspiring, sensory experience that can feed you more than anything else. I always try to connect with locals and avoid the typical tourist spots. I also rarely go to the same place twice.
If I could go anywhere tomorrow, I’d go to:
Route 1 in California. Starting from San Francisco and driving over the Golden Gate Bridge to Bolinas for barbecued oysters and then on to Point Reyes and all the way down to Big Sur. The winding roads, the cliffs, the crashing waves, the colours… it’s so romantic and makes me feel so free.
How would you spend your ideal afternoon in your home city?
One of my favourite things to do in London in the summertime is to walk along the South Bank from Bermondsey to Battersea, across the bridge to Chelsea and up to Notting Hill where I live. There is so much life happening along the South Bank. I love the views of London across the Thames and I love the moment when I reach Battersea Park and cross Prince Albert Bridge. I love how summer days in London never end, it’s the best.
View this post on Instagram
What’s your idea of a luxury holiday?
I love to discover the best kept secrets around the world. For me, those are places that are unspoiled and focus on what matters (to me). Great service, a small, intimate setting, delicious local food and wine of the highest quality, an amazing bed and shower. I don’t care for the types of places that are designed to see and be seen. I much prefer the emphasis to be on the quality of the experience itself.
Where do you get your holiday inspiration?
Either reading or talking to friends. Most of my friends like similar destinations to me, so we always share any new destinations we have recently heard about. I have a long list of places I want to travel to and then a guide for every place I have been. I love to make lists. Like Graydon Carter, I have lists of my lists.
If you could sit next to anyone – dead or alive – who would it be?
How do you recover from jet lag?
I always do yoga before and after a flight. I also am very careful about eating well and staying hydrated. Whatever you do, don’t check your phone in the middle of the night. And a good face mask and LED treatment is key.
Your flight’s delayed an hour and your phone’s out of battery. How do you pass the time?
Sketching. Or answering interview questions: right now I am actually on a flight to New York that is delayed for takeoff!
The Greenwich Hotel in New York. Not only do I love it for all the reasons I mentioned above, but Philip, the general manager, is the best in the business. He takes such incredible care of me when I stay. We are just about to launch a collaboration together which I am so excited about.
View this post on Instagram
British Airways. I travel so much that I am a gold member and I’m a sucker for that first-class lounge and private security line.
What’s on your travel playlist?
I love to make playlists. I make one for Métier almost every month on our Spotify – and we also always listen to music in the studio. For travel, Simon and Garfunkel’s America always tops the list.
What are your must-have travel picks?
My Perriand Weekend and Stowaway. My LED face mask. My travel yoga mat and yoga clothes. My black Michel Vivien pirate boots. My Charlotte Gainsbourg for Zara bootcut jeans. My brown Toteme belt. My black cashmere Khaite sweater. My gold chain necklace and AirPods – I am always listening to music.
Where to next?
I am en route to New York now! Then I am back in London for a few days before heading to LA. Then back in London for a few days before heading to Utah to ski with my family. After that, we are shooting in Athens with one of my best friends, Isabelle, in April. Lots of time with my friends from British Airways.
MELISSA'S PACKING ESSENTIALS
FIRST THING THAT COMES TO YOUR MIND…
Packing: roll or fold
Fold – in our packing pouches. I know I’m biased but they keep everything organised and perfectly folded so you don’t have to worry about ironing or creasing in flight. They also make packing, unpacking and repacking so easy.
Inflight book or inflight film?
I would love to say inflight book, but for sure it’s inflight film. I have terrible taste in movies, I am such a baby and cannot watch anything scary or violent.
Music or podcasts?
Music mostly, but I do also listen to podcasts. My friend recently told me about Huberman Lab which I am loving.
Time killer on a long-haul flight?
Movies and wine.
Holiday tipple of choice?
Bucket list top destination?
Bhutan, Indonesia, Brazil, Peru, French Polynesia, Madagascar…
Best shopping gem found abroad?
Tiny ceramic plates with different hand-painted fish that I found in Greece. I love to have dinner parties and I use them for the aperitivo.
Beach or City?
Both. I know I’m supposed to pick one, but both are so important in different ways. I would also add the forest and mountains too. I recently visited a rainforest in Cornwall (yes a rainforest in the UK!) and was reminded how important it is to be truly immersed in nature. I really believe in the power of Shinrin Yoku, the Japanese word for forest bathing. I also was just telling a friend how much I love to visit the Alps in Summer, it’s so underrated: the air is so crisp and clean, the sun is so pure and strong, it’s incredible.
Ultimate holiday treat?
Switching off from work. It’s not easy, but I am getting better and better at it (with the help of an incredible team holding down the fort at home!)
Any Questions or Tips to add?