Designer Spotlight: Christopher R. King
By Anthony Hamilton
“It wasn’t about creating the most expensive attaché case in the world, it was about creating the finest product and sparing no expense.”
There is just something about Christopher R. King. As he walks into the room for the interview, I notice a few of the guests turn to watch him as he walks by. His confident stride and impeccable style are cause enough to stare. You can tell right away that he has real attention to details.
From his perfectly manicured hands down to his perfectly polished custom crocodile shoes, his image is posh, yet sophisticated and classic. You know right away this is someone you need to know. But when he sits down and starts talking about his lifetime passion, his fervor on the subject is palpable and his charm will have you captivated. This is someone who is truly living their dream.
“CCCXXXIII is for today’s modern consumer who won’t settle for anything less than the very best in life.”
What inspired you to follow your passion as a designer?
I have always loved art and design. Since I was a young child, it has been my escape. I have always been a big dreamer who wasn’t afraid to go after what I wanted in life. When most kids were playing with toys, I was in my room painting or drawing out the ideas in my head. Even today, if I need to clear my head, I will lock myself up in a studio and just paint for hours. I find it very therapeutic. My vision is just a little more ambitious now, with a much bigger canvas.
What was your inspiration on creating your luxury brand CCCXXXIII?
It was always a dream of mine, but I buried it because I was so focused on building and investing in other people’s companies. After the experience of building my own wine label and putting all of that passion and creativity into a product that required a real creative process and genuine hard work, I realized how powerful it was for one to follow one’s passions. Once I sold that company, I knew it was time for me to finally pursue my dream and create my own luxury company. It was such a beautiful feeling. I couldn’t wait to start designing.
What makes CCCXXXIII different than other luxury brands?
For starters, this is a brand that was created to elevate the standards of luxury, embracing modern shopping behaviors while bringing back the true art of old world craftsmanship. The world doesn’t need another luxury brand that does what everyone else is doing. We wanted to change the industry by creating a company focused only on limited edition products that eliminated industry standard seasons and put the focus more on the consumer and their desires.
We tailored our business model around today’s modern consumers, who have achieved excellence in their own lives and want products that convey that. We wanted to create something with the quality and craftsmanship that was available centuries ago. By developing a direct to consumer, limited-edition model, we could create the most expensive luxury products in the world tailored for that particular clientele, and we would not be forced to fit within the confines of current industry standards.
Christopher R. King hand selecting a crocodile skin in Italy.
Why was the briefcase your first product?
Every businessman needs a briefcase, and I always struggled to find one that met all of my needs. So, I designed not only from the point of view of an artist, but as a businessman and luxury consumer. They say that luck is what happens when preparation meets opportunity. I wanted to create a bag that would bring luck to anyone that carried it. The briefcase is a statement of luxury and functionality, with compartments for writing instruments, notebooks and laptop, paired with the finest, most exquisite materials so consumers can be prepared and organized for any encounter while communicating their own personal standards of excellence.
What are some of the details that make CCCXXXIII so unique?
When I say that I wanted to elevate the standards, it wasn’t just a statement. We spared no expense in achieving this vision. I wanted to create a product for those people (like myself) that stopped at nothing to achieve their dreams. I wanted to achieve the same for CCCXXXIII, so it is really part of our brand values and philosophy.
From the very beginning, I wanted this to be special. We commissioned one of the last Heraldic artists, Neil Bromley, who has designed coins for the Queen of England and worked with the royal family to help us create our vision of the CCCXXXIII logo and crown symbol. He still designs on vellum and using 23.5k gold leaf, along with other medieval techniques. It was an incredible experience just to go through this process with him.
Then we found the consummate goldsmith to create our iconic coin. He is an expert jeweler who creates for the pope and has worked on gold pieces for the Vatican. His work was incredible, and we knew he would be able to help us handcraft this final piece in solid gold. The entire process of just creating this one piece was a painstaking journey, but I wanted it to match the standards we had set for CCCXXXIII, so it was worth it.
Meanwhile, I sought out the most experienced artisans to handcraft the collection – as they were originally taught – so they could help me fully realize my modern vision. I personally hand-selected every exotic skin that was used for every bag. Literally went down and chose each piece I wanted for the collection. It was that important to me.
Pictured here is the 1 of 300 leather and 24k gold plated briefcase.
What inspires you as a designer now?
I am so lucky to be living the life that I want to live right now. I am inspired by fine art and architecture from around the world. I have been to so many extraordinary places, and I am constantly amazed at the details and labor that goes into a real masterpiece. You look at something like the Roman Colosseum and how that was built, and it is just so humbling to me. I am inspired by the process and determination required to take a vision to fruition.
Is there anyone you would want to collaborate with?
I haven’t really thought about collaborations at this point, but if I did, they would need to share my vision for creating something extraordinary. I want to continue to push the boundaries and create something that is truly unique and sets the standards for others to follow. I would love to design a private plane or luxury car. I don’t like to limit my imagination. If I am honest, I think I already have an idea now for a Gulfstream.
“I want to continue to push the boundaries and create something that is truly unique and sets the standards for others to follow.”