In the Bag
Working women need bags that work
Cardinale Montano of West Stockbridge is not technically a Berkshire native—she moved to the area in 1987. Yet everyone knows her (and her sister, Berkshire Pulse founder Bettina Montano) thanks to her familiar presence at Baba Louie’s in Great Barrington, where she has been a longtime manager, server, and self-proclaimed “house mom” for nearly 20 years. But Montano is reinventing, or perhaps finally discovering, her identity as a maker of things, specifically of bags. To that end, she designs and manufactures functional, structured totes, handbags, and clutches. For Montano, Lineflax & Roving—the name is a loose reference to the quality and creation of linen—is equal parts calling and business.
“I made a workbag for a good friend of mine, Kate Hickson, for her birthday. She loved it,” says Montano. “At the time, she had an empty studio space in GB, so she let me use it to just create.”
The bags, which have clever names like Sass, Etc., Boat (the mother of all totes), Dash, and Play, to name a few, are made of incredibly sturdy, GREENGUARD-certified vinyl and other domestically manufactured materials, including zippers that are “made by the oldest zipper manufacturer in the U.S.,” says Montano.
“For me, so much of it is about functionality. We live a working life around here,” says Montano. “I’ve lugged paint cans and firewood. They’re tough!”
Tough but also good looking. The signature burnt-orange “salsa” of Montano’s original design is joined by a deep indigo, charcoal, platinum, and oatmeal (a vibrant shade of white). They are available online (lineflaxandroving.com) and also make seasonal appearances at local retailers, including One Mercantile; HeyDay, Inc.; MASS MoCA; Michele’s Salon+Day Spa; and Hudson Clothier. Montano is laying tracks, too, for larger orders from the city, and has already reached out to some former employees of Country Curtains to help fill those orders when the time comes.