Saturday, January 14, 2012

Olympia Le-Tan: Minaudière Classique

From the brilliant and creative mind of Olympia Le-Tan comes chic clutches and bags disguised as classic novels, such as works by Tennessee Williams and Arthur Miller. There’s even bags in the shape of milk cartons if you’ve never been a great fan of literature and reading. The embroidered clutches and bags are designed by French designer Olympia Le-Tan and are handmade with love care, and maybe even a tiny pinch of pixie dust. I’m dying to get my hands on one for myself, but they carry a lofty price, some hundreds of Euros for a single clutch. While I could never be creative enough to justify such a purchase, it would be lovely to call one of these clutches disguised as a book all my own. With my morals though, I would most likely force myself to know the plot, characters and setting of the book from which my clutch was inspired both thoroughly and inside-out in case I was ever asked on the subject of the bag. I can’t think of anything more embarrassing than someone catching me out on not knowing about a book- especially when I have a product in its image.

One of the few classic books that is owned in my family home but I haven't read, and which has been transformed into clutches is Moby Dick. I love the sort of awkward and stitched look of the title, the curly script as well as the gorgeous felting detail on the great white whale, Moby Dick himself. While a lot of the covers seem to have a simple design, Moby Dick has many sharp rows of neat teeth as well as sky blue water dripping from his nose. This is really when Olympia Le-Tan's craft shines through and she's in her element for design. As usual, the fabric lining of the hard-case clutch matches the exterior book cover perfectly.

“I was thinking there were all these beautiful books and they were being forgotten with everybody on the Internet, so I made it so that you can carry them around,” Olympia explained. Her disguised clutches have proven to be such a revelation she’s made presentations at Paris’ fashion week at Galerie Véro-Dodat.

Don’t be alarmed if you find yourself too busy to read, the clutches are rectangular box in shape and feature hand-knit copies of the covers of classic books, between the covers is only empty space for your credit card, keys and mobile phone.

Other editions not available from the online store include J.D. Salinger’s ‘The Catcher in the Rye’, which I personally disagree with from an ethical stand point but endured from cover to cover as well as the classic book of the monstrous whale, ‘Moby Dick’. I’m sure there’s an even larger assortment waiting at their studio France as well as the stores across the globe which stock them which you can explore here.

Her clutches and bags are as surprising and as lovely as the girl that makes them; Olympia Le-Tan and her family have been described as interesting, creative and with quirk, a statement which I completely agree with. Her own personal style is unique without being outlandish and her meticulous detail and kooky fashion sense translates perfectly when crafting her goods. Olympia and her sister Cleo own a studio at the quiet Japanese corner of the second arrondissment in Paris. The sisters grew up just a few blocks away with their siblings and father, celebrated illustrator Pierre Le-Tan. Perhaps the influence of her father persuaded Olympia to recreate book covers using felt and embroidered stitching to celebrate the artwork and design that may fade with the rising computer age engulfing the world.

On the inside of each clutch comes a fabric lining, some of which come courtesy of British label Liberty, which if I recall correctly designed a Pudsey bear for charity along with other notable brands such as Louis Vuitton and Mulberry, just to name two.

My only lament about Olympia Le-Tan's products and crafted bags is that they sell out so quickly! The price tag I can eventually get my head around if I were to say, sell one of my less important organs perhaps but there's no getting around the fact I can't buy something that isn't available. I should really persist my mother to go to Singapore sometime soon since I'm already writing a lovely list of shops I must visit but first I will need to save more money in the meantime or fine online stores that carry Olympia Le-Tan's great works.

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