Sunday, January 15, 2012

Studio of Olympia and Cleo Le-Tan

I've already written about all of the products available in the Olympia Le-Tan online store and with no updates and news of new products I have to find other ways to learn about the upcoming book covers that are yet to be made into clutches or any stores I may not have discovered which stock her wares. It's a bit of a difficult task but I think I'm up for the job- my mother is hampering my efforts with her insistent squawking. At the moment my room is half studio space with large and clean wooden floors and then everything else is piled high against the walls from trying to create a little space. At the moment I need to sort through everything a bit better and by looking at a proper studio where gorgeous things are made I may get into cleaning my room and tidying it a little.

I don't have a sewing machine at my disposal and can barely put together a sewing pattern competently but if I did have both those at my disposal you can believe I would splash out on buying various shades and colours of felt as well as other craft supplies. If I had half a decent brain cell in my head I would have enlisted my name in a knitting group or something and gotten into a more crafty mood but why do that when I know where to buy the best and most expensive creative arts and crafts fashion items?

You don't need to be such a great whizz with material or felt to create your own fabric Polaroid. I love the idea, I wish I had thought of doing it myself sooner- knowing me I would obsess over the most stupid details and the size of the Polaroid sheet and the stitching. It's cute how a book has been included within the image as well as a cat girl, that stitching would be the most difficult to execute well but I really would love to try and make things like this. A sewing machine would come in handy and if I were to buy one I would like it to be of the higher quality. The good thing about these is you just need two sheets of white felt and to sew them together as well as a floral background and you're stitching character goes in over the top. I should borrow some books on calligraphy from the library and try to stitch a few practice names before launching in and trying a Polaroid mock label myself.

I wish I had a bookcase full of chic minaudières from Olympia Le-Tan to display on my bookcase. Throughout the studio space in Paris there are globes of all shapes and sizes but some of their larger ones are on this book case as well as the the recreated book covers disguised as clutches. There's a great variety of book clutches in this one photograph showcasing the extreme detail and craftsmanship as well as the more simple book covers that have been made. I wish there was an archive somewhere, I desperately need to see every book cover ever recreated in material and felt by Olympia and her talented sister Cleo Le-Tan.

I think it's cute that their time and material isn't devoted exclusively to producing bags and clutches- there's also this quite wall of runway photographs of mice in clothes, mock Polaroids and even a newspaper! I really want to try it all and make tiny felt accessories myself. I have discussed previously that while I may not be able to afford buying all the pretty things my heart desires, maybe I could make them in craft form. One blogger made little Prada handbags out of paper but I'm digging the felt and material scene. It would be nice to have canvas boards covered in material as well as cheeky Polaroids of animals wearing clothes I want to buy and then moving them around on checklists. 

This hand made and heavily embroidered pencil case bought from Korea could well have been made by one of the sisters, Cleo or Olympia Le-Tan in their studio. My hand aches a bit just thinking about the amount of thread as well as the detail to stitch everything smoothly. While I did enjoy my own brief stint of embroidery in high school I never played around with different stitches and patterns and indulging in something like that would be a very difficult way to begin. I would first need to sketch out my own scene first or find a suitable photograph to recreate in thread. It is tempting though since I have a ridiculous amount of time on my hands at the moment and not everything has to be super accurate. Just like at the pink deer in this scene, my neighbour Tototoro is  a nice touch to all the animals in this scene though.

The floral squares of material they use as backgrounds and as linings for minaudières is of the best quality patterns you can possibly get- their from the British label Liberty which adds to the price of their clutches and bags but I love the patterns and prints. To add more dizzying charm they add little pink ribboning scripts and a cat sporting a sassy pose and sunglasses? Oh Olympia, you make such fools of us all. I love the black stiletto heels and the red underside on the far left, there's an incredible amount of detail that does into creating such meticulous and small details.

I can relate to the stack of magazines piled high on the left side of this desk- my small bookcase is crammed full of Vogue copies after

There are so many small bits and pieces floating about their studio I wonder when it all starts or what happens within a day in their studio space. We can see a felt Union Jack flag in the corner next to some detached female heads complete with lipstick as well as thick eyelashes and a range of expressions. There's also a book clutch featuring title made of tiny matches and match heads and a tiny matchbook all on black background. I'd love to pilfer her desk for arty crafts and bits of odd ends.

The foreground shows the cover made in material and felt of 'War of the Worlds', I love the black shading on the ground as well as the haze of the sky made in black stitching, the border around the name of the author and the thorough meticulous detail of the title and the alien space ship in the middle. I'd really love to get my grubby little mitts on that title within the Olympia Le-Tan library but I'm afraid to ask about buying it without being able to afford it just yet. In the background are a series of cards received by Cleo and Olympia including a birthday card from their father, celebrated illustrator Pierre Le-Tan.

On the far end on the other side of the desk you'll see more cards stacked up towards the wall as well as another old globe and the cover art of J.D. Salinger's, 'The Catcher in the Rye' and a cute floral headband worn by Olympia in one of the earlier photographs. 'The Catcher in the Rye' is one of the few classic books that I've read that have made it into the Le-Tan library of minaudières, but I can't say I enjoyed reading it. I just didn't like Holden Caulfield very much and hoped that if I continue to read the book that something bad would happen to him or he'd become a nicer person. Neither happened and I was all the more disappointed for it.

This is the most attractive of the Olympia Le-Tan minaudière that I can find online and I love it even more for the letters in all fonts, colours and sizes mashed together as well as the bright red cover. Red was my favourite childhood colour so it seems fitting to try to buy such an expensive item in something that has such a strong nostalgic effect for me. That is, if I ever mysteriously acquired an extra thousand dollars and didn't mind shelling it out over a simple clutch. Oh well, you only live once!

Among the books, memorabilia, bits and pieces as well as kooky collectables in the Le-Tan studio is a signed copy ofthe popular Children's book, 'Where the Wild Things Are.' Now that's a book cover I would love to see made by Cleo and Olympia and since they always do things with such care and craft you can be sure it would be worth the dollars spent to buy a copy. Unfortunately it seems that only classic novels with a rich history and popularity have gotten a look in so far and no Harry Potter covers have been worthy of being crafted yet either.

They may look a little rough now, but the stitched detail of 'Out of the Silent Planet' by C.S. Lewis looks amazing- I can only imagine the great number of half finished covers that lie in wait at the studio of Cleo and Olympia in Paris and the wonderful minaudières they will one day become. Of course pouring my eyes over all of these images is only feeding my addiction of their bags and clutches in their book cover cloths. I just wish their online store was jam-packed of all the wonderful items they have to sell and they weren't all over the place.

As I said before, books aren't the only thing lurking about in their studio. Shown above is proud Olympia holding up a sweater from her youth her mother made for her, it's like a jumper Molly Weasley of the Harry Potter books would know but only cooler by the eclectic name stitched in white on it. It's the same shade of cheery red of the woman who holds it in red nail polish and sporting red and pursed lips. I wish I could knit to make cute little jumpers that are nerdy just like this one but somehow I can't really quite get the hang of knitting.

While all of this has been very inspiring to see, I can't think where to start in terms of doing some DIY stuff myself. I suppose I'm looking for a distraction, I have the very bitter taste of defeat and false promises in my moth and I want to wash it away with lots of pin pricked fingers. Finding a vintage denim jacket wouldn't be so hard, but maybe drawing my own scripted ribbon to put my name on in red or the name of my blog on would be a little more difficult considering my hand-writing looks like rubbish today.

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