Wednesday, April 4, 2012

New Olympia Le Tan 2012

After much waiting, humming and haring and since the busy Christmas season, I've been clamouring to get my hands on the latest collection from Olympia Le-Tan- unfortunately that would require the saving of some hundreds of dollars all to get my hands on smart clutches with French seams, made by hand in the image of books. While I haven't been able to do that, that doesn't mean I can enjoy all the new colours and fonts Olympia has created with the help of sister Cleo from their small studio in downtown Paris. With the end of another season of work on my hands and little money saved for the maturing of my term deposit, I could certainly do with a drink myself; were it not for the fact that that too would incur a monetary fee.

For a single title within this new collection there may be one or two different covers but the unifying factor amongst all the minaudière is the sweet contrasting fabric linings from Liberty, a London label, on the inside. While I do like the triangle and circle motif of the second design, my favourite amongst the Alcoholics Anonymous title is the first with it's large scrolling pink font and the use of a beer bottle overshadowing a person's escape. There's really strong metaphoric implications to the Le-Tan designs that I treasure and the shade of hot pink used in the first image featured heavily in this Pre-Fall 2012 collection.

It's curious that a designer recycle titles and designs in such a way but it really does show how clever Olympia Le-Tan is to incorporate the titles of great books and classic novels long since past and make people enjoy and think about literature again without the presence of some sort of technological app or Kindle e-reader. Some designs can have such detail and are like tapestry work or tableaus reworked in embroidered needle and others can be so simple such as this copy of 'The Bell Jar' by Sylvia Plath. The only work I am familiar with of Plath's is the bee box- something written before her suicide; I loved the poem for its strength and emotive language and some of the dark metaphors used for the simple insects.

From the host of images on the Olympia Le-Tan website there seems to be a heavy use of felt in blue and yellow all of the same shades- while previous designs in all their glory had also been added for collectors to pour their eyes over I feel a little let down with the lack of colour amongst this particular colour. Of course I have been in an eclectic mood as of late and going through a range of emotions and experiences; perhaps it's just my inner reflection that feels the need to have variety in colours and designs in collections too. However, the simple font and felt work of 'Despair' really does emphasise the use of brass fixtures and fittings to the side of each and everyone of the book clutches produced. They may cost a pretty penny but there really is no expense spared in the materials and design of these lovely clutches.

While this  reworked book cover in minaudière form of 'The Complete Poems of Emily Dickinson' seems plain at a first glance, Olympia Le-Tan never fails to satisfy when it comes to pairing wonderful and intricate designs and front covers with gorgeous patterned linings in a variety of rich colours. It must be my associations with the yellow leaves, which seem to resemble wheat to me, bringing back stories of farmer George and common folk. I'm sure that poetry of any notoriety is far from common and I hope I find a little more time to myself to read some of these books during my semester break from university. The wonderful thing about the Le-Tan sisters using old novels as inspiration for their line of accessories is that they have a wealth of designs and ideas at their fingertips and are also increasing the general public awareness of books and stealing the spotlight from e-readers such as the Amazon Kindle. There's something so good and wholesome about feeling worn and yellow pages in one's hand and feeling words some alive- not that there's anything wrong with online publications and websites...

Pallets within the cyan, yellow and magenta scheme seem quite prominent within this new lot of minaudières and I can't really say that I feel as inspired by them compared to other designs that Olympia and her sister Cleo have put out. The shades have this sickly sweet appeal and remind me a little too much of painting nurseries- I'm more happy to see the dark and brooding nature of substance abuse and feel the need and urge to become darker myself rather than a book titled 'Doctor Happy'. I can only hope that the true copy has a little more texture behind it and there are dark secrets contained in the original. To coordinate such an oddly coloured thing would be a steady challenge I'm sure a true fashion blogger could only be more than happy to rise to.

While I did feel quite content throughout high school to learn an Asian language, I do wish I was able to speak French now since the Le-Tans frequently model some of their clutches on French novels. Their studio is located in a Parisian lane way, so it's only fitting they bring some multi-cultural splendour to the rest of us. If only I could be bothered to read any books at all and further my vocabulary- alas, I've been busy reading biology peer-reviewed articles for my latest essay venture. Somehow, institutions such as school and universities suck all the fun out of books and find extraordinary means of making them boring again. It's a good thing clever French designers are more than happy to breath new life into the pages of books through the use of felt, embroidered thread and amazing techniques.

Of course it seems common place for any medical book or that of First Aid to include a red Swedish cross- and for the simplicity I think this little clutch in felt really hits the spot. This intermediate shade of red/pink felt featured quite heavily in this new collection, something that immediately captured my imagination. On another note, First Aid Kit are a sweet Swedish band that I fell in love with yesterday, discovering I had a podcast of on of their songs and realising that Urban Outfitters are currently selling the LP vinyl release of theirs'. The punchline is that I now know of two first aid kits that make me feel better in times of trouble and when I'm feeling blue.

Of all the wonderful traits of the Le-Tan minaudière range and small little bags is the precision  of which she uses felt and stitched detail to create such images in a fine illustrative manner. I myself find attention to detail very promising and intriguing and am vaguely familiar with the techniques that would be involved in creating such pieces. As a perfectionist there's also the strong identification with the perfection and high quality of this pieces. Olympia and Cleo have really given birth to a fantastic label and live the life I never had the capacity to imagine.

For the minimalist in all of us I recommend the simple titles in a bold colour with neutral background and sweet embroidered motifs- it makes the whole design and extraordinary box shaped nature of the clutch scream out for attention. Although I am much more keen to get my filthy mitts on the most extraordinary and unique designs the Olympia Le-Tan range has to offer, I still enjoy the simple pleasures of admiring these titled covers. 

It's the fine details of a blackened outline to create shadow on the title that captures my imagination, as if the motifs of stethoscope and ancient glass bottles weren't enough to make you swoon. If only I had managed to live by the title and ethics of this book, I could practice Medicine and exploit the Masses in order to earn buckets full of money and therefore afford such wonderful book clutches. I was approached just yesterday by someone hoping to sell my home-made clutches in the mode of books but I am a fashion label snob if there ever was one. I wouldn't feel content buying fake Yves Saint Laurent Arty rings so I bought two real ones, Cambridge Satchels in vibrant and bright colours are next in my sights and I'm keen to get my hands on a wristlet failing a minaudière from Olympia Le-Tan. It takes a lot of money for someone to have such brilliant taste in fashion...

For someone who got their start in their early twenties at Chanel, I have to say, Olympia must be into some very wordy books. There's many old collections featuring heavily in the field of medicine and biological advancement from past centuries and the kitsch colour combinations, as seen here on 'The Doors of Perception' has such a strong 1960s atmosphere to it. The sharp elipsal shapes make an interesting contrast to the shades of pink, mustard yellow and pea green.

The 'Sense and Nonsense in Psychology' clutch may just be my ticket into tricking the world into thinking I'm Greek- that bold and confrontational eye which seems to peer into the very depths of your soul... The thought to buy some evil eye jewellery has been playing on my absent mind for a number of yeas but I don't imagine I'd wear it as often as I would intend to. Perhaps carrying some medial and scientific material with me in the form of a slick evening bag would also elevate my social climbing standard and make me just that more of a pretentious socialite (something I am oddly aspiring to at the moment).

The most fantastic Italian spiderweb earrings in gold would feature so well with this clutch- since my neck of the woods is in for three Friday 13ths and Halloween I suppose I should put together an outfit in advance. Given an ideal sum of money to create the fanciful outfit I'd splash out on this minaudière from Olympia Le-Tan, get the earrings and a large and matted fur coat to attach fake spiders to. I strongly believe in working to a theme when my mind is up to the challenge and I'm sure for a wonderful outfit post I'd be willing to temporarily overcome my arachnophobia. If not, I can muster some fake spiders from pipe cleaners for the purpose.

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