Wednesday, June 27, 2012

Olympia Le Tan Studio

I kid myself into thinking that my obsession with clutches from the Olympia Le-Tan online store and various other stockists will die out and I'll become disillusioned with such expensive bags, but my curiosities kills me and I once again relapse into this filthy obsession of mine. I'll only rest and stop praising the brand once I get my hands on some all of their pieces and I have my own little museum to pour over at ungodly hours. Until that day however improbable, here's the last big stash of images I hoarded from the Olympia Press Tumblr site in which new releases were shared and some have since sold out in my tardy response to blogging. Of one of the pieces to sell out from the latest wave of releases straight from the OLT online store includes the cute and quirky first aid kit in pure white and contrasting blue. First Aid kit are also a cut, kitsch folk band of all girl members who hail from Sweden. Letting such a gorgeous bag slip through my hands hurt twice as much as any of the others.

Among the new releases were the famed milk bag clutches- white has sold out and my heart has subsequently broken knowing that I won't be able to buy this bag a second time in my life and once again faced with the reality I will never get my hands on it's gorgeous chord strap or felt body. The designs are so modest and vintage, but everything is well made and most bags have an interior material lining from the British label Liberty. They are by no means cheap but worth every cent in terms of original design and continuing the stunning run of Olympia Le-Tan bags and small clothing line.

On the Olympia Press Tumblr blog there are many shots from studio space in France where little book clutches are made and I though it very interesting to see this preliminary stage of book cloth cover with fine embroidered details. The hearts alone are difficult to produce with such uniformity, shape and discipline but the scripted writing would be even more difficult I imagine. I don't necessarily wish that I hadn't given up on garment design during high school, but I wonder if I could ever rise to the occasion of creating such wonderful designs the same way Olympia and clever sister Cleo have done.

It's hard to believe that such a thing as the perfect plaid print has eluded me for all my eighteen years on this Earth, but if ever there was one to uncover the perfect blend of pattern it was Olympia Le-Tan. The 'poor man's roses are a rich man's gold' line of rounded purses were some of my favourites and it's not until later that a rectangular clutch of the same design was made. They're the perfect compliment to a punk inspired outfit when worn with skinny jeans or perhaps loosely cut singlets torn and in the style of English skin heads, but there's also room to wear refined dress and garb with such an accessory. All of these different social classes and types of outfit are so clearly seen in my mind when envisioning how to style this bag- that's the way it should be when coming across something that you know is right for you and your taste in aesthetics.

What I enjoy most about the range of book clutches and everyday objects turned evening bag from the Le-Tans is the range of designs adopted from books of other era as well as countries. Some are classy, others bold, some simple and others intricate. I like the fiery inferno of crashing car but there's such variety and different styles to choose from no wonder these bags are in such high demand and fetch a high price.

I think I've seen about three of four different variations on the Vanity Fair clutch design from French designer Olympia Le-Tan and they have all been bewitchingly beautiful with gorgeous embroidered detail and contrasting colours. I'm too much a practical girl to get caught up in dapper chino and Capri pants, but I do love the fancy scrolling black thread which imitates the old style of wood cut pressings for books. I paid a mere $14 for the complete works of Lewis Carrol and it includes old timey wood cut illustrations too. I can't wait till I crack again and reach for my thick pink covered book full of charming tales and whimsy.

As well as beautiful accessories for the streetwise and savvy bookworms that rarely leave the comfort of their mugs of tea, these books act as a great catalogue of classic novels as well as literary pieces and popular culture mementos of other era. You don't see such meticulous detail in book titles these days and it is a shame that illustrators are more focused on digitally produced images without the art and mastery of a pencil, but these recreations in material might stand the test of time a bit better than their paper counterparts. What's great about these little book bags is that instead of pages you can store your plastic credit cards, smart phone and keys all ready for a night out on the town, all the while looking every bit the sexy and sultry librarian if you dare wear cat eye glasses with your outfit as well.

Some of the newest designs from the Le-Tan studio feature modern day objects of old when whey were still beautiful and made with care; ordinary objects such as petroleum jelly, dental floss, sardine cans and first aid kits. It makes me long for the old timey containers of the depression in which precious goods were protected well in metal tins instead of the cheap plastic my generation has been doomed with. No ordinary tin I've found has been covered in sequins or felt embroidered fish, but those Parisians are mysterious and do so love their luxury in excess.

Despite the title of Beggar's Choice, I assure you none of the clutches or purses from Olympia Le-Tan can be found by any old vagrant or even the craftiest of shopper. The bags are spread far and wide across many online stores and boutiques, but all are quite handsomely made and carry a price tag comparable to a distant star. You can see it well enough but you can't quite fathom just how large it is till you open your sad and scrawny wallet. I do vow to get my hands on an authentic piece from the Olympia Le-Tan and will parade it around like a proud prize trophy and at night, a pelt above my bed like an old English hunter.

In a room with pink pastel walls and glowing with bridled accomplishment stands Olympia Le-Tan and one of her Parisian Caviar clutches in soft peach. While I would love to decorate with such minimalist principles, it's a struggle not to collect and display everything I own in a haphazard manner. The only things that should be empty and clean in this world are lecture theatres, public transport and cinema seats. I'm more accustomed to the clutter and decoration of many dead memos and notes to myself, as well as dust. I'm continually frustrated by the lack of dust in the studios of France, the bedrooms of teenage bloggers in America and the accumulation of many thousands of specks of dust and grime all localised entirely within my room. I would simply adore having my room the pristine work space and place of expression that so many others have honed so seamlessly.

Although it seems impossible that all the books collected in their quaint little studio will be become fulfilled as glorious book clutches, I can't help but want a little more rabbit designs including sweet little Spotty over here. There are many wonderful classic novels brought to life through this new and exciting medium but there would be nothing better than to carry around a book that had a profound effect on you- even if it is a humble children's book. Perhaps it taught you an important life value or in the case of a strange epic novel, revealed to you grappling issues that still touch today's society.

Photo shoots are also shared through the Olympia Le-Tan blog, but I am hanging out to see this brand used in more editorial shoots. The matching of red and white with that lace suit is so chic and feminine; hair tied back in a bun is professional but the colours and textures of the outfit are wild for the office and so much fun. No Vogue fro my own country has included a book minaudière in their shoots but it's only a matter of time before they realise the potential of this quirky accessories.

I was so delighted to see a book I've actually read become one of these stunning accessories in the shelves of their downtown studio; Charlotte's Web by E.B. White has been gloriously transformed and all characters and titles shaped with embroidery thread. I loved embroidery and the gentle addition of small linear segments but I can't even imagine the time invested to sew this entire cover by hand- were I still a young girl in high school studying textiles and art I would channel these designs and fine needlework to create pieces of my own to pass the subject and also follow in the footsteps of this much imitated designer.

I've already expressed interest in stealing away with a sack full of OLT loot slung over my back, but I do so fear the Parisian authorities as well as discouraging the work of such a creative brain. If there's one thing I know, it's when to put the greater good ahead of your own wants and desires. No, the fashion industry instead is fuelled on the praise and continued funding of their brand as well as promotion through media and publication. I can only hope that this humble little blog is enough to motivate designers to keep designing, dreaming and creating their wonderful designs.

Above is the final product of Stendahl's 'On Love' but in cutesy book form as made in felt and thread by clever Olympia Le-Tan and sister Cleo at her side. If I had the money I would buy this in an instant but unfortunately there aren't any stockists I've found to carry this particular clutch. It's just as well I can't find it anywhere in any case I may squander my savings yet again on another elusive treasure I've been longing to buy for a number of months. If I was crafty and had the stationery in my line of artillery, I would whip up a quick poster in black but the last time I brought out a glitter pen in pink I was laughed at.

Animals delight me so much because unlike people you can get away with exaggerating certain features and not disfiguring the subject horribly. They also can't communicate with humans to protest being drawn in such a cartoony fashion. Spanning across children's books to epic novels with language as descriptive and difficult to get your tongue around (i.e. Moby Dick); there is sure to be something for book lovers of all types from the Le-Tan library of quirky bags and clutches. I loved reading as a kid but I've been left behind recently and haven’t been caught up in the world of fiction the way I used to; usually when I get stuck in a rut when writing I read to extend my vocabulary as well as adopt a slightly different writing style.

'Research' into the next muse/ design or book cover to recreate includes pottering about the best second hand shops and sourcing new designs to add to her studio collection. It must be wonderful to combine a literary love with fashion and bring something into a new medium- I already struggle with the concept of things such as Twitter and breaking across all different Internet mediums let along something as ground-breaking as books into modern fashion but I suppose a true visionary sees past such barriers and breaks past them. It seems no cover is too intricate and no font is too small for the Le-Tan's and their designs keep getting better, more refined and accessible to the masses. With stores spread across the globe as well as Internet you'll probably run into one of these book clutches sooner or later.

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