I've been vaguely aware of designer Olympia Le Tan for a few years now (I remember Natalie Portman and Michelle Williams carrying her book clutches on the red carpet), but this post about literary style on Looks & Books had me scrambling to find more images of her work. It's not just that her bags are charming; each one is painstakingly made by hand and requires two to three days of dedicated embroidery work.
I'll admit, I do find a certain discomfort with the idea of book-as-fashion-accessory. These bags are the very expression of the idea of judging a book by its cover. When you separate a book's title and cover from the ideas inside, what are you left with? … But these are awfully fun to look at.
A much more affordable thing to carry is one of the many books with fiber art–inspired covers. The Penguin Threads series, which features the embroidery of artists Jillian Tamaki and Rachell Sumpter, might owe a debt to Le Tan, as does the vibrant string-art cover of The Color Master, Aimee Bender's most recent collection of short stories.
|Made by Dominique Falla and art directed by Emily Mahon|
If you could commission a book clutch from Olympia Le Tan, what cover would you choose? I'd love to see her interpretation of a cover for Daphne Du Maurier's Rebecca, or recreate the original cover of A Wrinkle in Time. Imagine how beautiful those concentric circles would be:
|Artwork for the first edition of A Wrinkle in Time (1962), published by Farrar Straus & Giroux; cover design by Ellen Raskin.|