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April 19 2014

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An Assortment Of Books You Can Judge By Their Covers

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Just how does a girl secure the services of one of the hottest filmmakers on the planet? “Well, I was a bit cheeky,” admits Olympia Le-Tan. “I met Spike Jonze two summers ago through friends when I first started making my bags. When he called and asked if he could order some, I said yes—if he’d do a film for me.” It took the busy Jonze a few years to keep his promise, but the short, which features a skeleton with a knife stuck through its ribs and a sultry creature (who bears a more-than-passing resemblance to Le-Tan) cavorting in and out of the pages of her embroidered book bags, screened last night at her Fall presentation.

Given her literary aesthetic, what better venue could Le-Tan have chosen than Paris’ legendary Shakespeare & Company bookstore? Pals like Sarah Lerfel, Olivier Zahm, Vincent Darré, and John C. Reilly (in town shooting Roman Polanski’s Carnage with Kate Winslet and Jodie Foster) crowded into Shakespeare’s twisting aisles to inspect the designer’s faux books (and a few of the shop’s real ones, no doubt). This season’s collection, Housewives’ Choice, was inspired by midcentury ladies’ reading materials: not only classic novels about women, like Anna Karenina and Madame Bovary, but cookbooks, romance novels, and milk cartons, too.

” ‘Housewives’ Choice’ was a BBC radio program in the fifties,” Le-Tan explained, “and it’s also one of my favorite reggae songs, so there’s a double meaning.” A little old, a little new—much like the collection itself. “It’s a mix between the fifties housewife and the modern-day woman,” she went on. “I don’t have a husband and I’m working, but I am nostalgic about the days when women used to make a real effort to look nice and take care of their husbands, their house, and the kitchen.” She looked nice in a printed hourglass dress, and to underline the point, wore a crisp white apron tied around her waist.

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