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July 28 2014

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It’s In The Bag

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Realize it or not, you already know Myriam Schaefer. She’s the invisible hand behind the It bag that started a decade-long frenzy, the Lariat, created alongside Nicolas Ghesquière for Balenciaga in 1998. Since then, Schaefer’s created many others, including a luxe entry forthcoming from Giorgio Armani this fall. Recently, however, she has quietly gone about building her own signature line of bags, which she says was probably inevitable all along. By her own account a “hysterical, compulsive, and obsessive” collector of accessories, including bags, jewelry, shoes, and glasses, the designer started by mining her private stash, which includes a fifties-era Hermès bag. “The essence of French chic lies in great accessories,” she observes. “You can wear jeans, a T-shirt, and sneakers, and then throw on a great bag or jewelry, and you’re done. Overdressing is just suffocating—if I had to be fashionable every day, I’d be dead.” Her solution: a line of bags that are “a little fashionable, and a lot practical,” based on impeccable sourcing (the leather comes from cows who are fed chemical-free grass) and an Italian manufacturer who does things the old-fashioned way. The rest is spare, save for the odd metal closure, a well-placed stripe, an optional shoulder strap, and yellow leather lining inside (a trick borrowed from eighteenth-century purses, to boost visibility). Granted, the result is pricey, around €3,000 a pop, but then again, it’s unlikely they’ll ever go out of style. It’s already tough to get a hold of one—there’s a wait list for her bags at top retailers like Ikram and Jeffreys.

Photo: Courtesy of Myriam Schaefer

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