27 posts tagged "Olympia Le Tan"
For her latest collection, Olympia Le-Tan checked herself into Paris’ Museum of the History of Medicine, a nineteenth-century gem tucked upstairs at the Descartes Medical School in Saint-Germain, the site of her presentation Thursday night. It was a telling venue. “People around me were taking strange medications and I sensed a disease vibe in the air,” Le-Tan said. So she and her team set to work assembling first-aid-kit carrying cases, and copying classic-edition covers of psychology tomes and the great novels of madness, drugs, and disease, including Wuthering Heights, Mrs. Dalloway, Valley of the Dolls, and Erich Segal’s tearjerker, Love Story. She called the collection Still Ill, after a song by her beloved Smiths. But if she lamented the persistence of sickness, she offered a few palliatives, too. There were pillbox clutches of “Brozac” (“Which will help your friends put up with you,” she wrote in a collection statement) and “Wiagra” (you can imagine), as well as for Olympia-brand petroleum jelly. And she couldn’t resist styling a few syringe hair clips and nurse uniforms her first foray into clothing. (Her sister, Cleo Le-Tan, modeled one.) These were tucked in between the antique scalpels and other strange tools of medicine’s past in the museum’s display cases as André Saraiva, Olivier Zahm, Garance Doré, and Catherine Baba nibbled Red Cross cupcakes and took each other’s temperatures.
Summer reading? Fashion folks aren’t necessarily known for their book smarts (you’re more likely to catch them cracking the latest issue of i-D than Finnegans Wake), but they sure know how to fake it in style. Olympia Le-Tan’s whimsical clutches, which are made to look like famous novels such as Moby-Dick and Lolita, have been a smash success both on the red carpet and in the streets. The Kate Spade label picked up on the bags’ popularity and created its own editions. And at Zero + Maria Cornejo, the designer put her spin on the trend by printing library shelves on a draped silk dress. There are, of course, a few rogue intellectuals in the bunch. Top model Frida Gustavsson can often be found backstage thumbing through a highbrow paperback. Daphne Guinness, naturally, was toting Harold Bloom’s The Anxiety of Influence at the Couture shows. And while vacationing in Mexico recently, Naomi Campbell got her Kabbalah fix by skimming the Zohar—even if it was upside-down.
CLICK FOR A SLIDESHOW, and let us know if you plan on joining the book club this summer.
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.