Sunday, September 15, 2013

Roots That Clutch

If you keep up with me on Instagram then you know I have been preparing to see the Salinger documentary for some time. I even did my nails for the film! (You can read about that here).

While reading the September issue of Harper's Bazaar I discovered a Salinger accessory I really wanted. I already have all his books, a T-shirt, and an iPhone charger, but seeing Olympia Le Tan's work made me realize what is missing. I love a good book turned clutch (see here) so I was blown away with Le Tan's work.

This fashion designer majored in Italian literature, is the daughter of an illustrator, learned embroidery from her grandmother, and studied fashion alongside Lagerfeld. Pretty amazing right? But the fact that books are her first love and she taps into that for her accessories line is what draws me to her. Natalie Portman and Michelle Williams have worn her clutches, but that's not the appeal to me. I love that each one is handmade, and you can see so in every stitch. I so desperately would love to own one of these but at $1,000 + a pop, I am afraid I will have to wait.

Seeing the documentary and not being able to track down a Le Tan Catcher clutch (not that I could afford it anyway) got me thinking a lot about the man behind the film; the artist behind his/her work. The greatest artists (I feel) are oftentimes those who dedicate so much to their craft that we almost don't notice them. They are the people who fight for their characters in the trenches and would rather make a few items by hand with deep meaning than mass-produce and create something they aren't passionate about. I realize now that  I have perhaps even more respect for both Salinger and Le Tan after learning a bit about these obscure creators. In fact, I feel a tad bad about seeing the Salinger film (he would have hated it). And come to think of it, he wouldn't like the idea that someone wears a shirt with his book on it or carries a clutch that is meant to look like his novel. Because the truth about great art is that once it is released into the world it is carried on by people not close to the artist; it is free to become and be used however a consumer sees fit. And any writer would rather a person carried their actual book around -- I'm sure. So while I cannot yet afford a Le Tan clutch I am determined to wait for a time when I can -- so that I can buy the real thing and support this artist's amazing work.

 But I suppose part of the appeal for both of these artists is that we the public want something we cannot have. Maybe that's to get to know a man who never wanted to be known outside of his work or a handbag that's -- let's face it-- not meant for everyone to own. However, I have to thank this woman for bringing so many of my favorite works to the foreground again. And I have to thank both artists for stirring something in me, long after I have turned the last page or sworn off buying another item --- for making me remember why it is I too remain dedicated to my art.