|Swatches of fabrics and colors help designers decide on how begin making a building-styled handbag. (China Daily)|
Designer Francoise Dechery says she loves bags. She puts everything in her bag, keys, mobile phones and coins . "As I say, I bring my house with me." However, she really is carrying a house - a bag inspired by a house. This is the latest trend: architecture-inspired handbags.
When a fashionable woman strides into the street of big cities in China, it's becoming quite likely that her bag is a small tower, an opera house or a modern office building.
Dechery, the designer behind French luxury leatherwear Camille Fournet, came to Beijing for the opening ceremony of the label's first new boutique in town.
Jean-Luc Dechery, who is CEO of the label and her husband, says he would always like to start a conversation about the architecture in Paris.
"We have buildings built in the 19th century. They're rectangular, built with white and yellow stone. So this is the shape of the straight line and rectangular," he says about his wife's inspirations.
"(We also) have some female elements, triangle or trapezoid, like a tower, like the famous pyramid in the Louvre, (created by) the Chinese-born architect, (Ieoh) Ming Pei. They are such famous monuments in this shape, this line."
The Callisto handbag is the star of the label. It has a very special trapezoid shape, which will easily remind its toters of the modern buildings in metropolises. It also combines different materials, including skins from alligator, python and ostrich.
Francoise Dechery has a passion for interior design. As it is a job that requires her to deal with various materials, she now can be very open-minded in selecting various materials for a bag - for example, paper, china or even stones.
These architectural bags always combine beauty and function. The first good thing about them is they are very roomy.
"The inside is very important, because it is the way you feel, the way you need to carry your papers, your valuables, your books, pens and everything. It's very important that you can find everything in your bag. It's very feminine of course," she says.
The trend is not defined by this label. Longchamp's latest collection is named Less is More, and the label emphasizes that some of the must-buy items have been inspired by works from Ludwig Mies van der Rohe, a German-American architect.
Van der Rohe is known for designs with a minimal framework. He called this style "skin and bones" architecture. That's the idea behind Longchamp's tote Balzane - clean lines and a graphic shape.
Longchamp's star bag, the Gatsby, has a new version: the Gatsby Sport, which becomes looser and roomier. It also takes bright and vibrant colors from the architect's creations, including bright yellow and crystal blue.
Fendi's totes, handbags and purses are also very architectural. The designer Karl Lagerfeld adopted techniques used in wall paintings from the Sistine Chapel, giving his bags a new artistic touch.
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