There's got to be a whole lot of irony in Olympia Le-Tan tackling "Power, Corruption and Lies" in her A/W 12-3 collection of bijoux book clutches. At the presentation, we were led through the sumptuous rooms of Mus√©e Nissim de Camondo, admiring the clutches elegantly dotted around, with full knowledge that they will eventually retail at prices upwards of four figures. With titles such as Charles Dickens' Christmas Carol and William Makepeace Thackeray's Vanity Fair as well as a few embroidered caviar tins and fake OLT currency thrown in for good measure, Le-Tan is attempting to address the oh-so-relevant subject of class and economic inequality.
Perhaps Le-Tan is embracing the economic prohibitive qualities of her work with this theme. You can't afford this beautiful book clutch but you'll bend your way through a myriad of financing means to get it anyway or you'll spend your life despising the minority who can afford it. That could be a theory that's a shade of depth too far. Regardless of ideological contradiction, the crux of seeing this collection is that I still find myself craving one of her pieces, especially as she has embroidered some choice titles that are right up my literary street* – Fitzgerald, D.H. Lawrence and Larkin. And so the system wins again. I leave myself open to the capitalist slaughter house.
When the presentation finished up in the kitchen, the tone lightened up considerably from pondering Le-Tan's message about power and corruption. A gang of Bettie Page look-a-likes danced their way in, wearing Le Tan's ready to wear line and proceeded to do a little bit of a strip tease. This part was easier to analyse, as these heavy-fringed babes in their bookish plaids, innocent princess coats and Clever Girl tees took to playfully stripping down to their black underwear. You can be smart, coquettish, conservative, playful and sexy all at once. When Le-Tan came out to take her bow, it was clear that the clothes were a close manifestation of her own personal style. For Le-Tan's first foray into ready to wear though, projecting personal wants and desires on to the designs seems like a smart thing to do and thankfully, she hasn't gone overboard with the retro gazing, despite the uncanny resemblance of her Betties.
*Once again, I have to reiterate that buying and carrying one of these book clutches without having read the book seems wholly foolish. I don't advise it one bit and plan on pedantically interrogating OLT customers just to double check. Be warned.