Olympia Le-Tan Looks to Japan

  • A boxy fan purse from the collection.

    A boxy fan purse from the collection.

  • One of Le-Tan's hand-embroidered book clutches, which open on the left, mimicking Japanese books.

    One of Le-Tan's hand-embroidered book clutches, which open on the left, mimicking Japanese books.

  • A bucket bag inspired by Polaroids from artist Nobyushi Araki.

    A bucket bag inspired by Polaroids from artist Nobyushi Araki.

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Fashionistas after an erudite look are oft seen clutching one of Olympia Le-Tan’s cult-collected “book” purses and minaudières, hand-embroidered with classic covers like The Great Gatsby. But when the Parisian designer heard that her beloved Hotel Okura in Tokyo was being closed for demolition, she mourned the loss in Sentimental Journey, her latest collection and ode to Japan. Among the new stitches are Akutagawa’s Rashomon and Kawabata’s Thousand Cranes, along with Hello Kitty paraphernalia and Polaroids from artist Nobyushi Araki that nod to Le-Tan’s appreciation for kinbaku, or Japanese bondage ( from US$940). —Gabrielle Lipton

This article originally appeared in the December/January print issue of DestinAsian magazine (“By the Book”)

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