The German label TSATSAS, newly established by Esther Schulze-Tsatsas and Dimitrios Tsatsas, produce elegant, contemporary and luxurious bag designs. TSATSAS bags are handcrafted in Germany, and created through a combination of materials including Calfskin leather and Lamb Nappa leather for the lining. Understated and practical, the TSASTAS collection includes Xela, a simple and striking take on the sports sack that includes multiple straps as a subtle design detail. Lucid, a well structured and elegant tote, and Niche, a small zipped tote with a handle/strap combination, all of which ultimately embody a sophistication and skill that can only serve to make each item improve with time. TSATSAS have achieved a perfect balance between function, aesthetics and execution. Stunning collection.
There isn’t anything quite like the pleasure of beholding the careful and considered crafting of a beautiful, solid object, and that is exactly the sensation brought by watching this video for the construction process of London-based luxury accessories brand Oliver Ruuger‘s umbrellas. The incredibly sleek and elegant line of umbrellas was comissioned by LN-CC, a progressive retail concept comprising of clothing, music & books. After honing his craft producing exclusively made-to-order pieces, this is the first retail collection from Oliver Ruuger. The collection launches with four distinct umbrellas, in a custom range of materials. The umbrella is such a traditional, everyday object that it has almost been forgotten in design, but this brand reintroduces the familiar item as something luxurious and indulgent, with an according price range.
I was quite taken by the Jil Sander Fall/Winter 2013 collection presented at Milan in February, earlier this year. From the space in which the collection was presented, which featured a metallic polyhedron at its centre that danced light spectacularly onto the models, through to the idiosyncratic styling (simple makeup, slick-back hair) and the garments themselves, which were bold and yet reserved, odd for the subtle and not-so-subtle flamboyancies (such as the inclusion of actual gold woven into some of the clothes and the calf-leather dress and coats) and pleasant for their selection of colours ranging from moodier tones of plum, burgundy and navy through to almost-sky blues, slightly pale yellow and splashes of apricot. The architecture of the clothes in this collection interested me; they are at once derivative of what has come before at the house of Jil Sander, and yet slightly edgier, more refined and sharper. Whilst this collection didn’t blow me away in the way Raf Simons’ work for the label often used to, it was refreshing to see this collection amongst all the others this season for its diligence in restraint, sophistication and minimalism. For this, Sander has my respect.
Mum & Co is a small family run fashion brand, designing exquisite and heartwarming handmade leather goods. Recently established, Mum & Co produce a range of minimalist backpacks and cases, each using natural leather, for that touchy-feely vibe, which suits this brand so very well. The shapes, colours, textures and detail of each of piece are simply wonderful. For instance, Backpack I is similar to those once used by London couriers. Fastened on with an adjustable-length vintage leather strap, it also has an outer pocket for keys and various other accessories. Adjustable straps allow for a precise fit and measures 270 x 430 x 120 mm. This one, I would love for myself. Backpack II in natural and black exudes elegance. It is designed to replace the classic handbag for something more comfortable, regardless of what you may be wearing. The interior also has a soft cotton lining, magnetic buckles and measures 290 x 400 x 60 mm. I have no doubt this brand will go from strength to strength, and I’ll be keeping an eye on any new designs.
Jonny Lu, a London based designer specialising in print and interactive design as well as art direction, is behind this beautiful packaging for Victoria Beckham’s newly launched online shop. It features her Ready To Wear line, which itself includes a number of minimalist pieces. Produced by Progress, the packaging features three piece shoulder boxes with flush lids, which are made from a high gloss white base and inner, with a contrasting raw kraft paper sheet lid. The branding is a gloss white foil block with a universal size over the range. This package design certainly has an understated elegance to it and perhaps a surprising colour choice, but I personally think it works very well.
Cuoiela is a Kickstarter project currently run by Virginia based studio Nolla design. This minimalist and elegant cash and credit card holder is envisioned as a cure for bulky traditional overly stitched wallets. Cuoiela is completely smooth, not a thread in sight, and it holds your possessions discretely. During my design research, I found that many card wallets are simply about function but if you think about it, a wallet is something that we carry around every day and show off to the world. Thus, I was motivated to design the Cuoiela, the wallet that is not only slim and convenient, but also feels stylish and precious to the owner. The Cuoiela wallet is made from high quality Italian leather and elastic fabric band. The elastic band holds 2-8 cards, and the front leather slot provides space for extra cash.
Bound by a common commitment for a unique but simple style, Barena has developed a bold and wonderfully rich, yet beautifully pared down Spring/Summer line. The firm dates back to 1961, when it was founded from a passion for researching culture, tradition and the world of textiles of the enchanting Venetian lagoon area in Italy. The collection is in fact inspired by the peculiar dress code created and used by the folk who lived in those areas in ancient times, who traditionally wore clothing that was versatile and functional, for they were hunters, fishermen and farmers. Many of the garments in the collection are the reinterpretation of unique pieces found in museums, antique markets or books that portray old images. I love the essence of history, passion and craft that infuse the very brand and all of their attention to detail, construction, and the will to preserve a rich local textile culture. Photography by Tony Piarotto.
Australian designer Dion Lee’s 2013 Ready to Wear Fall collection is, in a word, beautiful. As an emerging talent, launched recently into the design scene, first in Australia, and now capturing fans globally, his work is modern verses classic, structured verses fluid, understated verses arresting. His most recent contribution to the world of adornment is his 2013 Ready To Wear Fall 2013 collection, which is a fusion of the evolution of him as designer thus far. Typically known for his feature of neoprene shapes, 3-dimensional printing, recently launching a line with glow-in-the-dark string dresses, this collection is said to have been not as flashy as the last one. However, I see the further experimentation, with the technique of felting wool into mesh, as a continuation of his aesthetic journey. I see the restraint as a obvious development also. He gave a bit of unexpected lift to certain silhouettes. Lee is a rigorous thinker. I am unashamedly in lust with Dion Lee’s work, and rightfully proud of his Australian roots also. Images Courtesy of Style.com
Young Frankk is a jewelry line launched in 2011 by Virginia-based US artist turned jewelry designer, Christine Young, drawing inspiration from simple and minimal designs, yet infused with bold graphic, geometric, and even organic shapes. As a graduate of Parsons School of Design for Illustration, she incorporates her drawing experience into her designs by translating line work onto metal. Every piece is made by hand by the designer, creating one-of-a-kind and unique pieces. I’ve always enjoyed the simplicity, minimalism and geometric quality of Young Frankk’s lookbooks. Every piece has a boldness and completeness to it, like a story being told with each one.
There have been many exercises in paring down the wallet to the ultimate minimalistic design, but I believe London-based Taiwanese designer Chieh Ting Huang has arrived at that ideal quite successfully. Nothing Fancy is a collection of non-stitched minimalist solutions for the wallet, re-imagined for the contemporary lifestyle. Using only a foldable leather hide template and rubber bands and eliminating everything else (stitches, snaps, zippers, etc.), Chieh delivers a wallet, a coin case, an iPhone holder and a passport holder within the same principles. The result is a well thought, beautifully executed and impeccably styled range of products that has left the design blogosphere wishing for one of their own. My personal favorite is the passport holder and I’m especially in love with the customized rubber bands!
Until this week, I had missed Dana Thomas’ profile for the Wall Street Journal on Jil Sander and her return to her eponymous label (written last November). Thomas’ piece helped me understand that Jil Sander’s latest three collections (Spring 2013 Menswear, Spring 2013 Womenswear and now Fall 2013 Menswear) are attempts at steering the brand back towards its roots. (According to its website, Jil Sander is a “high-end luxury brand epitome of modernity and sophistication”.) It is clear (now with hindsight) that her brand had been derailed since selling it to the Prada Group, and its subsequent acquisitions by private investors. I find it a shame no-one found a way to capitalise off the success of creative director Raf Simons, who at least brought the brand back into the public consciousness (and relevance) while he worked at the brand between 2005-2012, but at least he now has a home (and business model) that recognises his talent. My first impressions of this collection (and the previous two) were of disinterest and boredom, but what quickly followed upon closer inspection and repeated viewing was a growing respect for their silence and craftsmanship. Furthermore, it is something like this collection that I could actually picture...
I’d like to momentarily look back to this 2012 ad campaign for Calvin Klein’s ck Watch + Jewelry brand. Calvin Klein and its segments are famously minimalist brands, and this campaign featuring long-time collaborator Lara Stone and Sean O’Pry doesn’t disappoint. The images with Ms. Stone have been popping around the city of Barcelona this year and I was struck once again by the simplicity and flawless execution of the styling and make-up as well as the products themselves. The color palette of the featured image, for instance, is very striking in its pared down subtlety. As a woman interested in make-up myself, I find the nude, “no make-up make-up” approach very appealing. The campaign was produced under the creative direction of CRK, Calvin Klein, Inc.’s in-house advertising agency, working with French consulting creative director Fabien Baron and French photographer Patrick Demarchelier.