Book on Your Bag

It’s like wearing your heart on your sleeve.


Olympia Le Tan clutches available at Luisa Via Roma and Net-a-Porter.

Man Repeller officially feels like an extensive catalog of product reviews choc full of inconsequential stories about cats biting through flesh and, this just in: book bags, literally. My birthday was last week and as such, I received a box tied with a fancy satin ribbon from a fancy (per)man (friend.) Contents included the book bag in question. I wasn’t particularly surprised (and will admit there were blatant ulterior motives behind my crafting a very timely “holiday gift guide” strategically published just eight days before I would turn 24.) That wouldn’t deduct from my enthusiasm over the prospect of cost-free ownership though. As a long time lurker, first time proprietor, how could it?

Our first meeting was very brief. I was walking through my friend’s shiny new store when I saw a collection of needlepoint books propped up on a shelf amid a flurry of golden baubles. How ironically timeless and novel, I thought–a needlepoint book cover! On a separate occasion weeks later, when the friend in question pulled out from her needlepoint book cover a lipstick, I learned it was actually a functional clutch, by Olympia Le Tan, and that’s when I got excited.

“Excitement” is underwhelming by the standards of our vernaculars, and the maniacal pace at which we defile the word considering the vast, whole and eager enthusiasm that its meant to suggest, is a shame. Sure, there’s elation, there’s ecstasy–I have a bank of alternate words, too–but isn’t there something to be said on the pillar-esque nature of excitement? Can you recall the last time you felt it? Really I-can’t-think-about-anything-but-this-excitement excited? How about the last time it was pertaining to fashion? Unpack that.

For me, it’s been months. Maybe I’m jaded. Or maybe the over-saturation in conjunction with reblogging, reposting, repinning, retweeting has exploited my interests so comprehensively, I can’t help shrug. I’m not sure–what I do know is that these clutches have instigated a new brand of I’m-going-to-do-whatever-I-can-to-get-my-hands-on-this-baby excitement. And not because this is a game of Who Can Conquer The Novelty Quickest. No, this about the suggestive undertone of a high-fashion, uber-literate statement. The key to success seems to be inducing that why didn’t I think of that! feeling. But really, it’s so simple–why didn’t I think of illustrating my favorite book covers and turning them into a bevy of sizable minaudieres?

I  appreciate Le Tan’s nod to something a bit more cerebral. Though photographed are simply some of the most kitschy of her designs, there is some real projection waiting to be had in the roster of covers she’s already tackled. It’s a pity that fashion is sometimes marginalized and reduced to full-functioning idiocy when in effect what manifests are some really fucking smart broads using hemlines and the fundamental differences between a wedge and stiletto as fair vehicles to express pretty profound intellect. Maybe wearing our favorite books on our sleeves will plant us more firmly on a road to somewhere great.

Now, where’s the Notes From Undergound cover?

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