Never judge a book by its cover

by designspace | 23.01.13

Olympia Le-Tan the self-taught designer.

How to turn a book into an accessory;

Born in London and raised in Paris, the daughter of French illustrator Pierre Le-Tan, Olivia Le-Tan started her career as a design assistant at Chanel with Karl Lagerfeld, venturing between music fashion and literature.

She started at the age of 20, intrigued by those fake books in which you could hide treasure. She collects old books; and launched her eponymous accessories label OLT.

Her collections are inspired from a lifelong passion for classic first edition covers of her favorites novels from Kerouac, Hemingway, Moby Dick, 1984, to Lolita and the art of embroidery ( a talent she inherited from her grand-mother). From Milk cartons, to caviar tin can, her aesthetic is quite nostalgic, a mix between the 40’s and 50’s, naive, children like things, and very colorful.

A powerful mix between British humor and Parisian chic, her embroidered clutches and minaudieres are placing the aesthetic of literature in design and fashion.

Entering her world through her tumblr shows her inspirations, her travels, her notes on the wall, pictures of cartoons, her close relationship with her family, her father Pierre drawing her logo and invitations, Cleo (her sister), Dizzie & Edward, her friend Victoire de Castellane, and Fritz the cat.

We love her work for the handmade finish and the artisanal look and technique made in France.


She chooses different subject for each collection such as money and corruption, medicine, housewives …To make one of her bags would take around 12 hours, some embroideries can take up to 40 hours. Each work is handmade and part of a limited edition; as part of the price.

Please, Please, Please Let me Get What I Want, the Olympia Le-Tan pop-up shop for Biotop in Tokyo.

Wiagra box-clutch by Olympia Le-Tan.

Mourir Aupr├Ęs de Toi (To Die by Your Side) by Spike Jonze. The movie is featuring the imagination and animation of Olympia, a love story between a skeleton and a girl, inspired by Le-Tan’s line of clutches.


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