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Olympia Le Tan A/W12

The Parisian handbag designer presented her new line at Pitti Milan inspired by classic Italian cinema and iconic cultural figures

On Thursday, 12 January, a Parisian atmosphere evolved in the charming setting of Museo Bellini for a location specific performance that included a presentation of work Olympia Le Tan had crafted especially for Pitti W and for Florence. The invitation afforded the young French fashion designer the perfect opportunity to rummage through her old university books including classics penned by Dante, Boccaccio, Pirandello, Verga and Manzoni to see which would look best reimagined as handmade bags and accessories.

Throughout the private museum space Le Tan's bags are framed by real and reimagined artefacts, from cultural and religious figures to film stills that all seamlessly combined to create an ever surprising visual experience. The walls were adorned with Max Farago's interpretation of scenes from classic Italian cinema depicting friends of the label in iconic moments and included Hamish Bowles in the Damned, Olivier Zahm in Salo and even Le Tan herself as Silvana Mangano. Le Tan and friends certainly sprinkled gallic charm on an unforgettable evening that celebrated Italian culture.  

Dazed Digital: Here, in the beautiful setting of the Museo Bellino in Florence you've created a Parisian atmosphere whilst exploring Italian classics within your handmade bags. What was the starting point for the presentation?
Olympia Le Tan:
When Pitti invited me to be the guest designer I immediately wanted to do something Italian. I studied Italian literature and film at university and most of my favourite films are Italian so it was an obvious choice for me.

DD: The collection touches upon true classics of Italian culture (and introduces me to a few previously unknown titles). How was the experience of rummaging through your old books? Which are your personal favourites?
Olympia Le Tan:
It was fun rummaging through my old books. I had almost forgotten about them and was glad to rediscover them. I love The Conformist, l'Amore Coniugale, most of the Moravia books. Pirandello is also one of my favourites.

DD: Could you talk us through the presentation and the individuals involved?
Olympia Le Tan: For my previous presentations I always just showed the bags as objects and this time I wanted to add something new. I also wanted all my friends to come to Florence with me so I thought this was a good way to get them to tag along! And it was super fun imagining who could be who. Olivier Zahm in Salo was a pretty obvious choice, Hamish Bowles in the Damned too! I was thrilled Tilda Swinton was able to do it too and I quite enjoyed being Silvana Mangano for a few minutes! I love Max Farago's work and I thought he would be perfect for these pictures.

DD: Finally, what's next for Olympia Le Tan?
Olympia Le Tan:
If I have time, I want to do a very small collection of clothes for next season. Outfits that will match the bags, not the other way around.