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by Georgina Callan

Folded, molded, and wrapped – minimalist purses for the modernista

Purses. We can’t live without them. We’ve been carrying them around for centuries. They contain the
deepest darkest secrets and are the most private of places.  They also need to be travel experts. Slung
on the floor of a car, a restaurant or coffee shop, or worse, tucked under an airline seat (have you ever
looked under there?), purses need to be resilient as well as functional.  Many are quite extraordinary
objects of beauty and desire, so exquisitely shaped and constructed that they might be considered
sculpture and displayed as such, rather than schlepped all over town.

Industrial designer Rebecca Finell was inspired by origami to make her ISO clutch.
The Austin, Texas, based entrepreneur, with a successful line of modern luxury home goods at
www.finell.co ) turned her attention to purses, seeking out unique dynamic forms that she
could translate into practical style.  She focuses on less trendy designs that are not derivative
and the results are bags that have an architectural quality and resemble sculptural objects.
Watch the video at her website to appreciate the folding elements of the bag.
Finells’ Vox bag, a shoulder bag that retains its “folded” shape, measuring 15.5” wide
x 16” high and 10” deep, and is available in 4 colors.
Each bag is created from as few leather pieces as possible, in some cases only one piece
of leather, and are labor intensive to make. They “fold” reflecting Rebecca’s love of
origami, yet remain functional with microfiber interiors and, where necessary, a
concealed wrist strap. The ISO measures 13.49” wide, 5.7” high and 3.8” deep, and is
available in 6 colors.
The ball bag, is an iconic shape in purses and one associated with the 122 year old
French luxury leather goods company, Perrin. The unique round shape, with a lattice
type design is recognizable statement piece. Available in different leather options, it
can be purchased in two sizes: a Small version that measures 10” x 10” x 6”, and a
Medium size that measures 14” x 13” x 9”.
Perrin also makes clutches and evening bags. The company’s asymmetrical “glove”
Purses have always been status symbols. Large or small, decorative or plain, they hold
practical items as well as items of comfort and reassurance while conveying a visual
communication about wealth, social status and style. Purses are also collector’s items.
For instance, Christophe Lemaire, designing for prestigious brand, Hermes, designed
molded seamless bags for the Autumn/Winter 2014 collections that are now sought
after on the ever-growing secondary market for fashion accessories. Only 15 copies
of each bag of these bags were made, one is a honey colored cross body bag, the
other a dark tall tote, under the skilled hands of Parisian master craftsman Carlos Penafil.
Molded seamless bag by Christophe Lemaire for Hermes,
A/W 2014 bag
Linda Sieto is a Hungarian designer whose  bags are made in Belgrade.  For Linda
, accessories hold a high emotional value, concerned with the notion of undertone.
Some of her bags are layered leather constructs, with harsher materials softened
with folded pockets revealed under the flaps.

Japanese artist Takeda Asayo, started her career as a fabric artist, and now makes
beautiful leather and cotton sculptural bags available at

Issey Miyake, Japanese master of pleating fashion garments, retired from design in the
late 90s but overseas multiple product lines designed by his staff. The Bao Bao white
lucent clutch bag is made of polyester and nylon.
There is an entire website devoted to the
Bao Bao bag
Tall seamless tote from Christophe
Some of the leather bags made in a workshop and studio in the county of Sussex, in
England, by Jane Hopkinson Bags are influenced by architecture and ceramics of
the 1930s.
Pearl anthracite shoulder bag from www.Janehopkinsonbags.co.uk

Tiravan Vanichnam is a young accessories designer who recently graduated from the
London College of Fashion with a capsule collection of origami and geometric bags.
She has a preference for creating 2D and 3D forms from a one piece pattern. Her
folding star shapes, square and triangular, may be used as clutches or shoulder
With the expanded use of digital printing there’s no doubt we will be seeing many more
interesting sculptural bags in the future, so we’ll just have to keep collecting!