Now that her embroidered book bags are being toted by every fashionable girl about town, Parisian designer Olympia Le-Tan (above) figured it was time to expand into clothing. Her debut collection, geared toward scholarly gals with a naughty streak, includes a tartan cocktail dress, collegiate-striped wool blouses, and a black leather pencil skirt with a slit that opens all the way up the back ($460–$2,300; the Webster, Miami Beach, 305.673.5548). “It’s very Bettie Page in the bibliothèque,” says Le-Tan, who counts the fifties pinup as her style icon. Here, a few other things she fancies.
Looks from her fall 2012 collection.
HOTEL OKURA IN TOKYO “I just got back from a trip there. I hadn’t been to Japan for three years, and I had forgotten how much I love it. That hotel is so beautiful—it looks like it has never changed. The sushi bar is the best in town, but the lobby is my favorite part. I think it’s probably the only ‘old’ luxury hotel in Tokyo.”
LULU BAG BY OLYMPIA LE-TAN “It’s my first leather bag. I’m very proud of it. It’s classic—a mix between a doctor’s bag and a posh French lady’s handbag. It’s handmade and lined with Liberty print, like all my other bags. I think I might do a mini version in crocodile for next season—or just for myself.”
Le-Tan’s Lulu bag.
VICTOIRE DE CASTELLANE’S RING FOR DIOR FINE JEWELRY “Victoire gave it to me, and I haven’t taken it off since. It’s so elegant and timeless. I’m not really into jewelry, but this is perfect for me.”
ARLINGTON COLOGNE BY D.R. HARRIS & CO. “Most perfumes make me feel sick quite easily, so I like wearing a light men’s cologne. It just smells fresh and clean.”
RICHARDSON X OLYMPIA LE-TAN JACKET “I love the jacket I made in collaboration with Andrew Richardson for Richardson magazine. It has two embroidered patches on it. The front one is a traditional cannetille, which is what they use for the decorations on French military clothing. The back one is my classic felt appliqué ribbon banner.”
CANON POWERSHOT S95 CAMERA “I bring it everywhere and take pictures for my Tumblr (the Olympia Press) of everything: books, objects, my funny-looking family members…”
MY CAT FRITZ “That’s my female cat with a boy’s name. I named her after the Robert Crumb cartoon Fritz the Cat. She was a birthday gift from my sister, Cleo—the best present I ever got.”
VISIT WITH A MERMAID “It’s the children’s book my father wrote for me. The main character is a little girl called Olympia. She meets a mermaid who takes her to an underwater world.”
Photos: Portrait by Cleo. Fall 2012: Dominique Maitre; Bag: courtesy of Olympia Le-Tan