Saturday, June 19, 2010

LeSportsac's Artist In Residence Collection

REPOSTING recent article for the Fashion section of the Manila Bulletin.


Since its founding in 1974, LeSportsac, the iconic American brand with a strange French name, has been a sought-after name in bags and accessories. Characterized by nylon parachute material and colorful prints, LeSportsac has also, over the years, been associated with trendsetters as diverse as Stella McCartney, Jonathan Adler, Diane von Furstenberg, tokidoki and even Gwen Stefani.

So it probably comes as no surprise that the brand’s Artist In Residence series is also one of its most anticipated collections. Previous Artists In Residence collections, like the cute and cuddly line of Fifi Lapin (dubbed by Elle magazine as “the world’s most stylish bunny”) as well as the Paint Splash, Gingham and Numbers trademark of Japanese-American artist Tomokazu Matsuyama, have been very popular among LeSportsac fans.

Hot on the heels of these bestselling designs are the boldly colorful and intricately detailed magical worlds of Zurich-based, London-schooled designer and illustrator, Katharina Leuzinger, the latest Artist In Residence of LeSportsac for Spring 2010.

“Leuzinger’s blend of fancy and organized structure evokes an instantaneous emotional response of pure happiness that organically allows her work to tell its own stories and the prints she created for LeSportsac are no exception,” says Richard Ashcroft, sales director of LeSportsac, who was recently in town to promote the latest collection.

In further describing Leuzinger’s work, Ashcroft pointed us to two distinct sub-collections in this particular series. In the House Boat line, octopuses rule, multiple rainbows abound, and whales beckon with smiles. On the other end is Snackville, a place where snack time and home are given their due as it also tells the story of mustached houses and bunny abodes.

“I like things with spirit and soul, most of what I do will have some sort of character design involved,” Leuzinger herself confesses in an earlier interview. “So the houses as inanimate objects became a collection of different characters interacting with each other. I wanted to make something joyful and bright, which would distract you to happy thoughts when you sit in the train on a cold and gray morning.”

Katharina Leuzinger
When asked what’s the best thing about her work with LeSportsac, Leuzinger enthuses: “My favorites are the more geometric house characters. I love the fact that they’re not all very obvious ‘characters’. Elements such as the windows could be seen as eyes. It’s exciting to imagine a face or personality in something that might not be perceived as such by somebody else. It’s like seeing animals in the clouds and it’s quite personal.”

Ashcroft says the prints are available in nine new styles created exclusively for the Artist in Residence Collection. “The new and first ever accessories for the collection, the Play Case Cosmetic, gives consumers a chance to have pieces of highly adorable and completely packable art,” he further elaborates. “Shaped like one of houses featured in the Snackville print, the House Pouch is also a wholly unique part of the collection. Additionally, the introduction of the Mini Scout About Messenger, and the Girl Talk Hobo offer options for fashionable and fun every day bags, while the Double Trouble Tote are available for carry all and easy travel. Completing the collection is a seriously functional backpack, the Rascal Rucksack.”

When asked about the criteria for selecting artists for its Artist In Residence, Ashcroft says that LeSportsac is always open to collaborating with artists that best complements the brand’s fashion-forward and trendsetting image. He also conceded that he is impressed with our own artists and designers here that it’s not inconceivable to have a Filipino Artist In Residence sometime in the future.

For her part, Leuzinger says she was very pleased with her own collaboration experience with LeSportsac.

“Previously I thought of LeSportsac as a brand with ‘classic essentials’ and wasn’t so aware of their collaborations with artists and designers,” she admits. “The collaboration process itself was very enjoyable, as my artwork and working process have been treated with utmost respect which I really value in a partnership like this. We discussed ideas and color palettes, but in essence I was given complete creative freedom, which was fantastic.”

The Artist In Residence collection of LeSportsac is exclusively available at Rustans Makati and Rustans Shangrila.

No comments: