Photo: Bruno Werzinski
Natalie Portman was once quoted as saying: "I'd rather be smart than a movie star", and earlier this week, at the premiere of her latest film, 'Black Swan', the actress proved she could be both, carrying what looked like a copy of Vladimir Nabokov's book 'Lolita' under her arm.
On close inspection however, the khaki book-cover turned out not to be Nabokov's cult novel, but a clutch-bag by Olympia Le-Tan, a newly-established French designer who has three collections of beautiful box-bags made to look like famous novels, under her belt.
French actress Clémence Poésy also took a shining to Le-Tan's intellectual accessories when she attended the Harry Potter And The Deathly Hallows premiere in London last month, choosing a 'La Belle et la Bête' cover to go with her Chanel haute couture dress.
How does Le-Tan, who interned at Chanel after attending art school in Paris, and worked for seven years at Balmain before setting up her own label, feel about her bags appearing in the red carpet spotlight?
"I was so proud and happy to see two of the most beautiful and stylish actresses of this generation wearing something that I made" she says.
The intricate accessories, which are stocked at fashion emporiums across the world such as 10 Corso Como in Milan, Browns in London and Colette in Paris, are limited to only 16 of each design, with the 'first edition' handmade by Le-Tan herself.
Fashion insiders are also 'reading up' on Le Tan's exquisite handicrafts: two of the most influential movers and shakers in the fashion industry, Tom Ford and Anna Dello Russo, recently picked the 'Boîte à Baisers' (meaning 'boxfull of kisses') to appear in features in Paris Vogue and 10 Magazine respectively.
But why books?
Le-Tan cites the surroundings which framed her childhood as the inspiration behind her unusual designs: "My father has a huge collection of beautiful old books. In the house I grew up in, all the walls were covered in books" she says.
When she moved out of her family home, Le Tan began collecting first-edition books from the 40s and 50s, with very vibrant graphics.
"I just felt that some of them were so amazing that they had to be turned into something even more special" she says.
We can't think of a more stylish book club to join. http://nataliaportman.blogspot.com/ عار