In light of the global upheaval that has transformed the past six months, beginning in early Spring and stretching through Summer and now into Fall, we've had to adjust our approach to our work in big and small ways. As individuals and as a company. But one core part of our ethos has been fortified by this moment of uncertainty: connection to our community is the bedrock of our vision as makers and as humans. Collaborations have been, in many ways, sources of respite from that upheaval and leaning into creative exchanges, the sharing of images and ideas with peers and friends has helped us remain connected to that vision.
Indeed, we have found that the questions from our ongoing Journal series lend themselves in a poignant way to this moment wherein social isolation, pairing down, and sitting still are required of us on both spiritual and material levels. And so for this latest installation, we turned to Chrissy Leavell - an artist and friend who recently developed a series of images featuring her partner, Michael wearing our Fehn bag. Chrissy is a designer, skilled pattern maker, and the woman behind Une Heures, a thoughtful line of silk knitwear made slowly and sustainably here in Los Angeles.
Chrissy photographed her Cosima bag from our SS20 Collection at home in Pasadena. Her images encapsulate the intimate connection that often forms between us and the things we carry - the exploration of which inspired us to develop this series and continues to inform our process.
How does choosing your bag and its contents tie into your daily ritual?
For as long as I can recall, I’ve had a bag, purely for function – as a pedestrian in New York, I needed room up to the size of an umbrella and for 7 years in LA, it was a durable backpack to pair with my motorbike. In my 30s, I now have the simple, feminine luxury of choosing a bag by pure desire, based on where I am going and which objects I’d like to accompany me.
What are the non-functional/meaningful things that you carry with you on a daily basis?
I’d like to think every woman has something obscure and deeply personal kept in her bag – although objects like those are temporary in my bag. They usually just travel for that day, and then I return to my rather simple contents: a small wallet (no room for coins), a hair comb, Smith’s Rosebud Salve and my telephone. Sometimes hair powder and my half-frame camera will join in. There’s also been a torn half of a dollar bill in there for a while – it may be a symbol I haven’t figured out just yet, or a tip for a bad waiter.
What expressive function does your bag have for you?
A bag will, in some way, affect the way you move – a telling trait. A bag is an addition to your necessities, since most clothing essentially has built-in ‘bags’ (pockets) already, so choosing a bag exposes your simplicity or complexity, your level of dependence on objects and your patience or utter impatience. Watching a woman move with her bag and how she guides it and opens it, speaks voyeuristic poetry.
How does your bag (read: shape, features, size, material, etc.) inform the way you carry yourself, the activities you choose to do, the way you engage with your surroundings?
A soft, smooth texture usually tells me I should go gently. I’ve always admired the ‘lived in’ look of objects, but I just can’t will against my natural self. I suppose I’m engrained with the function approach after all of these years. Each object has its time and place – not necessarily to be preserved, but to have its time as the pearl found in the forgotten oyster.
Choosing a bag can be an act of expansion or a pairing down to essentials. Which one of these do you gravitate toward (and why)? When thinking about this, do notions about security/agency/independence come to mind? If so, how?
Dependance isn’t part of me, so a large bag doesn’t feel right. I couldn’t imagine what I’d keep in there. Small says, ‘I have what I need and that’s it.’ The efficiency of reaching inside without looking, and finding what I need, avoids that undesirable trait of seeing a woman struggle through her own objects, that she placed there.
What shapes, features, materials, textures, and/or functions are inspiring your creative process currently?
Weighty, smooth surfaces of onyx or bronze that fit in the hand – so you can see my fingerprints left behind.
Share an image, a taste, and a sound that are on your mind.
Fluid walking in New York – like two show horses, trotting together without hesitation / orange juice freshly squeezed, not by a stranger / your voice leaving it’s usual tone.
Chrissy is wearing the Cosima in Crema from our SS20 Collection. All photographs by Chrissy Leavell.