Summer Sale

Design Love: deVol

7.28.2014



They maybe known for building beautiful and quality bathroom and kitchen interiors, but I''m drawn to British design company deVol's amazing range of wooden accessories for the home.  Rustic meets modern simplicity, I want them all! All bespoke kitchens, interiors and bathrooms including furniture are all designed and built in Leicestershire, England.

All images via deVol

Summer Sale

7.21.2014


Our Summer Sale has started with more discounted items added for the home and accessories. 1) Slow Studio ceramics 2) Month of Sundays Bag 3)Young Frankk Cuff 4)Emdal Colorknit Scarf 5) Naoko Ogawa Necklaces 6)Ellen Truijen Bag

Studio Visit: Niki Tsukamoto of Lookout & Wonderland

7.15.2014









It's always a treat to go home to LA to hangout with family and friends. And of course it also gives me a chance to visit some of our local designers based in this great city of ours (ok I'm a lil' bias!). So I was thrilled to visit the new Chinatown studio of fiber artist/maker Niki Tsukamoto of Lookout & Wonderland and see all the indigo goodness she's crafted.

This is my second visit with this talented lady, and I'm always inspired by her passion and enthusiasm for the beautiful craft of Shibori, fiber art and everything else she does (vintage shopping!). Plus Niki radiates such warmth and creative spirit that it's always fun and easy to chat with her about the craft, life and everything in between. Whether it's sourcing textiles/dyes or incorporating different methods (weaving!), Niki shared her insights and thoughtful approach to design and craftsmanship of her beautiful handmade product line. As a tactile person myself, it was great to feel the various textiles in terms of weight and texture and I couldn't stop touching that amazing wool/alpaca yarn in the basket! Whether stirring the indigo dye vat or untying the newly dyed pieces, you can appreciate the materials, process and small details in the creation of such beautiful textiles for daily life. Stay tune for new pieces from Lookout & Wonderland in Vuela.
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Thank you so much Niki for welcoming me into your studio...it's always a pleasure to hang out with ya!

Summer Arrivals: Rope Vessels by Gemma Patford Legge

7.11.2014





We're excited to introduce these beautiful yet practical rope vessels by Australian designer/maker Gemma Patford Legge. Each piece is hand-made and hand-painted at her Melbourne studio with lovely colors or if you're in the mood... a more neutral palette. They're great as a catch-all and storage basket for all the loose items around your home, office or studio. Plus they look so pretty perched on your shelf or table-top.

Designer Interview Part 1: Ellen Truijen

7.01.2014

 
It's been a long time coming! And I couldn't be more excited to present my next interview with shop favorite, Dutch bag designer Ellen Truijen. As one of the first stockists of her amazing leather goods line in the US, we've carried her hard-to-find bags since we launched.We covet her versatile beautifully crafted leather bags-a true fusion of form and function. Crafted in the Netherlands, simple unadorned aesthetic and quality leather varieties are at the forefront of her design bringing forth a true utilitarian appeal with understated elegance.  As a designer balancing family life and work, she's lovingly named some of her classic bags as "Mommy Dearest" and the "Toddler". And who can resist the playful pacman details?So here we go, enjoy this interview!

Ellen Truijen Spring/Summer 14 Collection
How would you describe your design approach and creative process: from design, inspiration and to the creation for each collection?
I think my design approach is more the approach of a sculpturist than of a product designer. Each bag is created behind the sewing machine, molding the leather into it's new form.
 
Simple things inspire me, the smell of leather, colors you can't really define, old magazine pictures, a lovely teapot found on a flea market, springtime, or fall, a hint of my favorite perfume...


Besides the simple silhouettes of your bags, the hallmark of your designs is the standout sumptuous leathers you use with each collection. What is the process like in choosing the leather varieties for the season?
I always let my intuition lead the way, never follow trends or forecast. My approach is very tactile, feel the leather and make sure the leathers all together give me a good feeling.


My Ellen Truijen bag is my everyday bag and faithful companion. Why do you think customers are drawn to your line once they discover it?
Besides the design, I often hear the combination of design and functionality is what makes the bags desirable. And not to forget they get even more beautiful by wearing. 

Your line is now 12 years old! Love how there are classic staples in your collection but some styles that change, what's new in your collection and how has the line evolved since you started?
The bags evolved through the years. At first, they where more rough and had no lining. Through the years I added details to increase their functionality. More refining, in design and look. I tried to upgrade the understated luxury feeling with little details. 

It's all in the details: the Shopper and 36 Hours Bag


Running a business requires a lot of time and passion for what you do on your down time? Interests, passions or activities that you enjoy?
Going to concerts or to the movies, drinking wine in the garden, making city-trips and strolling around discovering places. I also enjoy doing nothing much around my house.

Any irks and quirks you'd like to share?
When I have to drive far by car and I'm always feeling hungry, I like to stop by a gas station and buy this kind of knackerbrod sandwich filled with tomato cream (which I never eat and isn't even nice food), but somehow I have to have it! : )
 
How do you balance managing your line, MOS store (plus recently opened brand store) and of course life with your family?
Improvise! Most of the time everything flows naturally and it's important to be flexible, luckily our children are that as well.
Ellen Truijen Brand Store

So much a part of the creation of your designs involves working with local makers and craftsmen. What do you love most about this process especially with keeping production of your bags locally in the Netherlands?
What I love is the direct contact with the people who make my bags. We work only with small family businesses and know exactly who worked on which bag. Also providing local businesses with work and keeping in honour of what is left of a beautiful, once blooming Dutch craft, is something I stand for and gives me a good conscience. 



I know it’s so hard to choose, but what’s your go-to bag or style from your collection? And why the playful pacman detailing (which I love growin' up in the 80s!)?
I don't have a particular favourite. Every new bag is a favourite and they're all precious to me. And if a bag has sold very well, but my feeling with the bag is gone, then it must go out of the collection. Again, I trust my intuition. Regarding the pacman detailing, at one point I wanted to add something with a wink and the pacman kept popping up in my head. And it's also, just as you said, a thing of my generation. 
 
What is your personal style or aesthetic? What are some of favorite your pieces, items you collect for you or your home?
I love strolling around flea markets, collecting for example tea pots or nice styling objects.  And I have a weakness for pumps, preferably found in little shops, where the last pair in my size is waiting for me.
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It's been wonderful getting to know the personal side of the people who bring such inspiring design to life. Thank you so much Ellen for sharing your inspiration, creative process and your story! Stay tune for part 2 with travel tips to her hometown in southern Netherlands!Hope to visit next time I'm there in Europe!
 
Catch a glimpse of Ellen again just in case you haven't seen this beautiful video-featuring our favorite bag designer with art direction by her husband Rob Truijen. So much talent in one family!

I am Ellen:Truijen from Caramel on Vimeo.


Black and White and Lookbook Images from Ellen Truijen

Summer Arrivals: Introducing New Labels We Love

6.26.2014



It may be summertime...time to slow down and relax, but we've been busy adding some lovely pieces from new labels and makers in our shop. Whether you wear, carry or  use them, these designs are as functional as they're beautiful. And we're excited to add a new category in our shop. I couldn't resist these pretty handmade clogs from Finland this season by hard-to-find label Terhi Polkki. They go perfectly with the roomy totes by designer Kate dePara of local Houston-based label Evens. And of course, I've been looking for wooden boards to add to our shop and glad to discover that the talented Kay Wang of the New York-based line The Things We Keep is also a wonderful woodworker.

Textile Love: Hopewell

6.24.2014


My love for textiles continues with the discovery of Hopewell textiles, a design workshop created by Eliza Kenan and Claire Oswalt. It's wonderful to see the modern interpretation of the traditional craft of quilting in their colorful collection ( made in my hometown of LA!)...worthy not just as a cozy comfy wrap but as a wall hanging.

All images from Hopewell

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