As a man, I feel that woman and handbags are things that I will never try to understand. They are individuals with their own identity, personalities, psyches, and complicated elements that combine to form something unique, something that we can just observe with respect and appreciation.
At Lotus Arts de Vivre, we have been designing handbags almost from the start, and interestingly enough, handbags soon became one of our best selling products from our entire inventory.
What struck me as an unexpected and pleasant surprise not too long ago was when we hosted the manager of a well-known European handbag brand. When we compared numbers, he was quite surprised, and declared us to be the leading and most innovative handbag producer in the world!
To me, that was quite an honour that I take to heart. After all, we have always made a point of creating fashion items that are more than just bags, but rather wearable art that makes a statement in itself without having to say a word. For women, they are not accessories, but conversation pieces. Women who carry a Lotus Arts de Vivre handbag are sure to turn heads when they walk into any room. And people will no doubt ask them about the handbag, and this could lead to a long conversation. After all, our bags have a lot of stories to tell.
Each handbag is made up of organic or unusual materials, design ingenuity, diamonds or other gemstones and superb craftsmanship, all of which form the unique identity of Lotus Arts de Vivre. The basic material could be something from the very ordinary, mundane items from everyday life, such as the humble fah chee (woven food cover) used by households in Bali to protect their food on the table. But our designers have transformed it into a quirky hedgehog handbag encrusted with pearls. It is then topped by a crazy wood handle and a little green frog made from iridescent scarab beetle wings.
Or we might use extremely rare materials such as gold brocade textiles from Thailand’s royal SUPPORT Foundation. This precious textile with elaborate patterns takes a team of four master weavers half a year to complete, and was once worn only by royals and nobility. A gold niello frame and handle creates the perfect finish that builds on the ancient Thai craftsmanship tradition.
Our design team and artisans are second to none, and I’m so proud of them. They are like family to us. They are able to look at such as unusual, and sometimes unlikely, objects like ancient samurai hats, Batulaga sea shells, brocade saris, cinnamon sticks and Japanese lacquerware, and conceptualise unique handbags, and then from the concept, make it happen. To achieve this is not easy – several technical challenges have to be overcome, and we often have to rely on innovation and modern technology. Sometimes the challenges are quite basic, like finding two samurai hats from the Edo period in the exact same shape and size so they can fit together like a clam.
The final touch – the decorative element – is something we are very well-known for, but it’s a matter of how much or how little is just right. Sometimes all that is needed for a simple rattan clutch is a dramatic nephrite elephant, a bright red coral flower or a tiny green frog clasp.
Last but not least, I am so proud of our Peacock handbags that were inspired by my pet peacocks. The peacock is such an enigmatic bird that relates to eastern and western mythology alike because of its dignity and beauty. We have used the peacock as a motif for this collection, with the colourful feathers as decorative items. And – as a cherry on the cake – each Peacock handbag will have an antique geisha comb inside from my collection that I have accumulated over the years.
It’s no wonder that our customers think of Lotus Arts de Vivre more as a handbag museum. Our handbags are indeed pieces of art that have a practical purpose in life.