TECHNIQUE & WONDER COMBINE IN HER QUIRKY BAG DESIGNS
Story by Marissa Spada
Photos provided by Larissa Hadjio
Larissa Hadjio’s latest creations are geometrically-inspired works, to be swung over the shoulder or clutched in the palm of the hand. For the London-based designer, the term “sculpture bags” has been used to describe the bold, quirky designs that tread the line between art and accessory.
A former student of London’s Central Saint Martins College of Art and Design, Hadjio was drawn to create pieces that would transcend gallery walls, and surely, there isn’t an article in anyone’s closet that earns more travel miles than a favourite handbag. “I studied Fine Art,” she says, “but having people merely look at my work made me want to create pieces that would have use and function beyond the gallery space – that could be taken away by someone and have a life of its own.”
Hadjio’s current line, aptly named Diamond Vision, features multi-faceted gem shaped bags that are a mix of fun and sophistication, expertly pieced together using a 3D pattern making technique. “Geometric structure is phenomenally exciting,” says Hadjio, whose love of line, shape and form is strikingly apparent in her designs.
“Diamonds are of eternal value,” she notes. “They get passed on from generation to generation, collecting much meaning, stories and a few scratches along the way.” As Hadjio describes the allure of the everlasting diamond, it sounds like a fitting tribute to the “wearable” nature of the handbag, outliving and outlasting our day-to-day journeys, leather softening as it is lightly imprinted by our daily travels – all the places it goes! All the things it must see!
Last year’s collection set the stage for Hadjio’s fun and unusual style, and included even more personality (if possible). “I’ve always loved David Attenborough’s Deep Blue,” explains Hadjio, “all these wild creatures that glow in the dark.” It was that fascination that led to Deep Sea, a line-up of friendly fish and crustacean shapes turned into bags, including the designer’s personal favourite, “Daja” – a crab that can be clutched or strapped around the waist, complete with magnetic eyes that seem to stare back at you with curiosity. “I wasn’t sure how people would react to the sea creatures,” she says. “But some have adopted their animals and given them a name.” She adds, “The diamonds are treated quite differently, maybe because they don’t have eyes.”
The fashion community has certainly embraced Hadjio’s unique designs, a few of which have proven to have a unisex appeal. Part of the Hadjio line is a collaboration with Andrew McPhee, and is targeted specifically for men. The convertible canvas bags are versatile enough for the urban dweller with an adventurous streak, as the crisp coloured tote transforms into a backpack, without sacrificing its clean, minimalistic edge.
As for Hadjio herself, she remains dedicated to developing her craft, saying, “I collect my own bags and books about bags and books about leathers and fabrics.” She values getting “lost on a side track,” which is perhaps where she’ll find the muse for her next collection. When asked if she could ever imagine pursuing another profession, she replies with an ironic twist: “Not a fisherman – I am scared of the dark, deep sea; so many big creatures live in it.” There are a few more of those creatures on land now, thanks to Hadjio (I wonder how she feels about a career as a diamond cutter?). But like everyone else who has discovered her wonderfully eccentric creations, it’s a good thing she’s into bags.