I suppose it should have been the combination of the words Olympia and Books that led me to it – only one meaning for us of course – the biggest-ever Olympia Book Fair coming up next month (link to the right). But in fact it was the First Lady pointing out to me (in my still newish and slightly reluctant rôle of ABA fashion commentator – see Invasion of the Uggs and The Whole Art of Dress below) an article in the Evening Standard – yes, we still have an evening newspaper in London – how quaint and how civilised is that?
The online version of the story, The £1,000 Book Bag by Karen Dacre (link to the right), rather misses the point by not illustrating the bags. I of course immediately assumed that these were rather special conservation-standard bags for carrying around our most rare and expensive books – but no, so wrong – these are the latest fashion accessory for the bag-ladies of the celebrity world. A range of designs (titles) of clutch-bags and minaudieres (if these are in fact different things) by hot-designer-of-the-moment, Olympia Le-Tan. You see where the confusion arises.
As to the merit or otherwise of the bags themselves I hesitate to comment. Out of my depth. But I do know a thing or two about dust-jackets and on looking at Ms Le-Tan’s website (link in the blogroll to the right) – I was struck by the number of, what shall we say, rather undistinguished jacket designs. Great books don’t always have great dust-jackets of course, but some of these ‘titles’ aren’t all that great on either front. As far as I know, the ABA wasn’t consulted on the matter – but as many of the bags are now sold out, I thought we might be able to help out with some suggestions for a fresh range – who better to ask than the world’s best and most experienced booksellers? It’s the very least we can do for someone so enamoured of books that she has named herself after our number one book fair.
So – a competition of sorts – results to be posted on the ABA website. The hunt is on for the best dust-jacket designs ever. Nominations are invited from you all – and there may be extra points for books that have an extra resonance for the fashion conscious. Do let us have your thoughts and suggestions. Anyone else for Huxley’s great satire, Brave New World?