Chiming with the dress - little black or cocktail - the clutch bag is at once of apparel and at the same time something altogether more shamanic. It is flamboyantly brandished and demurely clasped but never worn. It is cut, draped, embroidered and bedecked more fabulously than most outfits in the room.
Delighting in the art of deception, this talisman of the swanky night out is clutched - always within, at most, arm’s reach. A beautifully upholstered box of tricks, it conceals and traffics the elegantly reductive tools of feminine beauty; lipstick and compact.
Centuries ago, the reticule, as it was known in times of fashion past, became an indispensible item of fashion itself, experiencing a spectacular rebirth following the strictures of World War II. The clutch bag is an objet d´art in the purest sense spelling out emphatically the fundamental tenet of couture.
Gold represents the most human of instincts - the aesthetic. It holds the world’s currencies in its glittering palm because we find it beautiful. It is what we hang on the necks of our champions. It represents the fantasy of royalty and the opulence of wealth. It is that with which we line the chapels and anoint the turrets that we build to exalt our gods. It is what the magicians, charlatans and scientists of old made themselves crazies trying to transform lead into.
At the Mercedes-Benz Fashion Week Spring 2012 in New York this month this talisman of the soiree and beauty’s element collided in a breathtaking inverse alchemy. Through a groundbreaking and mind-bending scientific process, modern day fashion magicians - and official sponsors of Fashion Week - Mi Piaci have created something that sounds like it has arrived directly from a storybook. Toasting with champagne, preternatural blonde beauty Caroline Winberg and Mi Piaci’s Gianpaolo Girardello presented the world’s first gold-leather clutch bag at the Lincoln Center this week.
What the supermodel and the Creative Director displayed to a thrilled and expectant audience was neither painted gold nor laminated with gold leaf - the leather literally wore a permanent flexible skin of twenty four carat gold.
In a top-secret highly complex industrial process, known as Precious Surface, in the Mi Piachi’s workshop in Riviera Del Brenta, right outside of Venice, gold bullion slabs are pressurised into a mist and then fused with the leather - their atoms clinging to the individual fibres of the calfskin.
The result is a completely integrated material featuring the dazzling profundity of gold and the languid suppleness of the finest leather, which Mi Piaci have sculpted into an accessory as slender and chic as the haute couture gowns and frocks that this hand-held fortune will complement. The Precious Surface process is also as spectacularly effective when applied to a variety of materials, such as silk and fur.
From this subterfuge of style and the arcane arts of modern alchemy, where appearance mesmerises content, Mi Piaci 24kt Gold Clutch is a stunningly simple answer to fashion’s constant search for true innovation in the pursuit of unadulterated luxury.
- Benjamin Stewart
Mi Piaci 24kt Gold Clutch
Address: 250 5th Avenue
New York, 10001
Tel: 855 465 3677
Photo Credit: Getty Images for Mi Piaci
Mi Piaci 24kt Gold Clutch