When Olympia Le-Tan was a child, she would visit her grandparents for weekends of afternoon tea, embroidery and painting lessons. It was the perfect start to her now incredibly successful line, a playful collection of embroidered book clutches and ready-to-wear. Her latest collection was inspired by magic and all the trimmings: playing cards, white bunny rabbits and top hats. Here, she shares some of her childhood memories, a period in her life that she treasures most.
My childhood is a huge influence in my work, and if a book was written about me, I would want it to be about my years growing up. All the games I used to play, the bullying I would endure from my brother, looking after my sister. I draw on it often in my work—and still watch children’s movies! I love the Japanese Studio Ghibli movies.
My dad is an illustrator and has a huge collection of books. I was always looking at them as a kid; they inspired me to do book clutches. He also designs all of the prints for my ready-to-wear collections. When my siblings and I were little, my dad wrote and illustrated some children’s books based on all of his kids. Visit with a Mermaid was my book. In it, I’m sitting on the beach and a mermaid comes out of the ocean and takes me underwater to introduce me to some fish friends. My sister’s was Cleo’s Christmas Dream, and my brother had Visit to the North Pole or something like that. He had a white teddy bear—in real life—that he couldn’t bear to be without. In the story the teddy bear flies away and takes him away to the North Pole.
My family was very creative. On weekends I would go to my grandparents, and my grandmother would teach me how to sew and knit and embroider. Then my grandfather would teach me how to paint. Those memories continue to inspire me.
See a few pieces from Olympia Le-Tan’s latest collection below: