Sicily in Paris

The last trip I took to Sicily was both magical and inspirational. After Christmas in Trapani, we headed east to Cefalù followed by Ragusa and Siracusa, the latter being one of our favorite Sicilian cities. The colors and light which are unique to this island led me to create a new bag collection, just in time for the spring and summer seasons. Where better to shoot it than on Paris’s Île Saint-Louis with photographer Catherine O’Hara, who always captures Kasia Dietz handbags so perfectly. Here are a few favorite shots of the new Sicily collection.

By sharing this journey with you in the form of my creations, I hope these bags will inspire you to travel, and maybe even join you. As a special gift, take 20% off all Kasia Dietz handbags using code Sicily. Bon voyage!

creatively minded

One of the best parts of living in Paris as an expat is meeting fellow expats, each of us on our own unique journey. For a moment, our paths cross and the world becomes a little smaller and more familiar. This is how I felt when I met photographer Elizabeth Young, as we shared tales of living and working in NYC, in the same Lower East Side neighborhood even. Given my love for photography, I immediately turned my attention to Elizabeth’s personal work and how she manages to balance her career between Paris and New York. As is often the case with creative minds, weeks later she was at my home office collaborating on a photography project.

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My office is where I spend many hours of the day, in between running to my manufacturer and client meetings. This is my haven, where I work on new designs, fill orders, write… Actually, my desk was the first purchase made for our new apartment. Love at first sight! It certainly serves its purpose.

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Both Elizabeth and I are doing what we love. She is continuing to find her inspiration behind the lens, and I am creating, both in the form of bags and with words. As the new year approaches, what is your dream? To live in Paris, Buenos Aires, Tokyo? To start a new career? To travel? Leave a comment below, I’d love to hear from you. You’ll also be entered to win a Kasia Dietz bag of your choice. As an additional bonus, take 30% off all my bag collections from now until December 15th with the code: HOLIDAYS.

Rome in Paris

Last December we spent a few days in Rome. The result? Long walks amidst ancient history… and a new Kasia Dietz handbag collection. As you know, my bags are often inspired by my travels. More reason to travel? And as always they are made in Paris, limited edition and reversible. Finally I’m sharing the Roma Collection with you, photographed by the talented Catherine O’Hara and named for some of Rome’s most famous streets. Beginning with the beautiful cobbled Via Giulia. Now you can take the streets of Rome with you wherever you go…

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Onto the busy and fashionable Via Condotti…

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I had to include the main street in Rome’s historical center, Via del Corso.

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Lastly, Via Margutta, home to art galleries and trendy restaurants.

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I’d love to hear your thoughts about the new Roma Collection! For the love of Rome and Paris, take 20% off any bags online using code: ROMEINPARIS, until the end of September. And don’t forget to follow along on Instagram! More travels and bags coming up…

Intention

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My favorite day of the year is the first. Life is somehow reset and regardless of the good, bad or indifferent that found us in the days passed, there’s a lightness in the air, the promise of greatness ahead, a fresh start. This year, rather than make resolutions that only wait to be broken, I have chosen to live a life of intention.

I will continue to set goals and work towards them. Professionally speaking, my plans for Kasia Dietz handbags include more collaborations and private label projects, as well as collections of my own, inspired by life.  I will also continue to write, mostly about Paris and travel, and to work on my book. As Elizabeth Gilbert would say, creativity chooses us and we must find a way to make peace with it. “A creative life is an amplified life. It’s a bigger life, a happier life, an expanded life, and a hell of a lot more interesting life.” I couldn’t agree more!

Above all else however, this year and for all years to follow, my intention it to truly live in the moment. To let go of past insecurities and future fears, to live more with my heart and less with my head, and to appreciate this wild and wondrous journey as it happens. This too, I wish for you. Happy new year!

celebrating four years

Today marks four years since that magical day in Monterosso, our wedding on the sea. To mark the occasion, I thought who better to capture my Italian and I than Chloe Lodge, a friend and photographer whose work I have admired since she lived in Paris. During her recent trip to the City of Lights we met her at our favorite apéro spot Café SaintRégis.

CLP_04From there we walked through Île de la Cité enjoying the sunshine on a perfect spring day.

CLP_13CLP_14As natural as it felt, I knew Chloe and her camera were watching us. My Italian lightened the mood with his humor. I could not help but to smile as we danced along the Seine…

CLP_34CLP_36CLP_37This time was precious. There was nowhere to be but in the moment. In love.

CLP_18 CLP_28Time passes so quickly. Thank you Chloe, for helping to savour it, one moment at a time.

life lately

Dearest readers and lovers of Paris, my sincerest apologies for not keeping you up to date on life as of late. Since returning from Istanbul, I’ve been busy launching new handbag collections including the much anticipated Palais-Royal clutches, and bags inspired by Monet’s gardens in Giverny. Just in time for spring as Paris is in full bloom! You can view photos of this beautiful season in the city of lights via Instagram.

IMG_8573_2I’ve also been working on another project which I am excited to share with you. Ever since my travels around the world in 2007 I’ve had the desire to write a book, a memoir of sorts, to share this incredible experience of travel and personal growth. Each of us is writing our own story, and I look forward to sharing part of mine in hopes of inspiring others to follow their dreams, as I did. I hope you will enjoy my journey around the world from NY to Paris, in written form. With my proposal finished, the search for an agent begins…Wish me luck!

In other exciting news, I’ve recently been featured on fabulous Australian based website My French Life. Find out exactly how I arrived to Paris and started designing bags.

More exciting adventures in Paris and beyond coming soon…

the grandest bazaar

IMG_6481 One of my favorite places to get lost in Istanbul is the Grand Bazaar. I could spend hours walking the ancient aisles, searching for souvenirs, spices, sweets… With 61 streets in one of the world’s largest & oldest covered markets, and 3,000 shops, there is plenty to see!

IMG_6488  Most of the salesmen try to entice you into their shop, “Lady, one minute to look!” I smile.

IMG_6500But it’s the fabrics that I am after. Two years ago I first fell in love with ikat prints and designed my Istanbul Collection. What else could I have called it? On this trip, I fell in love again, with the newest assortment of silks in vibrant colors and prints. It was tough to choose! After a friendly chat about life in France, and the cost of sending kids to private schools in Turkey, over a cup of tea of course, I selected fabrics for a new collection.IMG_6512I can’t wait to create new clutches! Keep an eye out via instagram and facebook

Andalucia inspired

Last week I finished my latest handbag collection inspired by recent travels to Andalucia, Spain. Who better to shoot these new bags with than one of my favorite Paris photographers, the uber talented Catherine O’Hara. We set the date for a clear and calm Sunday, and headed for one of my favorite settings, Île Saint-Louis. To avoid the crowds we descended the stairs and the heart of the city became ours, at least for a moment.

Catherine O-Hara Photography-Kasia Dietz Handbagskasia-bags-27 kasia-bags-31kasia-bags-37To celebrate the coming of spring, I’m giving away one of my new Andalucia handbags. {From left to right: Cordoba, Seville, Granada.} To enter, leave a comment with your favorite bag and where you would like to travel. Winner chosen at random on March 10th. You can also enter via instagram at: instagram.com/kasia_dietz

kasia-bags-56Here’s an outtake with Catherine’s adorable pooch Percy. I couldn’t resist a shot with him!

kasia-bags-78Thank you Catherine for such gorgeous photos! Had a wonderful time with you and Percy!

You can find all my handbags online at www.kasiadietz.com

colors of Andalucia

During our recent trip to Andalucia, I became enchanted with the tilework of the Alcázar of Seville. These press-moulded tiles inherited the Islamic love for geometry while taking on figurative compositions inspired by fabrics during the Gothic and Renaissance periods. I was inspired by the colors and shapes and sought to create a modern version in bag form.

IMG_3095IMG_3091IMG_3094The range of motifs produced in Seville was varied, and their use in architecture diverse.

IMG_3163 IMG_3200 IMG_3187 As soon as we returned to Paris I set to work on a new Andalucia handbag collection…

art into fashion

Artist Sonia Delaunay is one of the inspirations behind my handbags. Arriving to Paris in 1905, Sonia believed “modernity could be expressed through the primacy of color in art and the dynamic interplay of its dissonances and harmonies”. Due in large part to her beliefs and the quality of her work, Delaunay is responsible for bringing art into daily life.

IMG_2309I was overjoyed to spend an afternoon with my muse at her Musée d’Art Moderne retrospective in Paris, what was once her home. ( I often visit her paintings at Pompidou’s permanent collection.) Over 400 works were on display, including paintings, wall decorations, gouaches, prints, fashion items and textiles. A designer’s paradise!

IMG_2318Bringing together the fine and applied arts, Sonia Delaunay desired to liberate color, without restricting it to surface. Her art was brought into life, and into fashion.

IMG_2325Art and life became one. “It was my life and I worked the whole time, but I wasn’t working – I was living – and that is the difference.”

IMG_2336Delaunay’s textiles varied greatly from the naturalistic designs popular in the early 1920s. Her fabrics incorporated geometric shapes, often with strong, bold colors.

IMG_2347I often look at paintings and see them as fabric. That is after all, how I came up with my wearable art designs. For me, there is no better example of this than the work of Delaunay.

IMG_2348“For me there is no gap between my painting and my so-called ‘decorative’ work. I never considered the ‘minor arts’ to be artistically frustrating; on the contrary, it was an extension of my art.”
IMG_2349            Sonia’s vision was uniquely vibrant. For her “color is the skin of the world”.

Sonia Delaunay retrospective ends February 22

 

united we stand

In an attempt to make even a small difference in the world, one that is often fraught with conflict, I designed the United Collection, representing people coming together in freedom, harmony, balance and unity. Twenty percent of all proceeds from sales of the United bags will go towards the global humanitarian organization, International Red Cross. With my mission in place, this was certainly a fun project to work on. Photographer Hélène Loire and I spent a beautiful late afternoon photographing the collection, beginning with that which we are all entitled to, freedom.

freedom (n): The power or right to act, speak, or think as one wants.

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harmony (n): A pleasing combination of elements in a whole.

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balance (v): To bring into or maintain in a state of equilibrium.

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united (n): The state of being united or joined as a whole.

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More images from the United Collection on Kasia Dietz handbags website.

In addition to donating 20% of United bag sales to International Red Cross, I’m giving away a bag to one of my readers (chosen at random Dec 1st) as an early holiday gift. Just leave a comment below stating which United bag is your favorite, and be sure to join my designing life on Facebook, Twitter & Instagram. Meanwhile, let’s all try to maintain a sense of freedom, harmony, balance and unity.

rive droite to rive gauche

Even before I moved to Paris I was always drawn to the rive droite, the right bank. That to me, is home. Everyone has a side, don’t they? When Habitat Parisien proposed that I experience life on the left bank (and in one of their gorgeous apartments with a stunning view) I didn’t think twice. Maybe this would turn me into a rive gauche girl?

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My apartment was situated in Saint Germain, close to Pont Neuf. I climbed up to the terrace just as the sun was setting… What a view! Sacre Coeur in the distance, beneath a sky unlike any other.

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I quickly made myself at home on rue Dauphine and contemplated never leaving this perfect perch.

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Is there anything more magical than the Paris sky at twilight?

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The next few days I spent evenings on my terrace, watching the sky change it’s hues, rosé in hand.

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So how was life on the left bank? It certainly gave me a new appreciation of Paris as I explored a lesser known neighborhood and often felt much like a tourist. My affinity for the rive gauche grew, but deep down I’m still a rive droite girl.

THATRue launch!

Last Sunday my Italian and I took to the streets of Paris for a treasure hunt unlike any other, joined by over 30 friends and Paris bloggers. We were searching for the likes of Montaigne and Rimbaud, among other hidden gems. This hunt amidst historic Paris being THATRue, the latest creation by Daisy de Plume, mastermind behind THATLou. You can read about my THATLou adventures here.

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Being a great fan of Daisy’s endeavors at cleverly educating while entertaining the masses on French culture and history, I was honored to be one of the co-hosts along with Forest of 52 Martinis and The Chamber. I designed a THATRue bag for the occasion, to be won & worn by the winning team.

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IMG_8158Our team included Erica of HiP Paris Blog, and though we did not win, we had a blast discovering corners of the left bank none of us had known, and my Italian even sang for us, to earn extra points of course! Though he seemed to enjoy it. As quoted in the latest feature in The Huffington Post, “This new Paris scavenger hunt is the perfect way to see the city.” I could not agree more.

four years!

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Today marks four years in Paris. Hard to believe how quickly time passes, does it ever slow down? Not to labor on all the sentiments, hardships, and celebrations of the last 4 years (though certainly I could), I will simply say that it’s taken this long to feel that Paris is truly my home. Whenever I return to NYC, I embrace the city and it’s chaos, but it is Paris that I long to return to. The calm and culture. And in both cities, I cherish the people. Life is much about the people we share it with, and those that are truly dear, will forever be. Regardless of where life takes us.

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Fittingly, today I took part in a project all about New York in Paris, very proudly of course! More on that later. In celebration of this exciting endeavor and my Paris Anniversary I am giving away a bag! Simply leave a comment with your favorite French word or phrase (who knows, it could appear in my new Paris bag collection) and the bag you’d like to win, from any of the collections: kasiadietz.com

Winner will be selected randomly & announced August 27th! Bonne Chance!

Provence in a bag

In honor of what almost feels like summer in Paris, and simply due to inspiration during my travels in the South of France, my latest handbags are aptly called the Provence Collection. Filled with colors and flowers to brighten up the grayest of days, in Paris or anywhere for that matter. With the help of photographer Louise Chester, these bags came to life and are now available online at www.kasiadietz.com. All bags and totes are reversible, limited edition and of course, made in Paris!

Flowers tote

Flowers tote and matching clutch.

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Colors bag and matching purse.

Colors bag and purse

Wishing all a colorful summer, wherever you may be in the world!

waiting for the spring…

It’s April in Paris, yet spring still feels far away. It’s been tough to stay motivated during this seemingly never-ending winter (I heard it even snowed in France today!) I’m doing my best to keep busy with designing, and am working on a new summer collection (soon to be revealed…). But until then, I wanted to share my latest video, to creatively demonstrate the versatility of my handbags.

To inspire the coming of spring, I’m offering a special promotion to my lovely (and fashionable) readers. Purchase any bag or purse from the Riviera Collection and receive another of your choice, as a complimentary gift! One for you, and one for a friend. Perfect for your summer travel plans!

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Wishful thinking that spring (or at least summer) is right around the corner…

 

L’Amour (or less)

One of the great joys of living as an expat in Paris is that it has exposed me to other like-minded Americans, who equally find their creative voice and pursue their dreams, on French soil. Whether it be in the form of American-style cupcakes, sweet stories, designer pillows, or even treasure hunts in the Louvre, each of these women is following her passion. I am proud to be among them.

Most recently another friend and fellow expat has spoken, this time through film. An actress and film-maker from NYC, Jennifer Geraghty arrived to Paris no more than 2 year ago, and now, she has a few stories to tell. Namely, all about the romantic tales between expats and the French. All true stories, not all her own. Certainly enough to entice any  mademoiselle or monsieur out there who wonders about dating in the French capital! Have a look, listen, and share the love! Jennifer and her collaborator Alexis are in the midst of raising funds via kickstarter to turn these tales into a series of short stories, 12 of which are already written. To learn more, here’s their website.

To add a little incentive in the form of Kasia Dietz handbags, I’ve designed a custom hand-painted tote for those able to donate a generous sum. More info on their kickstarter page

L'Amour (or less) tote by Kasia Dietz

May these tales of LAmour (or less) come to life!

art inspired

These days as the sun sets early and the cold air settles in, I’m busying myself with designing. New Kasia Dietz handbags in the works! The question is, where does this inspiration come from? In a word: art. The sole reason I started my business. And aside from travel, my great love. As I did in NYC, here in Paris I spend as much time as I can carousing galleries and museums, even just stopping in the Pompidou, or in NYC, the MoMA, or in London, the Tate Modern, to visit my favorites. Paul Klee, Mark Rothko, Franz Klein, to name a few. It is these great artists that inspire me in my own, wearable art. Who says art and fashion can’t mix?

I recently featured the master Paul Klee on a guest post for THATlou.

Mark Rothko’s compositions will always bring me simple and natural bliss.

Franz Klein has a way of creating calm out of chaos. Minimalism at its best.

Stay tuned for Spring 2013, new collections of handbags influenced by abstract expressionism.

tastings with a view

Every Fall I look forward to the wine harvest in Montmartre, the Fête des Vendanges. An annual event during which I don’t mind braving the crowds surrounding the Sacré-Cœur Basilica, eager to sample the various regional wines, paired with plentiful samples of cheese and fois gras, bien sûr!

This year my friend Sarah was in town from Rome, a wine aficionado as luck would have it, and she too was eager to indulge her palate in the tastes of France.

Amidst all the tastings there was entertainment and we even ran into Lily of Context Travel, toting her custom Kasia Dietz bag, designed exclusively for Context Travel.

 Our last tasting was vin chaud, a perfect grand finale. Now it was time to enjoy the view.

wearable art

Art and travel. My two great inspirations. And one reason I design, combining these passions into something fashionable and functional. My latest Pop Art collection addresses the more playful side of art and fashion while the Riviera collection transports you to the French and Italian coasts.

The riviera bags speak for themselves, and were shot exactly there, on the Italian Riviera.

To help capture the essence of the pop art bags, I asked none other than art aficionado (and fabulous photographer) Stephanie of La Belle in France. First stop, Palais-Royal! Here are a few favorites from our shoot…

 Untitled. Simply because there are many interpretations.

 City. In the park.

Blue Coils. Very Richard Serra!

Spotlight. Simply because.

To feature these new collections, just in time for spring and summer, I redesigned my website! (Feeling very proud!) This is no easy task, and I would not have been able to do it without the help of my dear designer friend Suzanne, who created her own site, and helped me every step of the way.

To celebrate my relaunch, and to thank you all for your support of my growing business, I’m offering a promotion to my lovely readers and fans. With each purchase of a new Pop Art or Riviera bag receive a complimentary matching purse! (Offer ends June 1st) www.kasiadietz.com

Don’t forget to join us on Facebook and Twitter!

indie elegance

When it comes to French fashion, Paris tends to overwhelm with endless designer boutiques lining the streets, particularly in the Marais. The question is, how NOT to look like all the mannequins peering out the windows, enticing you to fall in love with the latest trend. Not to mention the women parading around the city, an ever changing fashion show. Thus, when I discover an independent designer that suits my (classic with a twist) fashion sensibility, I become a loyal follower.

One such designer I met by chance, as she happens to be my manufacturer’s wife. On first glance of her ‘elegant yet casually chic with just a touch of masculine’ ready-to-wear collections, I was smitten.

Suppan is unique not only in it’s Indo-Austrian roots but in it’s philosophy.

Our approach is to reconsider production standards. We build our collections through a humanistic point of view, starting from the conception up to the manufacturing process and propose a selection of timeless and handmade items in a limited edition, entirely crafted in Paris. We try to distance ourselves and our creative process from cultural and social conditioning and conformity and propose a bare aesthetic, contrasting with fine materials, refined treatments and handcrafted finishing details.

Yes, it’s all about quality and details.

This weekend join us in Paris for a VENTE PRIVÉE, as we showcase our limited edition pieces, womenswear by Suppan and handbags by Kasia Dietz. Many of my new handbags will be featured!

VENDREDI 30 + SAMEDI 31 MARS : 11 H À 20 H

DIMANCHE 1 AVRIL : 10 H À 17 H

9, RUE TAYLOR 10ÈME

London calling

Last week London called. I answered. A quick two hour jaunt via the Eurostar, and there I was.

This city that has always felt like home. Perhaps it’s the dynamic energy felt amidst the international air, much like NYC and certainly something I miss living within the calm and frenchness of Paris. The trip was one of business, as I’m currently working on a new hand-printed London Collection of handbags (where better to conduct market research?), had several shops and showrooms to meet, and equally one of pleasure. Many friends to catch up, exchanging a bottle of red for a pint of cider.

Home became close to Baker Street with a dear friend, Regents Park just minutes away.

I could not avoid central London…

What clever advertising! (Love the classic London cabs, preferably black.)

A walk around Sloane Square and into the world of eggs & Saatchi…

On my last morning I was given a tour of the colorfully posh Primrose Hill.

A walk along the canal beneath London skies, to Camden…

And back again from one world into another.

My trip happily ended in London’s evolving East, Shoreditch.

London has also called Andi of Misadventures with Andi, who just took a gastronomic tour with Context Travel… who knew what a foodie city this was!

learning to fly

A good friend once told me that running a business is much like raising a child. Among other things, a lot of patience and resilience is necessary. Given that she has a child and a successful business, I took these words to heart. Exactly one year later, my child has managed not only to walk but to fly! Certainly the most challenging and rewarding work I have done in my life, and only the beginning.

a girl and her bags by Prête Moi Paris

I have so much gratitude of the past 12 months to express… where to begin? Most noteworthy…

1. My assistant (aka my Italian) has been supportive since day one, always offering solid advice, and even criticism whenever necessary, constructive of course.

2. My network of friends and growing fans keeps me eternally grateful and inspired. Merci à tous!

3. I cannot even list the incredible press I have already received, including Marie Claire, Huffington Post Style, Do it in Paris, Luxsure Magazine… not to mention all the fabulous blog features.

4. Much like I love to travel, so do my bags. They are gaining an international presence, as far away as Malaysia and the Greek Isles. Be sure to enter my travel bag giveaway if you haven’t yet!

5. The French have taken a liking to my aesthetic and I am selling at Le Bon Marché. A great honor!

a little New York in Paris

What’s ahead in 2012 for kasia dietz handbags? Aside from designing new collections and continuing to work on many custom projects, I am always looking for ways to give back, as I did with my Japan fundraiser. In the upcoming months I’m collaborating with a UK company and British filmmaker Fiona Lloyd-Davies to raise awareness and aid abused women in the Congo. Here is a preview of the film and more about the project. A worth cause I am proud to be a part of.

I’m also planning many more handbag painting workshops since the first was a great success!

Lastly and very importantly, friend and bag fan Andi of Misadventures with Andi, is giving away a bag in support of small business owners. (There’s also an interview!) Thank you Andi!

 

travel meets fashion

I love to travel as much as I love designing. Thus, I decided to design a custom travel bag, revealing the three cities closest to my heart. A seemingly easy task, at least for the first two. Paris, since this is now my home and ever since that first visit so many years ago, love at first encounter. New York since it’s where I spent some of the most memorable (and formative) years of my life.

As for the third, that was a challenge. There are many cities I became enamored with, mostly during my journey around the world. Buenos Aires, Hanoi, Ubud (more a town than a city), Sydney, Mumbai, Kyoto, Luang Prabang, Krakow, London, Mexico City… the list goes on. But where was it that stood out in my mind unlike any other? Tokyo. Perhaps because I was there with dear friends on both my first visit and my second. Or perhaps it was due to the freshest sushi I’ve even eaten at 7am after a night of darts and karaoke… or simply, the unique energy and electricity in the air.

Whatever it was, Tokyo won a place on my bag. Along with Paris and New York.

What are your top three?

To make this equally exciting for all fashion savvy travelers out there, I’m giving away one custom hand-painted reversible travel bag to a lucky traveler and fan. With your initials printed on the inside pocket. To enter, leave a comment stating your three favorite cities and join my facebook fan page where I will announce the winner on December 15th. Bonne chance and many a bon voyage!

To order a custom bag or join a bag painting workshop and create your own: info@kasiadietz.com

{inside} art

Art has always provided a source of inspiration, particularly modern and contemporary. Where better to lose yourself but in the mind of an eccentric artist? Lucky for me, I have several friends who moonlight as art connoisseurs, not to mention the artists I have also come to know and collect. One such friend from the early days of New York’s GenArt, invited me to the preview of FIAC, Paris’s grand international contemporary art fair. A reunion at the Grand Palais, parfait!

What contemporary masterpieces did we find within this historic setting? Many.

Beginning with Anish Kapoor.

A literary donkey by Pilar Albarracin.

The humorous and thought provoking Richard Prince.

Even a little ‘walking art’?

My retro tote felt right at home with this Julio Le Parc painting.

This Geneviève Claisse was another favorite.

I was also impressed by these six works by Charline Von Heyl. (Yes, I’m in a black and white phase.)

To end the art tour, a little color infusion with these acrylic on silk paintings by Matti Braun.

New York, New York

New York City. My first love. The one who taught me most about myself. And the one who I will always hold dear. These Paris days, as months turn into years, I look back on my New York chapter with great nostalgia. As a designer and forever a New Yorker, following the success of my Paris Collection, it feels only natural to create a New York Collection to express my affinity. As Paris is becoming a part of me, so too will New York remain. And now (drumroll)… the grand unveiling!

Upside down or rightside up, it’s NY NY!

Forever a downtown girl.

With a high regard for Brooklyn.

Home in the Lower East Side. Available with UES, UWS, Soho…

On the inside a NYC girl. The bag reversed.

All New York bags hand-painted {with love} in Paris. Available soon on my website. If you MUST have one now, contact me at kasia@kasiadietz.com! And let me know your favorite below…

Paris vs New York

Paris and New York. Two cities that could not be more diverse yet equally loved by many. Each a contrast as well as a compliment to the other. Having to choose one that reigns supreme would be impossible. A life between the two, at least to me, is ideal.

I am certainly not alone in this love for both cities. Friend and fellow New Yorker with one foot in Paris Amy Thomas (aka Sweet Freak), recently wrote about an expo of rising star Vahram Muratyan who illustrates with playful sophistication the contrasts between Paris and New York at an exhibition at the trendy Colette. (exhibition ends September 24th)

As a fan of Vahram’s work, seeing it displayed throughout the boutique was a visual treat.

These two are my favorites from the series. Jean-Luc Godard vs Woody Allen, how clever!

Or perhaps these… How about a macaron with an americano?

This was exactly the inspiration I needed as I’m in the midst of designing a hand-printed New York handbag collection to complement my recent Paris collection. Once a New Yorker in Paris, always.

look. read. shop.

One of my favorite shops, which also happens to be in the Northern Marais where I call home, is Ofr., a boutique, bookstore and gallery. Genius! While you are perusing the impressive collection of art and design books, you can stumble into the back gallery and live an art experience. If you are new to Paris, owner Alexandre Thumerelle will guide you, literally, with his very own Guide Paris.

Here too, amidst the fine art photography filled walls,  you can find my hand-printed rive gauche and rive droite bags. A perfect setting for wearable art! And perfect bags to fill with books!

During my last visit I entered the creative vision of artist Jeremy Everett. What exactly did I find?

The American Heritage Dictionary. Unlike I have ever seen it.

Stay tuned for the 15 year Ofr. party on May 20th! And check here for more art events.

bag for cause

What is happening in Japan is unfathomable. I cannot even imagine the struggles for survival these poor people are going through, the loss of lives, homes, even entire villages. In an attempt to aid, in what little I can do, I designed a bag to raise money for a people severely in need.

Please take a moment to make a donation of $10 (7€) or any amount you can offer. My goal is to raise as much money as possible by April 1st and send 100% of the contributions to Red Cross to aid victims of Japan Earthquake and Pacific Tsunami.

You can donate directly to American Red Cross or via paypal (kasiadietz@gmail.com).

As a little incentive, one random do-gooder will be rewarded with this hand-printed bag, a tribute to Japan. In an additional effort, I am also forwarding 50% of proceeds from all bag sales to aid Japan. Stay in touch with other causes and promotions here. Winner will be announced on April 1st!

Leave a comment upon donating and share this link with anyone willing to contribute. Thank you!

sharing the bag love

It’s been 17 days since I launched my new handbag business. I hadn’t planned on writing a post about it, but with so much attention, interest and orders from around the world, I simply can’t resist. Mostly, to thank everyone for all the love and support. Where to begin?

I was honored to be interviewed by friend and fellow expat Lindsey Tramuta of Lost in Cheeseland who writes a weekly column for BitchBuzz, a highly reputed women’s lifestyle site. It’s interesting (and challenging) to delve into your own mind and find out exactly what makes you tick, and in my case, design. Here’s our Q&A: from NY to Paris, also featured on her blog!

Nirit Sumeruk writes a very fashion forward blogazine Paris Popcorn featuring new and emerging trends, my handbags being one of them! She is particularly fond of the Paris Collection and asks the eminent question of anyone living in Paris: are you Rive Gauche or Rive Droite?

Speaking of Downtown/Rive Droite gals, friend and fellow NYer/Parisian (you can surely claim to be both, can’t you?), Amy Thomas of God, I love Paris, has chosen her favorite side, and bag.

My Francophile friend and blogger Andi Fisher of Misadventures with Andi generously included my ‘I heart Paris‘ hand-printed bag in the grand finale of her 12 days of Christmas giveaway. (You still have time to enter, winner will be randomly chosen at midnight PST on December 19th!) It’s also great to know which bags are favorites from both old and new collections!

Little did I know who else was sharing the love. Maggie Battista, part of the lovely HiP Paris blog, is coveting one of my bags on her ‘wish list‘ (perhaps her husband will get the subtle hint?)

I’m very proud to be a featured designer on Swelle Boutique, a showcase of clothing & accessories that bring the dreamy and romantic into our daily lives in tangible, wearable form. How fitting!

Please let me know if I am missing anyone, as I would like to offer personal gratitude.

Stay tuned via my Facebook Fan Page and twitter @kasiainparis (and for special bag promos @kasiadietzbags) for a lot more news and bag love in 2011!

the designing life

Several years ago, inbetween a demanding career and a busy social life, I took one of my creative ideas and materialized it. Literally. I began to print fabric combining my affinity for minimalist designs with prints my mom created in the 70’s. I bought a sewing machine and voilà! Well, not exactly that easy but from those first handbag prototypes, that I so aptly titled ‘wearable art’, reversible no less, my designing life took off. With the help of a good friend, we put together a site and before I knew it I was being interviewed by the Japanese in NYC’s Bryant Park. They loved my hand-printed canvas bags for their uniqueness and versatility, especially the frog bag.

The ferns bag happens to be one of my favorites. Notice my first handmade labels!

In time I expanded my collections to include totes and clutches, the hamptons collection, and began to sell in boutiques all over NY and California. Since then, provence inspired by my travels in France.

Since moving to Paris, the path towards designing has not been an easy one. I faced one hurdle after another, namely finding a manufacturer. Oh, the adventures I have had in this quest! And all of this in a language not my own. Frustrated but determined, I bought another sewing machine and got to work, inspired by my travels and my new life in Europe. Prototypes were created and many an afternoon was spent in the garment districts between Montmartre and the Sentier. As luck or can I say karma would have it, one of my new ‘friends in the fabric world’ Jean-Claude, passed along a few names of local manufacturers, and I followed my instincts. With all the American optimism I could muster, I began production.

Many weeks, language lessons and production schedule revisions later, I am very happy and excited to reveal my latest reversible handbag creations. The tribal collection, inspired by places I have yet to visit and the retro collection, designs that remain timeless. Highlighted by the most beautiful backdrop of all, Paris. (I also designed a hand-printed collection inspired by life in the City of Lights.)

From Ile de la Cité to Place des Vosges, two of my favorite Parisian scenes.

As a big fan of big bags, I expanded on my totes (and clutches) with the earth and sky collection.

My new website is live! Thanks to my web designer, and very patient friend Bernard. I must also thank Evelyn, fellow designer and friend, and of course my Italian for all his business and design advice (who knew he had a knack for colors!). And all those who will soon be gifted with a handbag.

Take a look, order a handbag (just in time for the holidays!), and pass along to everyone you know. For new product updates and special promotions, join kasia dietz handbags on twitter and facebook.