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.
I 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!
Art 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.”
Delaunay’s textiles varied greatly from the naturalistic designs popular in the early 1920s. Her fabrics incorporated geometric shapes, often with strong, bold colors.
I 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.
“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.” Sonia’s vision was uniquely vibrant. For her “color is the skin of the world”.
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.
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.
Last Sunday I attended, assisted and feasted at a grand brunch for 25, with David Lebovitz as the guest of honor. The hostess was Laurel of 13-a baker’s dozen, one of my favorite lunch spots in Saint Germain, with home cooked specialties. Also, my first choice for coffee and dessert (specifically Laurel’s famous carrot cake). This too is one of the locales where I hold my bag painting workshops.
Friends uniting over food and conversation. An ideal Sunday.
In mid 2013, I met a French journalist who had in 2011 spent 6 months living in New York City. This experience changed her life. Upon returning to Paris she was filled with new ideas and dreams, having gained the “we can do it” attitude from life in the big apple. In September 2011, Noélie Viallet joined forces with Kamal Ben Saïd and together they launched www.paris-newyork.tv, for their shared love of New York and America. Following the success of that project, Noélie spent the next few years working on a book, expressing her affections for all things American, in Paris.
We met to speak about my handbags, as a New York designer now living in Paris, and our conversations quickly led to life between here and there. I enjoyed speaking with Noélie and was impressed with her ambitious projects! Needless to say, I’m honored to be included in Le Guide des USA à Paris, which was recently published and can now be found in bookstores all over Paris and on Amazon.com. All photos by photographer Pierre Olivier Signe.
Included within the pages are many fabulous addresses for all things USA, including food, fashion, culture… Among them fellow New Yorkers and friends Suzanne Flenard of Square Modern, Daisy de Plume of THATLou (and now THATRue) and Kristen Beddard Heimann of The Kale Project.Thank you Noélie, for the courage to experience my country & culture and to share it with yours!
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.
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!
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!
Wishful thinking that spring (or at least summer) is right around the corner…
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…
May these tales of L‘Amour (or less) come to life!
On my many past visits to Paris, it wasn’t the scholarly air of the Latin Quarter or the history of Montparnasse that captured my heart, or even the chic appeal of Saint-Germain, though I appreciated and admired these districts to no end. It was undoubtedly the cobbled streets and charm of the Marais, untouched by Baron Haussmann, that always felt like home. And so it became.
Now, over three years since I call the Marais my home, or NoMa (North Marais) as I refer to it, I have officially become a local. How do I know this? It’s as clear as the words on a page. I’m honored to be featured in the latest Lonely Planet Paris, my most revered and respected of guide books. Traveling all over the world with these books tucked safely in my bag, little did I ever think I’d be included within their pages. As a local handbag designer no doubt. (Also mentioned on pg 315) This is so terribly exciting!
In more good news, the Marais will continue to be called home for much time to come. My Italian and I have recently embarked on a new project, (also called searching for real estate in Paris), and after viewing over 50 apartments within 6 months and beginning to lose faith, we finally found our nest! And in NoMa of all places, exactly where we wanted to remain. More news on project nest in the weeks ahead… These days there is much to celebrate!
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?
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.