A well-traveled handbag lands in Winnetka
Updated: June 4, 2012 11:02AM
There’s room in our world for women who appreciate both the high and lowbrow.
Which means my TiVo is filled with Larry the Cable Guy’s travel show “Only in America” as well as “Downton Abbey” and “Mad Men.”
But I’ll tell you what, Larry’s trip to the largest alligator farm in Georgia prepared me to sit down with luxury handbag designer Be Inthavong at neapolitan collection last month.
He stopped by the boutique to introduce clients to his bags — sold exclusively at neapolitan collection — and to chat zoology, economics and geography with me.
When one wants to make a bag using the centuries-old weaving traditions of Laotian relatives, one has to beg one’s aunt, Inthavong said. For two years.
His family wove silk in Laos until he convinced them to weave Italian leather with silk to create a patented fabric unlike all others.
It takes a master weaver an entire day to weave 3 inches — barring any breaks to the loom. If that happens, the process is stalled for two weeks until it can begin again.
And to get a specialized silvery-gray color one must pluck the wings off an indigenous insect, dry for two weeks, crush with a solvent and soak the silk for days.
Talk about highbrow.