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Egyptian Brand Lei Turns Iconic Art Into Chic Bags

New bag label Lei’s ‘Art Semplice’ debut collection draws from iconic artworks and translates them into wearable designs.

If any pop culture phenomenon cemented the concept of the ‘it’ bag, it was the original, Y2K-era ‘Sex and the City’. There, in co-starring roles, were iconic pieces like Dior’s Saddle Bag and Fendi’s Baguette. In fact, baguette-style bags have been all the rage in the past two years. But the latest ‘it’ bags aren’t defined by look-at-me logos or hefty price tags. Instead, savvy trendsetters are seeking anonymity and accessibility. Borrowing from that same 2000s-inspired style, new bag label Lei’s ‘Art Semplice’ debut collection draws from iconic artworks and translates them into wearable designs.


The products reflect the most iconic aspects of the paintings, abstracting them to their bare and simplified essence. Inspired by Salvador Dalí’s ‘The Persistence of Memory’, Sandro Botticelli’s ‘The Birth of Venus’, and Kazimir Malevich’s ‘Black Square’, the bags' shapes, textures, and colours are simplified reinterpretations of the signature features of these classic artworks. The photoshoot's set design also recreates the paintings, capturing the main elements in a modern simplistic feel. In not-so-subtle fashion, Dalí’s melting clock is featured in the backdrop of their editorial shoot, as well as ‘The Birth of Venus’ signature oyster shell, and of course Malevich’s solid black square.

 

“I’ve been determined to create a brand of my own for a long time, but every idea I had didn’t seem right until I created Lei. Lei is a brand that creates a link between art and everyday wearable products,” Nadine Darwish, the 21-year-old founder, tells @SceneStyled. “The brand name is a simple and feminine three letter word, mirroring the brand’s personality. It translates into ‘she’ in Italian, which could refer to those carrying the bags or the bags themselves.”

 

The collection’s name, ‘Art Semplice’, means ‘simplified art’ in Italian. This couldn’t be more accurately translated than in the bags’ names. The first, Dalí, borrows from the Spanish artist’s misshapen lines to create the asymmetrical front flap. Venus, inspired by Botticelli’s classic work, draws on the feminine power portrayed in the painting. Finally, the Kazimir bag embraces simplicity and timelessness present in the original Futurist artwork.