Introducing Lara D’s bags – An artisanal fashion find

by Katie on December 21, 2011

Lara D’ has been making her ultra individual bags for the past two years stumbling on the idea of making these artisan works when she came across fabulous prime quality textiles in the markets, boot sales and charity shops of West London where she resides. At the time of starting out on her new business, Lara was looking for a change from her profession as client relationship manager and thought she’d capitalise on her creative skills.  Says Lara, ‘I’d always been a magpie, collecting beautiful objects and inspiration in the world’s unusual or backwater stores” And she should know, as Italian by birth, Lara has lived in most corners of the globe including the deep south of the USA, Argentina, Venezuela, France and, of course, Italy. Now firmly settled in London and a regular on the vibrant art scene, Lara looks for inspiration from art as well as fashion.
Lara was given a bag from The Ritz in South Beach and used this all purpose bag every day and for all occasions as it was incredibly multi-purpose. With this at the back of her mind, Lara’s first bag design was made from a re-purposed colourful floral bedspread sourced from a  local charity shop which she still uses on a daily basis. There really was no pattern so it was a true prototype which soon drew admiring glances from many of the Bohemian set that Lara meets on her frequent travels.

“Well, after the numerous comments, I just had to start making more….” says Lara laughing. Her bags in come in three sizes:- A utility tote (large) which is perfect for weekender, gym, shopping, baby nappy bag and the perfect carry-on luggage. The medium size (or the Lara D Petite as its known) is a commuter bag which is ideal as an addition to the urban woman’s working life and requirements – books, shopping and the masses of debris lugged around London.  The third size, ‘the bucket bag’ came to being as a natural evolution from listening to her customers and has a circular base with a 10 inch diameter and is the choice for everyday use. 

What makes Lara D’s bags so special is that they are each individually designed so are unique and a work of art in themselves. Lara uses luxury fabric remnants mixed with vintage finds to create each piece’s individuality. In fact, each bag has two distinct personalities as they are fully reversible. More bang for your buck.
Lara continues to source fabric from recycling centres, charity shops and boot sales and has discovered some rare materials and finds in her travels. Her biggest finds have included original Liberty & Co William Morris fabric, a 1960s William Morris Chrysanthemum fabric cut and a mint condition confederate flag that she’s still storing for future use. Lara also has a source and access to discarded film set materials and luxury kimono pieces from a feudal Japanese feature movie have found themselves in her bags. Lara is proud of her motto, “recycle, reuse, repurpose with style.”
What gives Lara a buzz about her range is the admiration they draw and seeing her customers use them as their main handbag. To date Lara D doesn’t have a major outlet which is a crying shame as this is the type of artisanal craft work that’s begging to be stocked by Liberty, Fenwick, Graham & Green or Net-A-Porter.

Says Lara “I just hope that my work continues to give my customers as much pleasure as I have in finding and assembling the unusual ingredients.” 


Prices range from £30 to £50 depending on size for the ready-made versions and commissions are priced individually on request.


Lara D can be contacted at barefoot-contessa@usa.net and her work can currently be seen at www.Laradhandcraftedbags.blogspot.com and in the windows of Craft Central at 33-35 St John Square ,EC1 until 3rd January 2012.

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