I met Kasia Dietz earlier this year in one of my favourite East Village coffee shops, Mud, during one of her visits back home to NYC. A former New Yorker now living in Paris, over lattes designer Kasia and I talked about the differences between American and European cultures, what makes a place a ‘home’, the challenges of living away from family and friends and of forging new relationships, and our love of fashion.
Kasia is the founder of Kasia Dietz handbags and writer of Love in the City of Lights, her delightful blog chronicling life in Paris: her adventures in art, fashion, food, design, romance and travel. She calls it the memoirs and musings of a hopeful romantic, and romantic is it – Kasia recently married her Italian fiance in a beautiful wedding ceremony by the sea, you can see pictures here on her blog. I fell in love with her unique canvas totes – individually hand printed and reversible in style – above I’m carrying my bag from her New York Collection
Kasia recently launched a new Black and White Collection that I want to share with you. Inspired by the simplicity and elegance of lines, the collection of floral and retro totes and clutches is now available to purchase on Kasia’s website, currently with an offer for 30% off, an absolute bargain. In the day time you’ll often find me carrying a tote, they’re the perfect size for my reading materials and easy to carry. My NYNY bag hasn’t left my side since I bought it
I also asked Kasia a few questions about her life and work that I’d like to share with you below:
Kasia, what is the philosophy behind your designs?
My belief in the permanence of art and design combined with my passion for visual expression has led me to create what I call ‘wearable art’, mostly pertaining to my hand-printed handbag collections. I added the reversibility element as a play on the duality of human nature, one side more subtle and the other more loud.
You lived in America (New York City) before moving to Paris to live. What is it like to straddle US and European cultures?
I will forever remain a New Yorker, regardless of where I live, perhaps even more so in Paris considering it’s impossible to become Parisian. Both will remain home to me.
What do you think are the main differences between US and European style?
America is much more a consumer driven society where trends often dictate style. Europeans tend to shop less often and purchase more timeless items that will remain in their closets for decades, thus their look is often more classic with detail on accessories.
Tell us about the designers do you most admire, and why
If I had to choose my most revered designer from history (considering I’m a big fan of vintage), Yves Saint Laurent both for his enduring vision of timeless elegance and liberation of a more casually clad and confidant woman.
What one fashion item could you not live without?
Perhaps this is a bit of a French cliché, but I could certainly not run around Paris the way I do without my repettos! The ideal classic, comfortable (and chic) shoe.
Tell me about your state of mind…
Excited for what is and anticipatory for all that is still to come.
You have travelled a lot. What impact does this experience have on your life and work?
I feel much more grounded in my life, having travelled so extensively. That being said, I don’t ever want to stop travelling! In regards to my work, I have developed a certain aesthetic based on the many cultures I’ve been exposed to, and have discovered a renewed love for nature and the environment.
How did you end up in this profession?
Ever since I can remember I loved to draw, write, sew, design. In a word: create. As an adult, out of that childhood passion my first few hand-printed collections were born. And voila!
Tell me a secret.
My other favorite form of expression is the written word. Maybe you already knew that.
You can find out more about Kasia on her blog. To see her full range of handbag and tote designs, visit her website here.
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