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Natalie Portman's 'Lolita' clutch

December 4, 2010 |  8:00 am

Natalieportman_lolita Natalie Portman showed up at the New York premiere of "Black Swan" with a long black Dior gown, immaculate Dior makeup, and a purse made out of a copy of "Lolita" by Vladimir Nabokov.

The purse is by French designer Olympia Le-Tan. Her book bags feature a hand-stitched version of the books' covers, usually of titles or editions from the mid-20th century.

"Catcher in the Rye" by J.D. Salinger,
"A Streetcar Named Desire" by Tennessee Williams, "Strip-Tease" by Georges Simenon, "Moby Dick" by Herman Melville, "Nineteen Eighty-Four" by George Orwell, "Dracula" by Bram Stoker and "Letters to a Young Poet" by Rainer Maria Rilke are among the purses in her two first lines.

The British newspaper the Telegraph has a slideshow of Olympia Le-Tan's clutches, with a peek inside "Lolita" (it's a snazzy purple-and-green print).

Each comes in a very limited edition of 16 purses. And according to her website, Olympia Le-Tan clutches are available in the U.S. in only two New York stores.

Le-Tan's purses may be one of the hottest things on the red carpet right now -- another one went to the Harry Potter premiere in the hands of French actress Clemence Poesy -- but for most of us, the cost is out of reach. A Le-Tan purse costs about $1,250.

Of course, book-style purses are nothing new. Last year we found books-turned-purses for sale on Etsy. And for the truly crafty, we also linked to a video guide for making your own.

Just one thing: if you're going to rip all the pages out of a classic like "Lolita," don't cheat yourself: read it first.

-- Carolyn Kellogg

Photo: Natalie Portman at the "Black Swan" premiere Nov. 30 in New York. Credit: Evan Agostini / Associated Press

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