Once in a while, a handbag is made that sings to your soul and calls out to you in a siren trill – “I am special. I am beautiful. Buy me and make me yours.” It’s the kind of item that grabs your eyes and won’t let go. To be able to see anything else again, you absolutely have to take it home.
Presenting the Longchamp Le Pliage “Arbre de Vie” (Tree of Life) Limited Edition for Spring/Summer 2011.
Longchamp Le Pliage Arbre de Vie LE Medium Long-Handle in Navy, 10 x 10 x 5.5 inches
This is one of those must-have arm candy bags that are also eye candy – how’s that for utter sweetness?
Like other Le Pliage models, the Arbre de Vie has a zip closure with one interior main compartment and one large pocket at the back.
The Arbre de Vie also comes in fuschia pink with the Tree in white, and in white with the Tree rendered in black. Visually, the white is more eye-popping than the navy, but the white background would be too high-maintenance for someone with my slapdash habits – the same reason I didn’t go for the Darshan models in fabric canvas, although they are lusciously lavished with pink or yellow flowers on a white ground.
The tree is a powerful image in religion and mythology. In the Bible, Genesis mentions the Tree of Knowledge of Good and Evil and the Tree of Life. The latter was quite another tree and upon the banishment of Adam and Eve from the Garden, was guarded by two angels with flaming swords. In Norse mythology, Yggdrasil, the “World Tree”, is considered sacred and is surrounded by extensive lore.
In Philippine mythology, a Visayan creation myth has the gods creating a giant bamboo from which emerge the first man – Sikalak – and woman – Sikabay. In Tagalog they are known as Malakas (Strong) and Maganda (Beautiful).
There are parallels to the myth in ancient Egypt, China, Japan, Israel, India, Armenia, and Turkey, to mention a few. In fact, the “sacred tree” motif can be found in many more areas around the world and across time.
We carry the same concept of a special tree to this day – the Christmas tree.
I might be reading too much meaning into the design of a highly commercialized luxury item, but that is what is fascinating about signs – that the meaning they hold for one person is different for another. Meaning is what we make of it.
And it’s a really pretty bag.
In the Philippines, Rustan’s Department Store carries authentic Longchamp items. Pink Darshan image here.