I was not even aware that these delightful handbags, covered in brightly colored, smiling kitties, even existed, until I happened by accident to find a Laurel Burch catalog, almost 20 years ago. I immediately knew that I had to own at least one, and now have accumulated a nice little collection of very practical, wearable, handbag art.
I am also a cat artist, which is why I so appreciate the color and design qualities of Laurel's work. Laurel Burch, who began to produce her art way back in the 1960's, eventually developed an extensive line of products ranging from cloisonne earrings - many of which are considered "collectibles" today - to scarves and fabrics, leather goods and luggage, and even lovely hand-carved wood cats, produced in Bali. I was actually able to visit one of the "wood carver" villages there, Ubud, while we were stationed overseas, and hand-carried several carved kitties back home with me.
But to return to the handbags...I am a handbag junkie. Unlike shoes, they do not have to fit; everybody needs a number for various purposes, so a handbag is not s dust-collector. And a Laurel Burch handbag is always a conversation piece-not to mention, a means to instantly identify another cat-lover!
These handbag designs are ever-evolving; there are always new offerings for each fashion season. Laurel Burch created innumerable original cat paintings, and her company is currently adapting these art works to suit their handbag designs.
The summer kitty designs vibrate with bright fuschias and reds, hot pinks and shades of turquoise; see the "Cat Mask Tote" and "A Bunch of Love Tote". Laurel Burch fall handbag designs are richly toned, with earthy oranges and purples, classic black, and gold and bronze metallics. The "Dogs and Doggies Patchwork" shoulder bag which we offer illustrates some of these autumn tones.
One innovation, just this past year, was to add a cat silhouette to the top part of a handbag, with a duo or trio of cat ear cutouts, adding a new touch of whimsy to this line of handbags. The "Fat Cats" handbag shows off the cat's perky ears.
Another style improvement has been to add beaded embellishment to her handbags and toe bags, especially effective with the new "ethnic" styles. See Laurel's "Whiskered Cats Drawstring Tote", as an excellent example of beading and multi-layered applique. This is one of her most colorful designs to date!