Independent interior designer Kristin Lear is one of those people who have the magic touch. Beautiful and stylish herself, Lear has always had an eye for creating lovely spaces filled with the right pieces that are inspired and sophisticated. It’s no wonder that her repurposing of vintage Louis Vuitton bags into beautiful and original jewelry and home furnishings has caught the eye of lovers of vintage style everywhere.
Lear tells me, “I have always loved vintage designer finds, but I would say that it really became a passion when I was living in Argentina and hunting in the flea markets of Buenos Aires. I would visit the San Telmo and Recoleta neighborhoods nearly every weekend.”
Kristin Lear’s own home is filled with vintage treasures from her travels, and she loves incorporating vintage pieces into interior design and window displays for her clientele.
She began designing with a line of handbags that were sold at Baby & Co. in Seattle, and then moved on to the Louis Vuitton Vintage work. She had been collecting worn out Louis Vuitton suit bags she found during her travels and outings, and began reinventing the leather from the old LV into new belts and jewelry. The most important part of the process with the vintage leather, Lear says, is to build the pattern of the pieces she creates around the repeat of the LV monogram. All the pieces are stitched and edge dyed in the Italian style of edge finishing by painting and sanding numerous times and applying heat to smooth out imperfections. She uses German thread and French calfskin from the Tanneries Haas, the same source that is used by companies such as Hermés.
Feeling a little uneasy about the idea of cutting up old LV? One look at these elegant pieces will give you a whole new view of the art of reinvention. Lear’s creativity has lead to a line of home goods in conjunction with her interior design business, including napkin rings and tea lights. New designs include a wine bottle wrap for a hostess gift that can be used as a bracelet when the party is over. You can bet Kristin will be invited to my next soiree….
Lear does windows design for Penelope and the Beauty Bar in the Seattle Fairmont Hotel, Canopy Blue in Madison Park, Four Winds on Queen Anne and at Matthew Culbert Home Furnishings in Sodo. She also designs for individual homes and corporate clients, including Columbia Distributor.
Kristin Lear’s pieces are available for purchase at her Etsy shop LouisVuittonVintage. The designer also does custom design work, and can be contacted at KristinLearDesigns@gmail.com.