Sunday, October 6, 2013

Hello Chanel, La Première Partie

This is the latest Chanel logo clutch. Isn't it pretty? It's also an item that's price is listed as "by request only." I'm guessing this means it costs more than I make in a year.

So what's a girl to do especially one who is trying to up the fashion ante this year? Well, thanks to the wonderful blogger, Studs and Buttons, I can make my own version out of a pencil box and legos. You read that right - a pencil box and legos.

I stumbled upon Studs and Buttons through a Buzzfeed post (I know, I know) about making accessories out of legos. I love legos. Legos were something that my brother and I (and our dad) enjoyed when we were kids. We could actually play together when legos were involved. Even as adults we still give each other lego presents sometimes and we made our dad a tank a few years ago as a Christmas present (I think it was Christmas). Anyway, legos are so much fun so when I saw that Buzzfeed post my mind went into overdrive and I decided I would make the purse.

In November, I will be attending my company's annual company meeting/awards show/adult prom. We call it the H'Oscars and this year we have a black and white theme. I have a pretty basic black cocktail dress that I plan to wear and figured that I'd use this opportunity to consider the role of accessories in my fashion life. I don't typically wear a lot of jewelry so I've decided to focus on the shoes and a purse. Nothing screams semi-formal event more than a black and white lego purse.

Phase One: Supply Gathering and Design

Here's the supply list:
  • Assorted legos
  • A plastic pencil box (I opted for a standard size but am planning to do one that's smaller in the future)
  • Sand paper (to smooth out the edges of the pencil box)
  • Spray paint (I'm using a paint/primer combo in shiny black)
  • Glue (I'm using a spray glue and a permabond glue similar to super glue - I don't want those legos to break off)
  • Fabric to line the box - Studs and Buttons made an excellent point about noise in a plastic box. He used felt; I'm using a more luxe fabric and creating an interior pocket - go sewing skills!

I stopped by the Lego Store at Potomac Mills mall last weekend and bought some black and white legos to get started. I also found my childhood stash of legos while at my parents' house. I have a ridiculous amount of black and white legos and thanks to my hoarding, I have some pretty fun shapes and interesting pieces that I think will help make my design pop. Studs and Buttons's design is much more like the Chanel bag; I want to play with dimension and shape so mine will be more 3D. That's the point of legos right? Pumpkin "helped" me complete step one: sorting my legos. I organized them size and type (hello OCD). I have easy access to all of my pieces as I design.

Friday, I started to focus on the actual design. I don't draw (my skills are horrifyingly bad). I attempted a design drawing when I was waiting for my training group to arrive. Here is the mildly embarrassing result:

My original thought was to use some of the odd shaped pieces like archways to build a more 3D design than what Studs and Buttons did for his version. I like the idea of dimension and since this is supposed to be the accessory for my outfit, it should be big and bold. What my terrible drawing is supposed to show is borders of thinner legos leading to the four archways that would have a propeller with flowers attached. So it's 3D and it moves.

I tried to execute the design I drew last night. It didn't quite work the way I envisioned it in my head (or in my poorly drawn design). The archways don't meet up in a way that would make it easy to attach the propeller and I was thinking that even with glue it might not stay together so well. I haven't totally given up on this design idea I just have to play with it more. The best way to design anything with legos is to just build it. I think that was the point of legos (at least it was when I was a child). You don't have to follow the instructions if you don't want to. Then I attempted to make a flower but I'm finding that flowers and the pieces I have aren't 100% compatible. Scale wise, that flower is way too big for the purse. Smaller versions look weird and the more 3D flower designs I found online won't work on a purse.
After my failed attempt at making the archways happen, I found some other interesting shaped pieces and came up with a flatter design but it still has some pop. Here's the third design of the night:

It's interesting and looks vaguely like something Chanel might add to a plastic purse that costs more than I make in a year (allegedly). I need to spray paint the box to get the full effect of the design but I like this concept. I think it will pop. I could also incorporate a few additional touches in white along the sides. Or leave it the way it is. I have to walk away from it for a few days, let the design sink in before I start the next phase: paint and construction. I can always pull out the legos and try again if it doesn't end up working for me. That's the beauty of legos - you can always take it apart and start over again.

Tune in later this month for Hello Chanel, La Deuxième Partie - the finished product.

Chanel purse photo 

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