"Those who have experienced Paris have advantage over those who have not. We are the ones who have glimpsed a little bit of heaven, down here on earth." - Deirdre Kelly

Monday, November 12, 2012


"...accessories are the key to her personal style...
She is uninterested in the latest IT bag,
but very keen to find the iconic bag for her."
- Ines de la Fressange, Parisian Chic

Understandably, spending so much time in Paris has completely altered my fashion sense and my personal style. I've been especially inspired by the idea that you can and should infuse your own sense of style into every part of your wardrobe.

Case in point: for the past several years, I've been using a plain, cheap vinyl tote for my professor's bag. It's large, sturdy and roomy with enough pockets to hold everything my little professor's heart could desire. But it was...plain, cheap (in look and feel) and unimaginative - so not Diva! I started thinking: why can't my everyday bag be practical and fantabulous?

I searched everywhere (in Paris and Stateside) and I had very precise parameters: colorful, unique, large, sturdy, with a gazillion pockets. And I wanted it to be constructed in such a way that I could throw in my camera and an extra lens if I wanted to (for more on camera bags, see here). I searched and searched, then I searched some more - no joy. If it was the right size, it was too plain; if it had enough pockets it was too small - I'm telling you, I was starting to feel like Goldilocks (or maybe Nappy-locks would be more appropos ;-} In the end, I decided that the only option was to design it myself and have it made. I even had a conceptual theme: Marie Antoinette meets Harry Potter. And I knew just where to go...

A quick search on Etsy led me to Molly Pepper (proprietress of Yoga Bee Vintage). Molly is a self-taught sewing artist extraordinaire. And her hand sewn/hand embroidered carpet/tapestry bags are pure magical whimsy. Better yet, when I told her my concept she totally got it: what I wanted, what I was trying to do - and she didn't think that I was crazy ;-}

Molly and I spent an entire day furiously convo-ing back and forth (I love the internets!). And after her first reply, Molly and I became fast friends. We began by deciding the 'simple' parts of my bag: the overall look/design and the dimensions. Next, since Molly literally builds a bag piece by piece, I had my choice of 30+ of the most sumptuous tapestry fabrics (some she created herself, others vintage bolts from her magic chest), 15+ trims, and a mind boggling selection of hardware - who knew that a bag had so many parts? Molly graciously agreed to photograph her creation of my dream bag, step by step...

After I selected the many pieces of tapestry & fabric for my bag, Molly created this gorgeous preview collage. Note that the stunning blue peacock fabric is one of her custom designs.

One side of the pocket filled interior.

One of the exterior panels

Finished - Gorgeous!

Plenty of space and pockets

Molly also made an amazing makeup case too.

I LOVE my bee-autiful bag. Love it so much that I had to have a another smaller one. This one pure Paris...

The palette...

Molly used this piece of silk, that she handpainted,
for the interior pocket.

Et Voila!

Baby Bee in Paris

Baby Bee in Paris

Molly's bags are so beautifully made, so perfectly perfect that, when I was looking for a few evening bags of course there was only one place for me to go...

Blue Rose

Peacock Cut Velvet Clutch & Matching Coin Purse

In finding my iconic bag/accessory, I actually found several. Molly pays meticulous attention to detail, quality, beauty and fantasy. She was willing and eminently able to take my concepts and create gorgeous one-of-a-kind pieces of art that also just happen to serve as my purses. They are totally unique, lovely, Parisian...me. I wear one of my iconic bags everyday - thanks Molly!

If you want one of Molly's amazing creations for your very own, go to Yoga Bee Vintage - and tell her that I sent you ;-}

Vivre! Rire! Aimer!



  1. Gorgeous bags! I'd be thrilled to have Molly Pepper make me a chenille or cut velvet diaper bag! :)

  2. Breath-Taking...I have seen pictures of her bags before. They look to be of supreme quality and would make any gal feel like a queen! I would want a light to medium pink color cut velvet (about the color of the Petunia Pickle Bottom Strawberry Lace Cake diaper bag--that I always wanted but never was able to buy). I would want the bag to be a diaper bag and the overall size, strap drop,and shape of the Petunia Pickle Bottom Hampton Holdall--but in a pink cut velvet (with the sturdy YogaBee zipper) large zippered middle interior opening and the deep large pocket on each side of outside of bag. The inside would have a pocket for small mommy items, and be lined with one of her amazing vintage looking fabrics with a pink pattern. I would be talking about this bag, and others would too!

  3. LOVE YogaBee!! I have a small clutch and can't get over how beautiful and well made it is! I would LOVE to have a larger purse with interior pockets and an exterior for phone, zippered top and long enough straps to pick it up and get it on my shoulder easily. I would love the outside to be black/grey with a pop of bright green or purple in the interior and perfect for everyday use! Lovely article and your custom bags are of course gorgeous! Fingers crossed ;)

  4. YogaBee bags are so beautiful! I loved her special signatures with her bags. The material is the finest. I would love a computer bag with lots of room for a day planner, folders and computer. pockets for pens, phone, keys etc. You are the best!

    1. Hello YogaBee, it took me a while to post this so sorry I did not identfy myself. It's Theresa! Love the bag the kids bought me for my birthday.

  5. I would like to see a design of a victorian flowered, colbolt blue, back pac to carry my lunch to work in. I should have small side pockets to carry a water bottle, phone, keys, and credit cards. Inside should be lined with a material that could be wiped out with a damp cloth. It should be a back pack that has only one shoulder strap instead of the two typical straps on back packs. Have fun with this one!

  6. Anyone that you recommend so highly has GOT to be good, Temple! The photographer Chris Dimock is one example. And now Molly! She is an artist with fabric and I would love to have one of her bags. My idea is a little different from other themes on Molly's website, but I hope she finds it an intriguing artistic challenge. I have been reading "Beautiful Girls" and its sequel "Dreams of Joy" by Lisa See. My bag would be inspired by 1930's Shanghai and the "Beautiful Girl" paintings created to sell products during that time. I would like my bag to have a "secret" pouch in which I can wrap my drawing pencils and paint brushes. It should also fit a sketchbook approximately 12 x 14. I would like it to have a sling-style strap that allows the bag to hang on one shoulder resting on the opposite hip. Tied or sewn to one strap, I would like to have some small charms: a palette, the Eiffel tower (Shanghai was known as the Paris of the East), and other little chochkies. The bag, at least the inside, should be washable because art supplies get messy!

    1. Dee,

      WOW! I LOVE this design concept. I hope that Molly makes it and adds it to her line. Bonne Chance!

      Love you Honey! XO-T

  7. LOVE LOVE LOVE your bag from Molly! It's gorgeous. I have a bunch of her makeup cluches, a phone case and a coin purse. I want to eventually get a larger bag like yours :)

    1. Jeinay,

      Get a large one asap. I LOVE mine, can't live w/o it. Bonne Chance!



  8. The bags are simply gorgeous. However, I really want to buy set of your Judith earrings, darlin, (the full length ones with the gold background)

  9. It is SUCH a joy reading all these wonderful responses! You gals are sooo creative! What fun! Here's hoping ladies!!!!!!
    One more day. :)
    Much Love,
    Molly Pepper

  10. I'm also loving your bags! They are beautiful! I would love a purse that I could easily take from day to night, not to big but could fit a couple diapers in :) Maybe in black and plum shades, Some of the beautiful cut velvets!

  11. Here's another plug for a kiss-lock closure cosmetics clutch. Love the article! Fab, as always. :)

  12. I would love a bag that combined cut velvet and leather. Something larger than a PPB CC but not as big as the HH. A matching case to hold diapers and wipes would be a plus. Beautiful work!!

  13. Great review! Those are beautiful bags!


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