Paros, Cyclades: a true craftsmanship designer; Christiane Smit

by Venetia Kapernekas

While sailing in the Cyclades islands in August, enjoying the blue water,  during a beautiful hot morning a visit  at  Christiane Smit’s studio in the island of Paros;  a pure craftsmanship  of refined simplicity of  hand stitching marvelous bags.

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Christiane Smit, born in Netherlands, lives and works in Papos island, one of the most beautiful island in the Cyclades, Greece.  She creates leather bags the old fashioned traditional way, using her hands. Each stitch is formed by hand with nothing more than an awl, one needle and a length of waxed linen. Having a passion for natural and organic materials it came natural to her choosing to work with natural dyed hole grain leather form the finest quality showing all original structures and the linen wax wire, which is used in book binding and baskets weaving…

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photos @VK, Christiane Smit’ s studio, Paros, Cyclades

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working

photos@Mike Salis

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basket bag

“It all started all when I fell in love with a piece of skin when I was travelling in Turkey, the most butter soft,  blood red, piece of goat suede just felt as silk in my hands and I started to design a small evening bag, using a vintage Japanese silk cloth as lining and grey sweet water pearls as handles…and the story takes it from there…”

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photos@Christiane Smit

As Christiane says, very few companies can invest the time necessary to hand stitch their items, but the strength and resilience of hand stitching far exceeds the machine made equivalent.

basket bag 2 colours

we women, carry our life in our bags, they should be something more than a product, they should be a  extension of our own soul and personal style. Unique as every woman is.. versatile and honest good…refined simplicity:uncomplicated and pure.. 

Christiane’s “Petite Maison Christiane”, was born in 2011.  Christiane’s women are effortless chic: sophisticated but relaxed and simple.
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Christiane Smit’s inspirations came from living in the Caribbean and travelling through countries as Mexico, Guatemala, Suriname, America and Asia always having a soft spot for all things hand made.

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Christiane is  working only by order and customized so she cannot come out with a collection every season. The designs stay in the collection and she might make a change during time, for example The Basket Bag she did it in two colours, combined and every year or half year she  comes out with a new design. The Basket Bag that has two colours has a lot more stitching than the one colored bag. This bag goes with the summer breeze, bohemian chic, easy to wear from morning till the evening.

“I am passionate about all that’s real, clean and pure things, colour combinations because they created atmosphere. About love and my love for my work, people and working with my clients… enjoying always my passion for hand stitching… craftsmanship and creating”

Christiane Smit studied at University of The Arts London and Amsterdam. She worked  in Amsterdam in High End Jewellery, Bvlgari, Pomellato and Pasquale Bruni and High End fashion, Yohji Yamamoto, Comme des Garcon and Giorgio Armani. Travelling to Paris and Milan selecting collections for the different seasons… Life and her dream brought her to Paros island,  to create and live by the blue sea where she is inspired.

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some  photos were taken that beautiful morning at Christiane’s studio, on August 10th, 2015 in  Paros.

here a great shot by Christos Drazos and words by Maria Alipranti, Christiane Smit in Paros, “The Tide”

 

 

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