To say that I’ve been stalking Dione Collection around Bangkok would be a bit of an understatement. Every time I see someone wearing with the clutch, I run up and talk to them. I was a very lucky girl one day when the lady I ran up to just so happened to be the designer herself. Win.
When I first saw the Dione clutch it was being carried by a blonde. I think it was the contrast of seeing such a traditional Thai print, being worn by such a western woman that had me instantly intrigued. After all, I myself am blonde and in love with everything Thai.
I learned from this initial encounter that Dione was made by a French designer and this had me totally hooked. Not only had I never before experienced the use of traditional Thai weaving outside of those “touristy” Thai handicraft markets/stores, but it wasn’t even being created by someone who was Thai. This was exciting. I needed to know the story behind Dione.
When I finally got the opportunity to sit down and have coffee with Clara, Dione’s founder and designer, it was a pretty good moment for me. I was basically going to drill her for all information regarding, what I later learned, was the clutch called “Alessandra” (said the French way, obviously).
The Alessandra clutch is created from what was originally a hand-woven blouse made by the Pwo-Karen tribe in the Sop-Moei district of Thailand. This rural community exists in the north west, next the river bordering Myanmar. To get there from Bangkok you first take a flight, then a car and then a tiny boat. It’s a mission. It’s utterly secluded.
In this village, the people hand weave their own blouses, which they wear until they are worn out. Clara described to me that they will typically weave about 20 in their lifetime, which makes this particular print both extremely special and very exclusive. Not only is this item very limited, but every step of the weaving process occurs within the village, including the thread making, dying and finally, the weaving. It doesn’t get more local than that.
In Bangkok, a modern city where tradition is seemingly forgotten, I find it truly refreshing to wear something so cultural, yet combined into a contemporary piece. When I hold the “Alessandra” clutch in my hands, I can literally feel the long hours spent creating the thread, dying it different colors and finally weaving it into this beautiful print.
To me, this isn’t just a clutch, but a symbol of a rich history that still exists in the rural parts of this country that I love. This bag represents a group of people who still live and breathe the traditions that are slowly being forgotten. This is why I love my Dione.
Shop Dione online here. They just launched a bag version that I am absolutely in love with too!
Shoes: Converse – Skirt: H&M – Glasses: Ray Bans
Photos by Pierre Blake