Before journeying into the beautiful decay of eternal sleep in 1867, Parisian poet Charles Baudelaire translated the works of his thematic kin, Edgar Allan Poe, and with his own work, vivified the French literary canon. Dark-eyed and of penetrating gaze, he plumbed the depths of beauty, mystery, sensuality, and luxury in pursuit of the undiscovered next. One-hundred and fifty years hence, his epic work, Les Fleurs du mal (Flowers of Evil) resonates still. The final line from his longest poem, “Le Voyage” (The Voyage) translated as “Through the Unknown, we’ll find the new,” perfectly encapsulates the Complete Unknown design philosophy to seek the unseen, the unknown. Adorning shoulder straps hand embroidered boldly in Blackletter, these words offer an aesthetic aperçu of Baudelairean themes and the Gothic influence on Complete Unknown.
The transportive power of the written word dually fascinates us in its capacity to move, figuratively and literally. Poetry moves, sparks emotion. We love the idea of taking it off the page, re-contextualizing it where it was not meant to be. Baudelaire's words embroidered on a handbag strap become at once a slogan and a work of art, distilling all influences and creating a new, unseen language through design far removed from the homespun aphorisms of a crewelwork sampler.
For the bearer, it's an unexpected emblem of poetic sophistication, a flash of unspoken erudition. In concert with the striking beasts embroidered on the bags, it evokes the spirit of the revered poèt maudit and the predatory menagerie haunting his work: leopards, scorpions, and "the wolves dour wails."
It was Baudelaire who introduced the concept of "modernity," and we honor his groundbreaking philosophy with our embroidered-strap bags, an ode to the fearless onward quest for the confident, modern woman.
“Strangeness is a necessary ingredient in beauty,” Baudelaire wrote. We couldn't agree more.
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By: Sharon Pendana
Photographed by: Go Minami
Model: Alanna Gilbert