Creativity Corner Inspirational People

miss lecroc

January 14, 2012

Today i want to introduce you to my dear friend and supertalented french artist nathalie lecroc, known as miss lecroc. I first came across nathalie by reading an article in the sunday times back in 1999. It showed gorgeous watercolour paintings depicting the content of handbags, part of a project to paint 1001 bags before publishing them in a book. I was hooked and started obsessively calling the parisian number listed. After a few attempts i got hold of miss lecroc and just blurted out that i was due in paris the following week.

Can you paint my bag and it’s content, i begged? We couldn’t coordinate diaries but natalie promised she would come to london in the next few weeks and that we would meet! I am happy to say she kept her promise, i got my unique watercolour painting and we have been firm friends ever since, staying at each others homes in paris and london. These days nathalie lives in the beautiful french countryside with her gorgeous husband and their son.

I spoke to nathalie this morning and hope you enjoy the interview: but first have a look at my very own precious watercolour painted for me by nathalie back in 1999 when we first met. I will always cherish that day. Merci nathalie, je t’adore!

 

Why did you choose handbags? The handbags were not an obsession for me. Instead, my interest was to examine the contents of the handbags and to paint them… to discover the secret life of women and men.

Have you always been creative? When I was a little girl I would prefer to draw in the classroom rather than to play in the playground. I have been drawing ever since.

How did you first start painting handbags and who was the first owner? It was june 1998, during a private view in my old collective studio. It was for a group exhibition with 11 artists of my generation. The first bag painted was my own. I numbered it #0000. I wanted to show the process to the public. The second person was a japanese student. During that evening, i drew around 15 paintings, until midnight! It was tiring but very exiting. I discovered that the most interesting aspect was the process of the encounter.

Does looking at people’s contents tell you a lot about the owner of the bag? It’s like portraits. You imagine the personalities behind the bags. The content gives you an insight into the owners world! Some are poetic, some strickly practical and others in disorder.

Can you list the most common items that people carry? The items you’ll always find in bags are purses, keys and now mobile phones. Can you believe i still don’t have a mobile phone or website?

Can you describe your clients? My clients are 90% women, aged between 25-40. They range from entrepreneurs, fashion editors, designers to bloggers, stylists and students. They like design, fashion, interiors and accessories and tend to live in cities. I would like to paint more bags belonging to men, but understand that bags and the subject matter of showing your content is more of a women’s thing. The project can appeal to everybody, be it men, children or even babies, not just women.

Have you encountered some unusual items in people’s bags? A real little fox terrier named coco in a coco chanel quilted bag in las vegas. I discovered an odd little piece of sandwich, a model boat, a hulla dress, firecrackers and a huge stack of banknotes in a bag in paris.  Oh yes, and an electric hair remover.

You were invited by Chanel to paint in their stores? Yes, I went to chanel boutiques in chicago, dallas, hawai, las vegas, new york and san francisco. They asked me to paint the content of their customers bag. It was a funny yet enriching experience. There was me, the girl living in brittany, stepping out of a limousine in new york for all these rich ladies in chanel. What was interesting to see was how american women all carried some sort of breath freshener or mints. Europeans appeared obsessed with lucky charms and trinkets or coins to get them through the day.

What’s in your handbag today? I am carrying a stephane verdino bag. Inside i have a small vintage japanese kimono bag with a chinese silk case holding hand cream, homeopathic drops, a lip chap stick, a lipstick, a small perfume spray bottle, given to me by heidi klum (which I have now refilled with new perfume), chewing gum, kleenex tissues, tampax, rings. I also have a cath kidston purse, a rather old wallet that needs replacing, a camera, a colourful foldable shopper, a tape measure, a rain hat, wollen gloves, a well used agenda that is falling apart and some pens and pencils.

How many bags will you paint and which number have you reached?
I will stop when I reach #1001. I am about to paint #811

Can you talk about the book you’re putting together?
I plan to publish the 1001 paintings in a book. The book will tell of the adventure of all my meetings and encounters. It will take the form of me talking about the evolution of this project and recount some anecdotes.

Can you explain the process of how people can get in touch and have their bags content painted by you? Well, since I have had my son I don’t travel in the same way. So that people from all over the world can have access to a painting, i now offer a postal service: they get in touch, we exchange email addresses. I then send them the A5 watercolour card i use that has the stamped number on it, ie #830. Every client signs their painting so that’s why i pre-send it. They then send back the signed card with photographs of their bag and content and some notes describing their possessions and what they mean to them. That’s it. I will then send the original painting by registered post. The cost, all in is €150…

To contact miss lecroc, email pypaul[at]club-internet.fr

photograph of nathalie lecroc : germinal roaux

images of watercolour paintings all copyright nathalie lecroc

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41 Comments

  • Reply ursula (room to bloom) January 14, 2012 at 6:40 pm

    I love these paintings and I love people like Nathalie who hone into such mondaine things and make them extraordinary! Thanks for sharing Tina, it’s great to get to know a bit more about the creators of such little wonders.

    • Reply tina January 14, 2012 at 6:52 pm

      Thanks, Ursula. She is totally unique and special…

  • Reply Chi @ Carousel January 14, 2012 at 8:02 pm

    Tina, you do have the most wonderful and glamorous encounters! In blogging terms, you and Erin must have been separated at birth. 😉

    What an incredible story and a lovely introduction to Nathalie’s work. I am truly smitten – and envious of your painting!

    Yet another snippet of gorgeousness to add to my wishlist – thank you! 😀

    • Reply tina January 14, 2012 at 11:22 pm

      Thank you Chi:) I am glad you enjoy Nathalie’s work. I have been smitten ever since I met her. I will, at a later stage, blog about another artist. Nathalie’s work will be featured in that post so something to look forward to, I hope!

  • Reply Kate-Louise January 15, 2012 at 7:45 pm

    How lucky to have your very very on Miss Lecroc! Lovely post – really enjoyed it xKx

    • Reply tina January 15, 2012 at 8:21 pm

      I knew you would like. Pleased you enjoyed. Look forward to seeing you tomorrow x

  • Reply annie January 16, 2012 at 6:30 am

    Wow Tina those are so beautiful and you’re so lucky to have your own one! Well done you for making that happen. What a lovely little bit of something special you have 🙂

    • Reply tina January 16, 2012 at 12:40 pm

      @annie Thank you for saying that. It sometimes takes a lot of energy to make things happen but the results are always worth it!

      @sophie I fell in love with the concept.. and her illustrations. Want her to publish book before I am grey and old… nathalie and I laugh about this… I am dying to have a copy so I can see all the other paintings:)

  • Reply Sophie January 16, 2012 at 8:58 am

    These are wonderful Tina, thank you for sharing. I’ve come across her work before and thought the concept was brilliant – you’re so lucky to have one!
    Have a fab day today at Home and Topdrawer, shame I have to be at work today, would have been nice to meet you there but hopefully meet you in a few weeks.
    x

  • Reply Holly January 16, 2012 at 2:54 pm

    What a nice story and a very interesting concept on Mis Lecroc’s part. Cool!

    • Reply tina January 16, 2012 at 11:47 pm

      @Holly Glad you enjoyed it. I also think it’s cool:)

      @Erin, ha ha, I bet you are exaggerating….pleased you like the watercolours. Must check out the Flickr pool ‘What’s in your bag’. Sounds rather intriguing.

  • Reply Erin January 16, 2012 at 8:55 pm

    I love these little watercolors. I am addicted to the Flickr pool “What’s in Your Bag?” but this just elevates it to a whole different (and more whimsical) level. Absolutely adorable illustrations. You learn SO MUCH about someone based on what they carry. Thus, people would think I was told never to throw away receipts or tissues or I’d get 7 years of bad luck. I’m afraid the contents of my purse wouldn’t make a very nice watercolor.

  • Reply Heather @ Canal Notes January 17, 2012 at 11:25 pm

    How charming! What a treat to have your bag immortalized in watercolor – and I suppose even more to have such a talented friend doing the painting! This has just been added to my wish list 🙂

    • Reply tina January 17, 2012 at 11:28 pm

      Ta.. yes, feel rather smug:) look forward to our catch-up tomorrow. Welcome to London!

  • Reply Theresa January 18, 2012 at 9:25 pm

    Tina, What a great post and interview! Thank you so much for introducing Miss Lecroc’s work to us. I love fashion sketches of any kind, so I’m really enjoying Lecroc’s work.

    • Reply tina January 19, 2012 at 2:29 pm

      Thanks Theresa…i also like fashion sketches, like Manolo Blahnik and Andy Warhol. What I like about these is the art peoject behind it. It has purpose as well as being beautiful!

  • Reply Beth January 19, 2012 at 9:33 pm

    Oh … these are so lovely!! What a great interview Tina. I’m a bit jealous that you have one of these. x, Beth

    • Reply tina January 19, 2012 at 10:02 pm

      Hey, hello. Will we get to see you next week?

      Thanks. Loved interviewing her. Doing it in French a bit tiresome for me:) don’t be jealous. You can have one too x

  • Reply Katie February 14, 2012 at 1:13 pm

    Lovely article, I’m interested in getting a Lecroc handbag painting for my best friends 30th birthday. Whats the best way to get in touch with Nathalie? I’ve tried emailing but haven’t heard anything :/

    • Reply tina February 14, 2012 at 1:34 pm

      Hi Katie, thanks for your getting in touch. I’ve just spoken to Nathalie and she’s changed from a PC to a Mac so things have got lost in translation:) I’ve just forwarded her your email address so she will be in touch.

  • Reply Katie February 14, 2012 at 5:34 pm

    Tina, thank you so much, really appreciate it!

  • Reply Justine March 31, 2012 at 8:11 am

    Hello Tina

    Do you know if Miss Lecroc is still taking applications for her paintings, I tried to get in touch but havent heard anything. They really are beautiful paintings!!

    J

    • Reply tina March 31, 2012 at 6:06 pm

      Hi Justine. I just spoke to Nathalie and she now saw your email and will respond tomorrow (Sunday). She apologises for the delay. I hope you will like your painting.

      • Reply Justine March 31, 2012 at 7:44 pm

        Thanks so much Tina, I’m super excited!

  • Reply laura summerscales May 21, 2012 at 9:58 pm

    my handbag is no. 737 I adore it! 😀 love this woman and her talents and can’t wait for the book 🙂

    • Reply tina May 21, 2012 at 10:06 pm

      How lovely you have #737. It’s like a Boeing:)

      Thank you for your lovely comment and I agree, Nathalie is amazing!!

  • Reply Wendy May 19, 2013 at 8:58 am

    Hello Tina,
    I’m enjoying perusing some of your older posts that I hadn’t seen. I’m a newbie to colour living and LOVE your view of life! Bravo!

    Miss Lecroc’s work is enchanting. I’ve tried to send her an email to see if I can beg my way onto the list! Ha!ha! I live in the U.S. and am having some difficulty with the email. Could you possibly send it to me and I will just try to copy and forward from that? I’m sorry to be a bother and thanks again for a wonderful fresh perspective on daily living. Keep up the good work!
    Many thanks,
    Wendy McM

  • Reply Wendy McM August 6, 2013 at 6:01 am

    Greetings Tina,
    I’ve haven’t written any comments since late April but I just had some exciting news to share with you… Based on your article about Miss Lecroc I have been thinking about those watercolour jewels, and finally got up the courage to email her and tell her much I’ve enjoyed them. She invited me to have my bag painted!!! I’m elated and can’t stop smiling at the wonderful prospect. Daydreaming about hopping a plane to France to do it in person! Ha!ha!
    Seriously, I would love to ask you some questions about the process as I will be doing the “mail-in” option. Is there a private email that we might chat on? I think you have my email based on the comment process..
    I hope you are well… Love your blog – you are so creative !
    Warmest wishes,
    Wendy

  • Reply Louise October 12, 2013 at 8:21 am

    Such a lovely idea! I am number 698 and saw her in small Paris apartment a few years ago! Also cannot wait for the book any idea what number Nathalie is on now? So so exciting!

    • Reply tina October 13, 2013 at 11:09 pm

      Hi Louise. How nice you have 698. Isn’t her Paris apartment charming. I’ve stayed there…
      Nathalie is currently on number 892 so not long to go. I might blog again about it and see if I can get a real surge so that we don’t have to wait for too long…:-)
      Very exciting indeed! I’ve been waiting for the book a long time…

      • Reply Louise May 19, 2014 at 11:25 pm

        Hello again,
        I’m still super excited for the book!!
        How is it going, any idea?
        I saw a Facebook post about an exhibition but cannot see any more info!
        Look forward to hearing from you.
        Best wishes to you and of course Nathalie.
        xx

  • Reply Isabelle Selby January 19, 2014 at 10:21 am

    Dear Tina,

    I just discovered your lovely blog in the midst of researching medieval manuscripts, then stumbling upon a favorite book by Sara Midda which led me to your site, and finally, discovering Nathalie Lecroc’s beautiful work! (Funny chain reaction) I love Natalie’s series of bag paintings and would be interested in having her paint mine. Would you be able to pass along her email so I can contact her?

    Many thanks,
    Isabelle
    San Francisco (Far, far away)

    • Reply tina January 24, 2014 at 2:14 pm

      Hi Isabelle,
      Thank you.. wow…. you found Colourliving through researching ‘medieval manuscripts’…
      I cannot pass along her email but will pass her email on to you (if that makes sense:-) She will then contact you!
      Say hello to San Francisco…

  • Reply Maryellen April 29, 2014 at 10:42 pm

    I’ll be in Paris this June/early July. Would you mind sharing my email with her as well? I think I still have the article featuring her work from her trip to the States absolutely ages ago!

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  • Reply Cynthia Hougardy August 16, 2016 at 8:25 pm

    Tina: I was #326 in Nathalie’s Paris apartment, north of Montmartre, if I remember correctly. From 1999. What a great experience it was! I can’t wait for the book. Lovely article you’ve written

    • Reply tina August 17, 2016 at 10:52 am

      Hi Cynthia,

      Wow. It’s always so nice to hear from people who’ve had the Miss Lecroc experience:-)
      I know, I loved the experience too…

      I cannot wait for the book either. I think she’s not far off the 1000 mark.
      Thank you. Glad you like the post.

  • Reply Illustrator Nathalie Lecroc coming to Esse – Arkansas's News Aggregator October 26, 2017 at 7:16 pm

    […] Purse Museum hosts “Petite Anthologie de Sacs: An Evening with Nathalie Lecroc,” with the French illustrator of women’s handbags and their contents, from 6-8 p.m. Friday, […]

  • Reply Sandra April 5, 2018 at 11:43 pm

    Great website Tina! I had a wonderful experience with Nathalie. I was #851 and the watercolor is esquisite.

    • Reply tina April 19, 2018 at 12:49 am

      Hi,

      Wow, #851…. she is so very talented!
      Glad you had a wonderful experience and thank you!

  • Reply Illustrator Nathalie Lecroc coming to Esse - Arkansas Times April 18, 2019 at 1:11 pm

    […] Purse Museum hosts “Petite Anthologie de Sacs: An Evening with Nathalie Lecroc,” with the French illustrator of women’s handbags and their contents, from 6-8 p.m. Friday, […]

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