I used to love Gucci's accessories range, especially the bags in their thick-weave plain black nylon ("Parana" in Gucci-speak). They were the epitome of urban starkness. But I've been so repulsed by some of the stuff in the recent collections it's not even funny. The water-proof PVC material they revived a few seasons ago is particularly offensive - it belonged to the 70's and should've stayed that way. Everything, and I mean everything, made in that material is just butt-ugly, including that I-Pod case.
But if Slimane wasn't caught off guard by the past few years of precipitous and overwhelming success for Apple's MP3 players, it seems as though the rest of the design world has been in an extended state of shock: Though other upscale brands, such as Louis Vuitton, Gucci, Paul Smith and Habitual have recently followed Slimane's suit and come out with their own iPod cases, the not-so-niche market for iPod accessories remains wide open. In a world where even dish soap comes in designer dispensers, the relative void of iPod style is an anomaly.
It's an anomaly with a precedent, however. As Dawn Barger, a fashion-conscious music industry executive, notes, "most laptop bags are gross."
"I'm constantly on the road with my laptop," Barger explains, "and every time I pack it up, I wish I was packing it in something cooler. It doesn't make any sense! I swear, I go shopping and I always, always look for laptop bags. It seems like what's out there is either functional but incredibly boring or totally fashion-foofy," she adds with a sigh, "in girly prints and colors like baby pink. All I want is something functional but elegant. It seems like someone, somewhere should have solved this problem."
Once again, Slimane is riding in to the rescue. Expanding on the success of the Dior Homme iPod case, the label will be launching the Dior Digital line later this year. The line, tentatively scheduled for summer delivery to stores, will include new iPod cases and cases for memory cards and digital cameras as well as, yes, laptop bags. All the products will come in either calfskin or Dior Homme logo canvas.
This might come as welcome news to Syd Butler, the bassist in rock band Les Savy Fav and the co-owner of Frenchkiss Records, an indie record label. Like Barger, Butler is devoted his Mac laptop, taking it with him on his frequent travels. And like Barger as well, Butler has yet to find a bag for his laptop that he likes even half as much as the computer itself.
"The thing I find so mysterious is, you know, the laptops themselves are so beautiful," Butler observes, "so pleasing and handsome. People are attracted to the design - and so you'd figure that designers would be eager to make a case for the laptops that's just as good. I don't know," he muses, "maybe the idea is that having a Mac is kind of like having a Mercedes - you don't want a bag so fancy that it distracts. But the fact is, you've got to put the computer in something. So why shouldn't it be something cool?"
Tech industry watchers as well as fashion designers would do well to heed the fact that Slimane, who presciently debuted his iPod cases before the craze began, is also including a Palm TREO case in the Dior Digital line. The latest gadget craze may have already begun, in other words - trailing behind it a craze for suitably cool TREO accessories.
Butler, for one, not only already owns and adores a TREO, but already finds himself frustrated by the lack of "aesthetically pleasing" cases for it.
"I should have a case for it," he notes, "but I don't. The only ones I've seen are in this latex-y material that I find rather perverse. Plus, that's the same material as the iSkin I use for my iPod, and I swear, I spend half my time picking lint off of it. And I find it perverse."
Barger couldn't agree more.
"OK, I know I said the laptop bags I've seen are gross," she says, "but those iSkins are really gross. But at least they don't cover the dial," she adds. "What's the point of the case for the iPod if you can't use the thing properly? I've seen some cute cases, but they all seem to miss the point, functionality-wise. It's the same issue I've had looking for a laptop bag. The ones that are halfway decent never have enough padding or the right compartments for cables and things."
Technically, of course, any bag a laptop fits into is a laptop bag. By that standard, fashion savvy laptop users such as Barger could, in theory, shove their iBooks into Hermes Birkins and be satisfied. But, as Barger notes, she's not willing to risk damaging her computer just to satisfy her sense of style.
"There is less of a functionality issue with the iPod case," Barger admits. "I mean, I'm very attached to my iPod, but it's not like my professional life hinges on its safety. And anyway, if you don't like the cases that are out there, you can always tuck it away, or scavenge something that works. Like a vintage cigarette case from the '70s - I was looking at one recently and realized it wouldn't cover the dial. And it would protect the iPod just enough. But the laptop, that's a real issue. I guess for the time being," Barger concludes, "I've resigned myself to using the same old boring one I've had since college. It's a drag."
does anybody have a pic of the prada ipod (mini) case or know where to find one? there was a pic in one of the last issues of vogue i think. i want to buy it as a gift but they don't have it in the prada store here so i need my dad to buy it while he's in milan, but i doubt he'll know what i'm talking about.
any help would be appreciated!