In between unpacking and repacking and scoffing a bit of turk, washed down with copious amounts of red wine, I have had just enough time to develop a spot of blog envy. I have fallen in love with whatever it is that Peony Lim (A Proper Blogger) does so brilliantly.
To distill what has now become her business in a few trite sentences, she wears her own immaculate wardrobe really rather well – it helps enormously that she owns several birkins in her own right – juxtaposed with a bunch of clever high street finds, all beautifully photographed. She also has an online shop.
The photos on my blog are mere snaps by comparison. In fact, it’s not unfair to say that they are snaps, full stop.
I met up with the Singaporean accessories designer Michele Ng a week or so before I left for London who very kindly gifted me something that has changed all that.
She’s pioneered a new brand of bag called Aide de Camp (a French term meaning a personal aide to a high-ranking official – love it). It’s essentially a range of beautifully made bags that look like regular handbags but can carry a proper camera, a bunch of different lenses, your wallet, lipstick…and more.
Her selection of four bags were two years in the making; it took Michele 12 whole months just to source the right thickness of nylon fabric (my Italian friend screamed when she saw my new ADC bag and though it was Prada, the quality is that good). All zips are gold plated and run extremely smoothly and leather is polished, thick and delicious smelling black calfskin.
The compartments pictured above are all removable and made from padded fabric, giving you complete flexibility in how you decide to arrange its interior.
What I loved is that it stopped me looking like a tourist in London, the city I was born in, and it made taking good pictures in New York a breeze as I always had it on me (below on Madison). Apart from a clutch bag, it was the only bag I brought with me.
Michele has also put masses of discrete pockets on both the inside and outside of the bags; yes, she’s already thought about the perfect side pocket to pop your lens cap into as you snap away…and I actually ‘lost’ my passport in one of the back pockets having forgotten I slipped it in there (it’s just the right size). In fact, it was so useful for traveling, I think I’ll pack my SLR camera into my main luggage next time and just use my ADC as a sleek compartmentalized journey bag.
She has designed four very different styles to choose from but for me, the ‘Layden’ was the clear winner. Here it is yet again – this time on a beach in Thailand – but actually it’s far better suited to a city.
I was initially torn between the choice of it or the retro Rei (below)
…but in the end I loved the practically of the Leyden, especially as I am prone to a last minute shop and need ever-expanding luggage. Rather impressively, I even managed to extend this rule to my handbag; here it is atop a pile of luggage at check-in at London Heathrow:
Essentially, Michele is someone who’s managed to design that product that you didn’t know you needed, but suddenly can’t live without and I wish her every success.
Her bags are for sale through the beautifully eclectic, design-led website Naiise who sell lots of lovely, quirky, clever things, some of which are imported and some that are local (a ‘My Edit’ coming up soon).
For more information on Aide de Camp, log on to their website here.
Aide de Camp bags are priced from S$279
Images of Aide de Camp ‘Rei’ bag courtesy of Aide de Camp