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Big Book Clutch Causes a Stir

Fashion designer Olympia Le-Tan's exclusive collection of "book clutches" includes two AA-themed handbags.

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They probably won't be giving away this Big
Book to newcomers. Photo via

By Hunter R. Slaton

02/22/12

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So you’re sober, and that stone fox across the café just happens to be carrying a Big Book? You might want to pause before chatting her up with a casual, “So, you a friend of Bill?” Because she might actually be a friend of Olympia-Le-Tan instead—a Paris-based fashion designer whose “Still ill” collection of pricey “book clutches” includes one made to resemble an old-fashioned "Big Book," the primary AA text. The clutch in question was featured recently in T, the New York Times’ style magazine, in a spread on spring trends for women (tops with plunging v-necks were the headline trend, rather than the book clutches themselves). There are 30 titles in the “Still ill” collection, from Jacqueline Susann’s Valley of the Dolls and Thomas Mann’s Death in Venice to William BurroughsJunkie, as well as two versions of the Big Book. The fake tomes don't come cheap; the one that looks most like the real Big Book retails for $1,550—or it would, if the 16 limited-edition clutches weren't already sold out. And the Big Book was the first clutch in the range to be fully booked up. So the question is, who are the 16 people who bought the Big Book? And are they sober? If not, has AA really become that hip/shocking?

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