"I'M A GLITTER JUNKIE," SAYS DESIGNER LORI PERSONS, WITH a mixture of pride and regret. "Practically everything I own is covered in rhinestones!" Persons' whimsical Lucite purses are not just accessories, but functional works of art. Inspired by the dainty, seductive see-through evening bags carried by swellegant women from the 1930s to the 1950s -- whether in real life or in vintage black-and-white movies -- Persons took the basic premise and elaborated upon it: Her bags are handcrafted in Lucite and encrusted with Swarvoski crystals, and use ornate hardware and found objects as accents. She combines sparkly Hollywood golden-age movie glamour with a sassy street-chic sense of humor.
By trade a professional makeup artist, Persons spent years turning the faces of models, actors, Playboy Bunnies and pop stars into masterpieces. One day, while working on yet another genetically blessed being, she realized that her expertise could be applied to more than faces, and she began experimenting with making her own accessories. "I'd wear something I'd made," Persons says, "and all my girlfriends would want it. So I'd make something for them. Strangers were stopping me on the street, asking where they could buy whatever it was I had on."
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Her pieces caused such a commotion that soon she was coming home from a full day at a shoot, then staying up into the wee hours gluing rhinestones. Earlier this year, Persons turned to making purses full time, creating her line of fit-for-a-diva handbags, Glitz and Glitter, which range from flashy to playful: a treasure chestshaped bag emblazoned in rhinestones with the word "Fashionista" surrounded by tiny metallic spike-heeled shoes, hats and lipsticks; the pure kitsch "Palm Beach Diva" adorned with rhinestone sunglasses, cloisonné palm trees, tennis rackets and martini glasses. Some are lined with velvet, others with animal prints or marabou feathers. She is expanding her line, looking at different shapes and hardware.
"Some people have fantasies about the women on Sex and the City," Persons says. "But I have fantasies about the women on Sex and the City carrying my bags."
Glitz and Glitter available at Blest Boutique, 1634 Cahuenga Blvd., Hollywood, (323) 467-0191; or call (310) 804-4497 or e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org.