Home' Trinidad and Tobago Guardian : September 14th 2015 Contents A29
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Judge us by the Company we keep!
There I was, strolling along Chacon Street,
Port-of-Spain, minding my own business,
when the sky opened, the angels sang and
my eyes were dazzled.
When did affordable luxury move down-
town? My snooping must be getting rusty or
I have been distracted by such pressing con-
cerns as diminishing collagen and the groovy
60s explosion in The Man from UNCLE
movie, where two fashion-forward spies take
time out from the Cold War to choose a
wardrobe for Alicia Vikander.
Anticipation tingling through my wallet, I
crossed the threshold into the new(ish) home
This is the workshop and sales room of
Herlene Tyson whose beautifully crafted hand-
bags and belts last forever and can outshine
any foreign label. I have owned lots of expen-
sive labels, from Coach to Tignanello, and
none holds my heart (and my possessions)
Herlene has owned several shops in Port-
of-Spain but she gave up retail years ago.
Then, without informing me, in 2013, she
found a new space, where she could design
Straight outta Trinidad!
Week on Friday
in New York.
at her workbench at the back of the shop, while
showcasing her craft to the front.
The best part of this new incarnation is that the
leather "skins are hanging from pegs on the walls
and customers can choose what they want, as well
as the buckles, and other trim. I selected bronze
lambskin and muted gold for a dramatic metallic
tote which can go from day to evening and around
the globe. I also walked away with an ivory and
olive tote masterpiece with paisley lining, which
takes me everywhere in style, and I still have my
eye on a textured red drawstring pouch.
A deep purple, as soft as butter, caught my atten-
tion. "What can I make with this? I asked, eagerly.
"A bustier...or a really hot mini, Herlene replied.
I passed. But on somebody like Anya Ayoung-Chee,
it would be a roaring success.
My go-to handbag is a dark brown Herlene Tyson
with a sturdy strap. It is soft but resilient to the
stresses of daily life and airline travel. My other
versatile choice is a smaller green and purple shoul-
der bag. Fashionable woman everywhere have cov-
eted my LeatherWORKS and one of the cutest
things about owning a Herlene Tyson original is
the fun you can have surprising people.
Women want to know who is the designer, what s
the label. And they expect to hear some unpro-
nounceable Italian name. When I tell them Leather-
WORKS is all T&T homegrown, you should see
the looks on their faces.
I am not turning up my nose at Louis Vuitton
or Michael Kors. But I have never met them. Being
able to caress the leather, see Herlene at work, and
pick out the trim makes me feel like a curator---
instead of just a chick with money to buy another
Which has the cool factor? Saying "Oh, it s Prada.
I got it in New York. Or, "It s a custom design.
My very talented friend made it for me with her
I knew you would see it my way.
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