written by:
December 20, 2011

There’s just something about Europe, Europeans, and European things that makes me uncontrollably excited. Book-clutches handmade with love from Paris? Check. A cute little “perforated” teacup from Finland? Double check. These are just some of the seriously top-notch goods that will put a huge smile on your Europhile pals’ faces. Warning: You’ll probably end up keeping these gifts for yourself. Herewith is my list of picks from across the globe.

Olympia Le Tan book clutches

Handbags by Olympia Le-Tan

Handbags and clutches that look like books—does a better combination exist? Each handmade-felt book-clutch is based on famous covers of lit classics, such as Moby Dick and Cather in the Rye. These are produced in limited runs, so it’d be wise of you to get one while you can. Also, be sure to check out Mourir Auprès de Toi, a charming little film designer Olympia Le-Tan collaborated on with director Spike Jonze.


Nasomatto Fragrances

This line of perfumes created by Alessandro Gualtieri (who has also concocted scents for fashion houses such as Helmut Lang and Valentino) is meant for those who want a distinctive and unique “scent mark.” Each scent is made with highly concentrated parfum extrait for unbelievable lasting power. However, the sleek, organic feel of the bottles (not to mention that wooden cap!) alone are worth buying.

VDC Washer Apron Dress

VDC Washer Apron-Dress

Those Parisians sure do know a thing or two about style, don’t they? Time after time, they prove that classics outlast any trends or fads. They keep things simple over at VDC, offering beautifully constructed garments with a natural color palette. This grey apron/dress is part of their winter 2011/2012 collection. Worn over a thick wool sweater and some tights, this will surely prepare you for harsh winter weather.

Sort of Coal Kuro Cube

Kuro Cube

Oftentimes, a cardboard box of baking soda in the refrigerator just doesn’t seem to be doing enough to eliminate smells. Cue in this neat little guy. The Kuro Cube is a combination of oak and organically produced powdered white charcoal, both crafted in Korea. It efficiently gets rid of pesky odors that linger in your fridge, but can also be used as a purifier for other closed-off spaces, such as closets and drawers. And it gets better—Kuro can be used as a fertilizer once its first life is through.

Eeva Jokinen cup

Cup by Eeva Jokinen

No, your tea will not leak out of what appears to be holes in the surface of this cup—it just looks like it will. This optical illusion can be either nerve-wracking or beautiful, or both. This porcelain teacup is part of Finnish designer, Eeva Jokinen’s Breakfast Set. It is available in two patterns: rose and block (pictured).

TankMagazine TankBooks

Tank Books

Much like Olympia Le-Tan’s book-clutches, these awesome cigarette books pay homage to classic stories. Cleverly disguised as cigarette packs (right down to the flip-flop top with foil wrapping and cellophane enclosure), they are the brilliant brainchild of UK-based, Tank Magazine. A few titles included in this set-Joseph Conrad’s Heart of Darkness and Franz Kafka’s The Metamorphosis.

Illusion Table by John Brauer

Illusion Table

Designed in 2005 by Danish designer John Brauer, the Illusion table is made out of 3mm-thick acrylic. It gives the impression that there is a tablecloth over a desk.

Rob Brandt Crinkle Cup A

Crinkle Cup by Rob Brandt

Who says Dixie cups are only for drinking beverages in your college days? This ceramic cup first made its debut in 1975 by Netherlands ceramicist Rob Brandt. Wouldn’t it be nice if these replaced all the plastic cups in the world?


Carte Blanche Prints

For those looking for stunning photography prints at an accessible price point, have no fear. Founded by Frenchwoman Gwen Lafage, Carte Blanche, located on Valencia Street in San Francisco, offers affordable digital C-prints (printed from the Polielettronica Laserlab, only the world’s best photographic printer) from a bevy of international photographers, such as Lukasz Biederman and Matthias Heiderich. You can view and purchase works on their website, but I strongly suggest you pop into their gallery to see them yourself.

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