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Last week I introduced you to two hot new handbag designers; and this week I’d like to share another amazing creative with you.

My pick this week is Yanique Moore, her brand is Ollie Quinn. Yanique has won a number of Design Awards, so clearly I’m not the only one who’s loving her vision. She was honoured Top 5 internationally at the Independent Handbag Designer Awards – not bad I say!

Photo: Ollie "O" II bag by Yanique Moore for Ollie Quinn.

Moore’s unique aesthetic which combines wit with a refined kitsch likely comes from her sculptural art background. She’s truly an all-round artist who also illustrates and creates whatever inspires her at the time.

Moore came to noticed a few years back when she was honoured by InStyle Magazine for Swarovski Banana Bag. Trust me, this bag is seriously bananas. It features over 1,000 Swarovski crystals and pearls on 10 moulded bananas which hang from a drawstring twisted top handle bag. The bag was sold as a limited edition piece.

Top: Moore's sketches of her Banana Bag. Bottom: The final product. Photos:

In true Moore fashion, her inspiration for the bag came from left of field - Josephine Baker and her famed Banana skirt from her topless dance, whom Moore describes as: “the epitome of glamour, she was a worldly woman before we understood what a worldly woman was.” For those of you who haven’t heard of Josephine Baker, here’s a brief history lesson.

Josephine Baker (born 3 June, 1906 – 12 April, 1975) was a French dancer, jazz and pop music singer, and actress. She had many nicknames: “Black Pearl”, “Bronze Venus”, “Creole Goddess” and “Jazz Queen”. She was born in Missouri, however renounced her U.S. citizenship to become a French citizen in 1937. She was the first black woman to star in a major motion picture and become a world class entertainer. Not only that, she was a civil rights activist and refused to perform in front of segregated audiences in the U.S.

Baker dancing the Charleston in 1926. Photo: Wikipedia.

In 1925, at the age of 19, Baker opened in La Revue Nègre in Paris. She became an instant hit for her erotic dancing and for appearing practically nude onstage. She eventually starred at the famous Folies Bergère, setting the standard for future acts.

The banana skirt Moore was inspired by for her Swarovski bag was worn by Baker when she performed the “Danse sauvage”.

Baker in her famous banana costume. Photo: Wikipedia.

Her success coincided with the Exposition des Arts Décoratifs (a World’s fair held in Paris in 1925) which gave birth to the term “Art Deco”, and also with a renewal of interest in non-Western forms of art, including African. Baker represented one aspect of this fashion. After a short while, Baker was the most successful American entertainer working in France. Ernest Hemingway called her the “most sensational woman anyone ever saw.” And clearly Moore couldn’t agree more.

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