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Instant Classic: Peau de Chagrin

A new accessories company is named for a famous Balzac work.

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Photography by Timothy A. Clary/AFP via Getty Images.

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If you’re already familiar with Honoré de Balzac’s fantastical morality tale La peau de chagrin, don’t get too hung up on possible parallels with a new accessories company by the same name. Founded by the visual artist Sofie Guerrero and the fashion publicist Mesh Chhibber, the highly abbreviated Peau de Chagrin line (just a handsome shoulder bag and a cuff are on offer for now) does not grant the bearer wishes or shrink like the enchanted piece of shagreen does in the tale. But pull back a little to Balzac’s larger themes about consumption, greed, and waste and things start to come into focus. With an emphasis on durability and practicality, all Peau de Chagrin pieces are handmade by a single artisan in the Jura Mountains and produced in a limited run of 100. A copy of Balzac’s work comes with the shoulder bag, the brand’s first release. In subsequent years, Peau de Chagrin will publish new editions of works from the late-19th-century Decadent literary movement.

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