First published in Elysiants on 7 December 2011.
It might just be a bit of an over-generalisation when I say lawyers are thought of to be using their right brain more and their left brain less, and Kelly Chan, the founder and designer of Vicious Venom, is out there to prove me wrong. As an ex-lawyer, she found a release for her innovative side through creating edgy handbags that gives a whole new meaning to luxury clutches. She is kind enough to spare some time from her designing to clue us in as to where her inspirations come from, and how her bags make a great conversational piece as well as a self-defense tool!
How did you first came up with the concept of Vicious Venom?
After a fruitful career in law, I wanted to explore my creative side as well, so I went off to discover more on my favourite fashion staple – handbags. The name Vicious Venom came from the Chinese zodiac - year of snake, inspiring my creations in luxuries with a dark side.
As my previous job required for me to appear professional, I have always owned bags that are either brown or black with mundane designs. That is why when I started designing my own brand; I focused on making the bags reversible with fancy tattoo-esque Thai silk lining, so that you could use the classy leather side for weekdays and funky silk print side for weekends. I am proud to say that my bags are literally beautiful inside out.
I have had lots of fun experimenting with diverse materials like silk, stainless steel, leather, and canvas, combining utility and art with a rock n’roll edge. My Mimic A3 sized canvas bags are especially favoured by architects and designers, because of its versatility and multi-functionality. You can flip the bag inside out by a snap of button, and you can change the positions of the straps so it can be used as a shoulder bag, or a tote, or a side bag. You can also unbutton near the bottom of the bag on one side to cater for holding scrolls.
The main idea behind my designs is really to create understated originality, so that what you use can be uniquely yours. That is why if you have any bright ideas, let me know! We have our bespoke service intact, so whether you just want to give our in-store designs a little tweak, or you have an inspiration bursting from within, come to us, and we will make sure you will leave with your distinctive bag in around six to eight weeks.
Your partnership with Piecco Pang from PP4E sparked a celebrated collection, Deino Saurus. What is the collection like?
My collaboration with Piecco Pang, also a self taught designer, was really to combine the classy shapes of his clutches with a more edgy style in mind. It was a pleasant surprise how, when we put the two together, these lovely studded clutches with colour-contrasting crocodile skin panels came about.
The collection ranges from clutches to small shoulder bags, which gives a variety of choice for the fashionistas in Hong Kong, Paris, and Milan. Exotic skin handbags usually appeals to an older clientele, and no one has ever used spikes and studs on crocodile skin before. This is definitely an innovative way to treat exotic fabric, bringing the scaly armoured outlook on dinosaurs about in an extravagant manner.
As for the clutches with handcuff wristlets and chains, I really designed it with myself in mind, because it is rather easy to lose clutches when you are out, so cuffing yourself onto one seemed like a jolly good idea. It is also very hip looking, and I have been asked a lot as to whether anyone has gotten hurt by this collection, which I can give you a straight answer to. So far no one has been injured by these babies.
What do you recommend in choosing a luxury handbag?
Vicious Venom is mainly for people who wish to experiment with fashion rather than following trends, so our 2011 F/W collection, 9 to 5, is an everyday bag that doesn’t fall into the category of mass market. These exceptional beauties are especially great for jetsetting fashionistas, who could unbutton it to put it entirely flat in their luggage, saving lots of space while they go about globetrotting.
I carry my Mimic alligator bag around every day, because not only is it versatile, it is also made from a single piece of alligator skin with no seam, which is extremely posh looking. Our common friend, Percy the paper and bookbinding artist, on the other hand, favours the Pandora in stainless steel, which is a clutch box that looks rather like a pull out drawer.
When you set off in buying a luxury handbag, I would recommend choosing a bag that is not the “it” bag for the season, because everybody can easily spot which year it is from, so you can really only carry it for that season if you don’t want to look dated. Follow us on Facebook to see what timeless handmade designs with limited quantities we will be coming up with next!
Address: 2/F, 2 Queen Victoria Street, Central
Opening Hours: 3:00pm to 8:00pm, Monday to Friday
Telephone: 2668 2068