updated 21 Oct 2011, 04:22
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Tue, Aug 10, 2010
The Business Times
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Miniaudiere a reflection of the national flag

AS a child living in Kovan Road, Ethan Koh used to ride piggy back on his father around a big field behind their house.

One day, while strapped securely behind his father's back, he spotted a red and white flag strung up across the branches of a tree - a vivid image that stuck in the young boy's mind even as he grew up to become a bag designer with his eponymous label Ethan K.

'I remember the red vividly because it is a colour that really stands out,' recalls the London-based designer.

'The memory is all the more poignant because my father was carrying me at that time.'

It was with this image in mind that Koh created this flame red minaudiere clutch with a clasp decorated in white swarovski crystals for BT's National Day spread.

He chose the skin of a Niloticus crocodile as a tribute to his father, Koh Chon Tong, who founded Heng Long International - today a listed company that specialises in tanning crocodile leather.

Singaporean designer Ethan Koh created this flame red
minaudiere clutch with a clasp decorated in white swarovski

Koh is photographed in the garden of his parents' current home - 'it is the closest thing to the field that inspired this bag'. The bag comes with a tiny vanity mirror, inspired by the handheld mirror that his mother used when they lived in Kovan Road.

'The inspiration behind the mirror's design came from the art decor look of the Claridges Hotel in London so the mirror is an encapsulation of both my life then and now,' reveals Koh.

'I also like the idea of a vanity as it reminds me of how Singapore used to be a British colony, which makes it extra meaningful.'

The bag may seem like a simple reflection of the national flag but is really one that was created to evoke many of his childhood memories.

'As a designer based in London, I sometimes get homesick,' he concludes. 'This minaudiere holds within it some of my best moments growing up and every time I think of it now, I think it helps to bring me a little bit closer to home.'

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