Toothpaste is a exciting collaboration between Valextra and Bethan Laura Wood for Spring/Summer 2018,
A collection characterized by an abundance of colour, a rigorous approach to shapes and obsession for perfection – Bethan’s work is the ideal ingredient to complement Valextra’s bags, and offer a new point of view on iconic Iside top-handle and of Passepartout bag, the latest addition to the Valextra offering.
The inspiration behind Toothpaste is twofold: on one hand, Bethan was enchanted by Valextra’s signature Costa
lacquered edges, a black line punctuating the bag’s architectural rhythm, an essential element of the brand’s identity.
On the other hand, she looked at the work of British artist Eduardo Paolozzi, whose paintings, prints and sculptures
inspired her from a visual and conceptual perspective. Paolozzi’s surreal structures and saturated palettes, precursors
of the Pop movement and results of an industrial era, are translated by Bethan into a unique sophisticated language.
Throughout the creative process, the designer also drew from a variety of references, which she channeled in her
design for Valextra: the curved typography of French graphic designers M/M Paris, a piece of fabric she photographed
during a trip to the Netherlands, the logo of the 1968 Mexico Olympics and her interconnecting Playtime tables.
These diverse points of reference all contributed to the eclectic result, in parallel with Valextra’s own diverse pool of
cultural reference and aesthetic inspirations. The collection’s aesthetic, according to Bethan, is “somewhere between
Neapolitan ice cream and your dad’s 70s ties, mixed with a bit of mint toothpaste”
For the Toothpaste collection, she invented a modular system applied to handles, clasps and detailing on the Iside and
Passepartout bags. Bethan approaches them as a playground for her modular language, offering multidimensionality
to the bags. Although eclectic in their aesthetics, with a nod to industrial forms and artistic movements, the sculptural
details created by the designer are also pure and graphic, a perfect collusion between the designer’s visual universe
and Valextra’s sophisticated rigor.
Bethan created 7 different handles and 4 clasps for the Iside, as well as 3 pocket designs for the Passepartout. These
accessories feature brass detailing combined with colorful acetate inserts, drawing Bethan’s curvaceous wiggles. The
Iside rigid handles become a journey from one hinge to the other, with infinite possibilities in between. A palette of
1970s murky colours is enlivened by flickers of stronger hues, with oyster gray, olive green and pergamena white leather
alongside fuchsia, saffron orange and teal.