We were sure that the iconic Strand tote bag had reached its design apex with the lovely toile de Jouy number we picked up on the way out of the bookstore’s recent Richard Hell and Christopher Wool event, but Ron Hogan of our bookish brother blog, GalleyCat (and a tote bag expert if ever there was one), has the scoop on the newest version. Designed by cartoonist, illustrator, and graphic novelist Adrian Tomine (whose work you probably recognize from his outstanding, moody-hued New Yorker covers), the bag features Tomine’s drawings of “the many faces of Strand customers, and there are different people depicted on each side,” notes the Strand’s website, where the tote sell for a cool $10.95 alongside those featuring illustrations by Art Spiegelman and David Hockney.
Tomine, a Strand regular, gave Hogan a peek into his process. “I am by nature a people watcher, but in the case of this project, the faces were mostly imagined by me while sitting in my studio,” he wrote in an e-mail. “It’s always a dicey thing trying to draw unsuspecting strangers in public, and I wouldn’t have wanted to cause any commotion in one of my favorite New York book stores.” Hogan reports that the Strand is now at work on bags featuring book covers drawn from a list of the store’s all-time most popular titles. Here’s hoping that Tintin In The Land Of the Soviets makes the cut.