Over the past few months, the accessories designer Tina Lutz has been social-distancing in Berlin. While the city did not see a strict stay-at-home order, Lutz was grateful to find the time to get creative amid the pandemic. She continues her two book clubs, is gearing up to release a line of sunglasses with Barton Perreira, and is working on designs for her conscious luxury handbag brand LUTZ MORRIS.
Whitewall spoke with Lutz about her time spent at home, how film is fueling her homeschooling, and which books are at the top of her club’s list.
WHITEWALL: How are you doing?
TINA LUTZ: We are currently in Berlin—but are New Yorkers at heart. I’m thankful to be here, as the response and leadership to the virus have been thoughtful and calm. We never had to go on complete lockdown, and since the weather has been amazing for the past eight weeks, we’ve been taking full advantage of going on long bike rides, spending afternoons in the park, or pretending to be at the beach on our balcony.
WW: What are you listening to, reading, watching?
TL: I don’t know how it happened, but I am in two book clubs! Each kept going during the quarantine, and while one morphed into a regular drinking/cooking feast on Zoom, the other stuck to the books. We are currently reading one every two weeks. Here are the last books we read in order of preference:
Girl, Woman, Other by Bernardine Evaristo *****
Fleischman is in trouble by Taffy Brodesser-Anker *** (This made me miss New York!)
Expectations by Anna Hope ***
Master & Margarita by Mikhail Bulgarov ***
Nine Perfect Strangers by Liane Moriarty ***
Pretending by Holly Bourne **
Less by Andrew Sean Greet *
Enigma Variations by Andre Aciman *
My Life So Far by Jane Fonda ***** (I am currently reading this, which I love so far!)
In addition, we have been having regular family movie nights at home. We call it “movie education” for our 14-year-old son. That’s the fun part of homeschooling! Right now, we are in the midst of Hitchcock and film noirs, which have been great as they are feeling removed from reality and serve as a great escape.
WW: What are you cooking?
TL: In our household, my husband is the cook, but since he has been so busy with work, I started taking over. And surprise! I am actually a good cook and really enjoy it! It is a great thing to do with my son, who is a mean chopper. Ottolenghi is our tried and true favorite, but sometimes we’re in the mood for something different and attempt new recipes we find online.
WW: How are you staying connected?
TL: Like everyone else, I am on Zoom, WhatsApp, FaceTime, etc. I find it hard at moments, as it can be overwhelming and stressful to keep up with the schedule of calls and the different platforms!
There are days when I just want to be quiet and unplug, turn inside and feel, without being bombarded by the news. The benefits of the quarantine for me have been the slowing down, the reassessment of things, the opportunity to jump out of the hamster wheel, and to look at life from a distance.
Many people ask me, “What do you think will change after COVID?” I feel it will be different for every person. Some will pick up right where they left off, whereas I know I have changed. Going forward, I want to do certain things in my life differently and let go of others.
WW: How are you staying creative? Are you able to make work at this time?
TL: My work has not stopped as our main factory and tannery managed to stay open. We have exciting new prototypes in the works, new leathers in development. I am overflowing with ideas! I am also working on an upcoming line of sunglasses in collaboration with Barton Perreira, among other exciting projects.
WW: Where are you finding hope or inspiration?
TL: Staying in touch with all my close friends, especially those in New York, has been uplifting. I also have had more time to talk with my dad, who was 10 years old when WWII ended. His childhood stories have been inspiring and helped to put things into perspective. His favorite advice is: If you don’t have toilet paper, just use newspaper!