September 10, 2008 / 3:06 AM / 9 years ago

RPT-Vivienne Tam turns HP laptops into digital handbags

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By Jan Paschal

NEW YORK, Sept 9 (Reuters) - High-tech took on a fashionable twist in New York when fashion designer Vivienne Tam sent models down the runway clutching slim, red Hewlett-Packard laptops instead of evening bags.

"It's a little laptop, like a fashionable clutch," Tam told Reuters backstage before her Tuesday night show, at which she gave a sneak peek at the limited-edition computer. "It's so light, you could carry it anywhere."

Her signature red peony print, the motif for her spring 2009 collection, appeared on the cover of the laptop, or "digital clutch," which won't be available until early next year.

"I wanted to give life and color to a computer," Tam said. "Even if you're in the office, you should feel like you're in a garden."

The peony's petals on the laptop's cover symbolize multitasking, which is synonymous with being a woman in today's tech-oriented society, she added.

"We're launching it sometime around the Chinese New Year," said Tam, a New York designer who was born in China and is the author of a book entitled "China Chic."

The laptop's tiny keyboard is bright red, which is Tam's favorite color. She chose the peony as the theme for her collection of mostly dresses "because it's my favorite flower. It represents prosperity and beauty."

Satjiv S. Chahil, senior vice president of global marketing for Hewlett-Packard Co (HPQ.N), said the collaboration with Tam is intended to appeal to "about half the world's population."

"About 66 percent of the Internet users in the United States are women," Chahil added, declining to give any specifics about the laptop or when it would be launched.

He said the partnership with Tam is a departure from what he called a tired trend in technology companies' attempts to create products tailored for women.

"Look, it's beautiful, it's practical and it fits in any handbag," Chahil said during a backstage interview.

"She brings sex appeal to technology," he said of Tam. "And we bring a little sex appeal to fashion." (Reporting by Jan Paschal; Editing by Miral Fahmy; E-mail: jan.paschal@thomsonreuters.com; +1 646 223 6205; Reuters Messaging: jan.paschal.reuters.com@reuters.net))

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