My work in Luxury fashion made a huge impact on my approach to what constitutes luxury in all aspects of our lifestyles,” says Laura “LouLou” Baker, the founder and creative director of Peep’s Paper Products, a Washington, D.C.–based luxury paper-products company. “I believe that the most beautiful, unique clothing goes hand in hand with having equally unique accouterments—in this instance, paper items.” And LouLou should know. Having grown up with a mother who was a professional artist, LouLou has painted all her life. She graduated from the San Francisco Art Institute, and her skillful eye for luxury was honed over seven years in the New York fashion world, working for the likes of Moschino, Narciso Rodriguez, Thakoon, Givenchy, and Suno. But painting has always been her passion, so she transitioned from fashion back to her first love and, along the way, founded Peep’s Paper Products, which specializes in painted prints, luxurious note cards, and a whimsical and eye-catching series of playing cards meant to capture several major cities and their landmarks.
The cards, like anything at Peep’s, can of course be made bespoke for whatever a client may want or need: family crests, family portraits, a summer house, a personal hometown. “Making a custom set of playing cards that no one else will ever have could not be any more luxurious and special,” LouLou professes. “Peep’s Paper Products are meant to be an outlet into a whimsical world of enjoyment, using the finest paper and fabrics and considering longevity, tradition, and modernity. When I work with a new client I feel like I am playing in a dollhouse—building this little universe for someone that is wildly whimsical. It thrills me when I get an email that someone wants their horse drinking a martini, their dog reading The Night Before Christmas for their holiday party, a seahorse smoking a cigar with bubbles coming out of the pipe.”
The original idea for the cards came to her while on a vacation of her own. LouLou was at her family’s East Coast country club when she imagined a set of playing cards for herself depicting a blue heron at the club—playing tennis, sailing, swimming, at croquet. They seemed to resonate with everyone who saw them, and orders started flowing in. With that whimsical deck of cards, Peep’s Paper Products was born. Today, Peep’s produces custom and stock illustrations on playing cards, wrapping paper, invitations, notecards, and prints, and recently
launched a luxury baby book this past spring.
The bird playing cards series are the amalgamation of LouLou’s favorite things: travel, memories, and art. As such, there’s a set for many cities close to LouLou’s heart. Each card, curated with a thoughtful eye to detail, has allowed her to revisit places and experiences; her illustrations are meant to draw their owners into a world caught between imagination and reality. For instance, for New York, a city home to a prolific pigeon population, LouLou crafted a set of playing cards featuring the pesky bird in places we’ve all seen them before, but perhaps never quite like this: clad in Chanel on the Upper East Side, strutting in fashionable boots in Tribeca, pushing a stroller in Brooklyn, or crossing Fifth Avenue in black tie for a Met Ball arrival. Other cities have their own birds: a bald eagle for D.C., a pelican for San Francisco, a pink flamingo for Baltimore (an ode to John Waters), and the blue heron for Gibson Island. Most New Yorkers would probably never have imagined inviting a pigeon into their homes, but with LouLou’s inventive card set, why not raise the stakes for that next poker night?