For the longest time "chic handbag" meant ridiculously expensive. That is, until today's guest editor CLARE VIVIER came along and shook things up.
As in the case of many successful products, Clare created her handbag line out of a need - in her case, she was looking for a chic way to carry her laptop. Soon after, she launched her eponymous line of handbags and, well, the rest is history. Clare's collaborations have included those with Theory, Refinery 29, Steven Alan, Commune, Wren, and Jasmin Shokrian. And her handbags - everything from clutches to overnight bags - are a favorite of celebrities, Downtowners, and Uptowners alike. There's not a single cool girl we know that doesn't own one of Clare's bags.
Yes despite the beyond cool handbag line, the hot store in Silverlake, and the huge brand recognition, we love the Los Angeles-based Clare because she's warm, sweet, accessible, and still as passionate about her line now as when she first started. We are so so thrilled to have Clare with us today to talk handbags, icons, and home. And, of course, for those of you who don't own your own Clare Vivier bag yet, CLICK HERE ASAP. We promise her bags are the chicest, quickest way to the best dressed award at any party.
For a list of stores that carry Clare's line, please CLICK HERE.
Photo of Clare from from Jeana Sohn's wonderful site CLOSET VISIT.
Have handbags always been a prized accessory of yours (personally, before your line came out)?
Fashion and style have always been a great interest of mine. I plastered the walls of my teenage bedroom with pages from fashion magazines and dreamed of working in the industry. Much later, when I realized there was nothing I felt that was functional and chic to carry my laptop in, I knew handbags were a great way for me to exercise my style and appeal to a whole slew of working women who felt the same way I did.
How many times a week do change your handbag? ...Honestly?
I use the same tote for a couple of months, currently using my gray suede monogrammed SIMPLE TOTE, and I change out the clutches inside pretty regularly. Sometimes I will fall in love with a clutch or other item and keep it in rotation for a while. Right now I can’t stop carrying a sample from Spring ‘13. It is a black flat clutch that is aging so beautifully I just can’t give it up. When I get excited about a new item that has come in I tend to wear it a lot as well. FLAT CLUTCHES are my go to though, they fit inside every bag and I use them as my handbag, for makeup and accessories, everything!
If you could only choose one handbag to take you from day to night, which style would it be?
THE BLACK FLAT CLUTCH. Simple and effortlessly stylish.
What one piece of advice would you give to someone wanting to start their own line?
I think people thinking about starting their own businesses have a lot of trouble with self doubt and those inner voices telling you not to do it for a million reasons, but you just have to push through it and keep going – one foot in front of the other.
Where do you get the inspiration for the next design/color of your latest handbag?
My inspiration always begins and ends with the materials I use. I encounter so many amazing kinds of leather and prints and textures, which I then manipulate to see how I can use it. I am continuously inspired by Parisian women, stylish working women, including the lovely ladies I work with!
What is your home style like?
My family and I live in a farmhouse built in 1905 in the middle of urban Los Angeles. I have decorated with a mix of antique finds from France, flea market finds from the Los Angeles area, and some modern pieces.
How challenging was it to create your store? Tell us about that process. What were your favorite parts? Any least favorite parts?
Surprisingly it was not a challenging process at all. I found an architect who I love and completely trusted, Barbara Bestor. I showed her images of Parisian storefronts and the mood and look I wanted to capture and she went above and beyond to realize my vision. Greta, our director of merchandising, took care of everything in regards to setting up the store. I was working with great people who were enthusiastic and hardworking and to whom I am forever grateful. I think my favorite part was just seeing the finished project. It is in such a great location that gets so much light, it is really beautiful and the response has been so positive.
A friend who's a stylist once told me you should always match your handbag with your shoes. What are your thoughts?
That sounds a bit outdated to me. I never match my handbags to my shoes and I believe there are no rules. Mismatched and mixing prints and colors is more fun!
Two opposite ends of the spectrum. For working women: What's the chicest way to carry a laptop? For moms: What's the chicest way to carry diapers?
The oversized clutch was made for women to carry their laptops in. It comes in so many great colors and textures and can transition from work bag to going out bag. For a mom I would suggest the TROPEZIENNE. It is a knock around bag that ages very well. You can set it on the ground and it will stand up straight, perfect for carrying around a mom’s necessities.
What's your personal fashion style like?
My style is a mix of vintage and new. I like to embrace a classic look but there’s always something a little off. I often alter things I wear to be personalized for me. My style icons are Simone Shubuck, HEATHER TAYLOR, Deb Kaplan, Emmanuelle Alt, and Charlotte Gainsbourg.