As you may or may not know, post-Harper’s Bazaar and pre-KiC, I had an eponymous line of handbags (my line sadly went with the economy). Because of that, my ears always perk up when I hear of other women who’ve made the leap. Kendall Conrad‘s name kept popping up here and there and the same week I met one of Kendall’s friends, Julia Leach of Chance, I also saw a profile on Kendall in Martha Stewart Living. I love Kendall’s style; it’s minimalist, bohemian, slightly tomboyish. (When I saw her Martha Stewart profile I wanted everything she mentioned down to her favorite olive oil.) She has two stores in L.A., one in my favorite shopping mall ever (if you can call it that), the Brentwood Country Mart, the other in Venice. A mother of two girls who lives in Santa Barbara with her husband David Cameron, she is a perfect KiC profile.
Having had my own line of handbags before, I’m curious, what made you want to design bags? I studied architecture in college and was a painter. I never studied fashion or set out to be a handbag designer per se, it just fell into my lap. I started my first company in 2000 called Tauro. At that time, I couldn’t find any handbags that I liked. Feeling creative (I was pregnant with my second daughter), I had this idea to make a very simple tote with hand-stitching and tassels. I took it to a local saddle maker to execute. Soon my friends wanted ones of their own and so it began. We still make the original tote, the Marisol.
What is your idea of a perfect handbag? A bag that is made by hand, is lightweight, soft but holds its shape, has a bit of structure and is in a beautiful leather that has real character. I always gravitate to bag that has an equestrian feel. The pragmatist in me likes compartments for organization, but not a lot of bells and whistles on the outside. Brass hardware, a discreet label inside and a little hand-stitching.
California style is….Modern and classic, authentic, functional and chic, understated and elegant, easy and sophisticated, sustainable.
Summer essentials: The idea of “essentials” to me really comes down to editing to the bare minimum. I want to be untethered and free of anything extraneous. My go-to summer bag is the Playera, because it’s versatile, packs flat, is sophisticated enough to take to town and casual enough to tote to the beach. Other necessaries include Tropical Traditions Coconut Oil, Intelligent Nutrients Organic Lip Delivery Nutrition, and giant straw hats that my friend brought back for me from Peru.
Entertaining essentials: Rosé in the summer, champagne the rest of the year, good company, a great playlist, delicious food, warm lighting, and spontaneity! Never uptight or fussy.
Fave activities to do with your girls: On beach days we set up our “living room” at Rincon Beach with all of our gear–surfboards, boogie boards, a volleyball, books–where we picnic and spend the whole day, usually ending with a campfire dinner; horseback riding at our family ranch in Northern California; overnight trips to Santa Cruz Island in the Channel Islands.
Five fave addresses: 1) San Ysidro Ranch for dinner outside under the loquat trees; 2) Little Dune Beach in Point Dume, Malibu; 3) Santa Barbara County Bowl for summer outdoor concerts; 4) the hike to Tangerine Falls in Montecito; 5) dinner in the garden at Axe Restaurant on Abbot Kinney in Venice.
Next destination: Morocco–Essaouira and Chefchaouen.
Keeps you sane: My husband David! And long beach walks with my dogs at Loon Point.
Portrait by David Cameron; Kendall with her daughers, courtesy Vogue.com.
Topics: Axe Restaurant, Julia Leach, Kendall Conrad, Profile On, San Ysidro Ranch