I was on a mission, to find the perfect cross body bag – big enough for all my things (and my kids’), but small enough to not cause scoliosis. Also, to add to the brief, I decided it would be good if it could work for nights out as well. And this is where my new bag crush, and designer crush comes in.
Now one thing about me is I don’t go out specifically ‘shopping’ for handbags, my bags tend to find me. I’ll be out and about whether it be online or physically around the stores, and then if something really catches my eye and/or fits my brief at the time – bingo, we have a winner. And true to form this is what happened with my latest purchase/crush.
So I’m in Myer and this vision of tan leather comes into sight. I have a real weakness for a certain type of tan leather. I go to inspect, it’s love. And trust me, I’m not an impulse shopper, but when I know I’ve found a match for me, I don’t second guess myself. If it looks right and feels right after a try on and look in the mirror (and perhaps a quick selfie sent to someone whose opinion I trust – normally hubby’s because believe it or not, he’s the real fashionista in our household); I’m usually good to go.
Only problem with this bag was it was love, but not the perfect match. Great for day, but not as perfect for a night out, I was really after black. Oh, and it wasn’t a cross body, so way off brief. Such a dilemma. But then I see it. Another gorgeous vision, this time a black cross body. The right size, stiff leather, and very minimal in its design – just what I was after. We have winner.
My Clare V. black cross body.
Then I realised these two awesome bags were by the same designer, Clare V. “Gee this lady knows how to make a great bag” I think to myself. But something was very familiar. And then it occurred to me, about two years ago I’d purchased an equally amazing Clare V. item (back then it was called Clare Vivier by the designer’s full name), a gorgeous, this time, soft brown leather fold-over clutch. And I remember being equally taken by that piece when I saw it. The shop assistant at the previous store explained she's a designer out of LA who does great pieces with amazing leathers and very simple design.
Anyway, here I am standing in front of the mirror, brown beauty on one shoulder; black brief-filler on the other. What to do? And then the answer appears in the form of a sign, I mean, literally a sign: ‘Sale, while stock lasts’. These are the last two bags left from this designer in this sale. How often do you get two bags you so love, both on sale at the same time, and only ‘while stock lasts’! I had to get them both, and I did. And no regrets.
My tan Clare V. bag.
As soon as I got home I took another look at the original Clare V. I had bought a couple of years previous and yes, it was indeed the same designer. And what draws me to Vivier’s aesthetic is exactly what the shopkeeper told me about her originally – the simplicity and gorgeous leathers. For me, beauty is often in simplicity; and the Clare V. brand has certainly mastered the art of this. I was curious, who is Clare Vivier? So I took a look; and I thought you might also like to know.
Amazingly, for someone as talented as Vivier, there’s little information. It seems she’s American and a member of the prestigious Council of Fashion Designers of America (CFDA). You may have heard of the CFDA because of their annual awards which you might have watched being documented on The Fashion Fund.
Each June, the international fashion community honours the best and brightest in American design at the CFDA Fashion Awards. Founded in 1981, they are the highest honour in fashion and recognise the outstanding contributions made to American fashion in womenswear, menswear, and accessories as well as journalism, creative vision, personal style, and lifetime achievement.
The Fashion Fund follows CFDA/Vogue Fashion Fund finalists through each step of the process as they battle out to become that year’s winner. Winning the competition provides a massive boost to the winners’ careers. Past winners include Tom Ford, Alexander Wang, Marc Jacobs and Ralph Lauren. Good company indeed.
Anyway, back to Vivier. Not much information about her as I said. It seems her first store opened in California in 2012, she now has six boutiques throughout the US. (Wish she’d open one here!) And that’s about it. Go to the Clare V. website and plenty of drool worthy items to purchase, but still nothing about the woman herself. The best I could find was a Vanity Fair interview from last year where Vivier is described as “chic and perfectly understated, handbag designer Clare Vivier has married classic shapes with modern detail and Parisian charm.” The article goes on to list her fave things. Maybe this will give you more of a sense of who she is? (maybe not…), but fun reading in any case. See link to article at bottom.
A few of Vivier's 'crushs': Jeans: Acne; Boots: Saint Laurent; Favourite accessory: Heather Taylor Home scarf; Necessary extravagance: Business class; Favourite place in the world: My bed; Favourite Colours: Bleu, blanc, et rouge; Favourite gadget: iPhone; Go-to website: nytimes.com; Lipstick: Nars Lana; Shampoo: Kérastase; Favourite dessert: Fruit cobbler.
Sorry, I guess you're none the wiser really about who she is.
Clare Vivier, photographed in the Clare V. boutique in West Hollywood. Courtesy: vanityfair.com
So now you know all about my new bag crush; and you’ll be pleased to know that I do follow my own advice. As soon as I got the bags I sprayed them with leather protector (only after first testing on a discrete spot – especially important on a tan leather, some products can really change the colour of it). I’ll be wearing them for years to come.
If you think anyone else you know would like to discover Clare V., just share this blog. I’d also love to hear about your latest bag crush – let me know in the comments section.