To Have & to Hold: Clare Vivier
By Tessa Trudeau
Clare Vivier has managed to make our obsession with pretty purses practical. The idea for her brand began with Vivier's search for a stylish laptop tote and an understanding of the need for functional yet fashionable bags. Today her classic zippered clutches, in designs that often marry her own Mexican heritage and her husband's French background, can be spotted in the hands of countless fashion lovers and celebrities. As well as looking superchic, they're great for stylishly organizing the contents of larger purses. As the LA-based designer herself attests, women now carry multiple bags, serving other purposes than just a way to accessorize.
We sat down with Vivier to find out how women are wearing bags right now, what inspires her collection and which shapes she's most excited about.
What interests you about the way women wear accessories today?
As we have known for a while, women are carrying multiple bags. We're very busy, so we're going to work early in the morning, and we're maybe bringing exercise clothes, laptops, files and magazines, work papers and everything. Then we have makeup and we have personal items. So we always kind of picture a woman carrying multiple bags—we pay attention to that.
You started out with the clutch, and now you have a full line of bags. What shapes are you excited about?
I'm really excited about our Frame bags because they have the frame closures—and I was really inspired by the show The Crown and the ladylike handbags that Queen Elizabeth carries throughout. I loved her pearls and her handbags. This season we introduced Le Box Bag, which Nordstrom is selling the small version of. It's a very structural geometric shape, so it's a modern take on the Frame handbag.
I continue to be excited by our Wovens. I love a bag that you can just throw stuff in. Our Pot de Miel is the perfect size for that because it's not too big, but it's big enough to hold a lot of daily stuff. It's a really cute, fun shape. It's called the 'Pot de Miel,' which means honey pot—you know, it has that rounded shape.
Where do your bag-shape ideas come from?
They come from the consideration of what we don't have yet and what a woman is looking for. We often look at our past styles that we don't have anymore that we continue to see on the street and in stores and when we're out and about.
Is there anyone in particular who inspires your style?
I love being in Paris and seeing women on the street there. There's no one particularly well-known, but there's a beautiful, as they say, je ne sais quoi about French women that is kind of true. There's just a nonchalant chicness to French women that is very inspiring. I have huge girl crushes on people like Charlotte Gainsbourg and Kate Moss and Emmanuelle Alt. I'm such a fashion junkie, so I love adornment and seeing how people wear things differently. I'm a huge appreciator of girls and how they dress.
You spend a lot of time in Paris. What are your favorite places there?
My favorite thing to do in Paris is to rent bikes, and riding along the quay is always very fun. One of my favorite restaurants is Le Verre Volé. I love Buvette. What else? Oh, the Picasso museum. It's just really one of my favorite places to go. It's so beautiful.