Figueres chocolate brown leather and suede bag
Nuevecita navy suede bag
Gold etched choker
Esclava brass bracelet
Former model and queen of the California-cool aesthetic Kendall Conrad started her brand because she couldn’t find the right bag to match her shoes. Sixteen years later, and she has three stores in California (Venice, Brentwood and Montecito) and a growing accessories line. Conrad’s luxurious Napa leather bags and simple brass jewelry will make you want to clear the ranks of your own accessories closet and outfit yourself in high-quality minimalism.
We caught up with Conrad at her trunk show at Mashburn’s Knox-Henderson store, and chatted with the duo before they road-tripped to Houston for the River Oaks Tennis Tournament.
India Pougher: Tell us what you love about Kendall and her brand.
Ann Mashburn: I’ve known her since I was 23 years old. We met in New York City when I had just moved there to get into fashion, and Kendall was a model at the time. We became fast friends. I’ve known her husband, and Sid [Mashburn, Ann’s husband and business partner] knows her husband. I’m very careful about outside brands that I put in the store. About 70 to 80 percent are my own brand that I design, but I love to have outside things that I think are special and want in my own closet. My background is first as a fashion editor, and I want to be able to tell people who I think is great in the market. I love Kendall’s very distinct point of view. Her bags are very much my style.
IP: What’s your favorite bag or piece of jewelry from her line?
AM: My very favorite is her really chic little iPhone case. It’s really smartly designed. It’s like a little wallet. I also love the Lupe Sino clutch. I’m small, and it’s a small enough bag for me.
IP: Your store is still fairly new to Dallas. What do you like about the city and being located in Knox-Henderson?
AM: I love the fact that we’re on the Katy Trail. I think there’s a legacy of fashion in this neighborhood. It was fun to take something that was a raw space and wasn’t the most beautiful thing — this was a Lamps Plus building — and try to create a cool thing inside.
IP: Kendall, how did you become interested in starting your own brand?
Kendall Conrad: I couldn’t find the bag that I wanted, in 2000, because there weren’t a lot of bags then. I wanted to match my Jack Rogers — remember the whipstitched sandals? — so I needed a bag to go with them. I made a simple little tote with a local saddle maker in Santa Barbara. It was originally called the Coco bag; it’s the Marisol now.
IP: Describe your brand’s aesthetic. Is it similar to your own?
KC: It’s all me. It’s absolutely personal.
IP: Where does your inspiration come from?
KC: Everything: nature, travel, fashion, books, sculpture, art, girlfriends in chic clothes. I would say nature mostly — horseback riding, tack. My father was a bullfighter, so a lot of the corrida elements I love, the details on the epaulets of the bullfighter jackets or the shoes. We have a pair of slippers called the Manolete slippers. They’re totally matador slippers.
IP: Do you ride in California?
KC: Yes. I should specify I like English tack. Western tack is beautiful and I appreciate it, but that’s not the aesthetic. The aesthetic is much more minimal and English.
IP: Do you own horses?
KC: No, but I have a friend who has eight horses that never get ridden, so I say, ‘I will ride them!’ It’s a pain to own your own horse; it’s expensive and it’s a big responsibility. I’ve got two kids and two dogs, and that’s about all I can take on in addition to the business.
IP: Three must-have pieces from your latest collection, and why?
KC: The iPhone case goes everywhere with me because it is all you need to take out. Everything else lives in the Figeures bag. My leather cuffs I wear every day, my jewelry, my sandals — I can’t really pick only three.