Fashion / Style

Hollywood’s Favorite Handbags and Sunglasses are Made in America and as Chic as an Iconic Movie Star

No Wonder Why Brad Pitt is All in on Hayward and Hopper

BY // 02.26.20

NEW YORK — Marin Hopper and John Goldstone have seen the fashion and film business change a lot, but they still believe in doing things the old-fashioned way.

“I think the only way to make a difference is to make it personal. Make it here in the United States. Have a story that is deeply American. Suddenly you’re in a real place,” Goldstone says. “The thing about Marin and so many members of her family is they embody a sporty American style. They’re that clean California chic effortless Ameri-thing that’s not overly engineered.”

The couple have based Hayward, their luxury handbag line, on the glorious legacy of Hopper’s Hollywood family. In researching the family archives, Hopper, the daughter of famed actor Dennis Hopper and actress/author Brooke Hayward, sifted through the belongings of her grandfather, Leland Hayward, who was a close friend of Ernest Hemingway and producer of such classic Hollywood films as The Old Man and the Sea and Mister Roberts.

She also edited a  book of her father’s photographs, 1712 North Crescent Heights, that captured the Los Angeles scene in the ’60s. The book’s title refers to a 1927 home where Dennis Hopper and Brooke Hayward lived with their children after losing their previous residence in a wildfire. It became the gathering spot where Old Hollywood legends mingled with New Hollywood upstarts amid a treasure trove of contemporary art. Andy Warhol held his second art show there.

The chic vibe is captured in the Hayward handbag collection, which is manufactured in a sleek factory adjoining the label’s New York showroom. Through large windows, visitors can view the staff of 25 artisans handcraft each bag from a variety of fabrications, ranging from exotic skins and crinkled leathers to animal print patchwork beading, crushed velvet, crisp linen and colorful brocades.

Hopper and Goldstone, who met at an Los Angeles party and married in 2004, purchased the factory, which is the oldest and one of the only remaining luxury handbag manufacturer in the United States, five years ago. It was originally founded after World War II by a Marine who had learned the craft in Paris, Hopper reveals.

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Hopper, a former fashion editor for Elle magazine, has long had an interest in design. Her step-great-grandmother, Maisie Manwaring Plant, was the richest woman in America in the early 1900s and is known for trading her Fifth Avenue mansion to Cartier for a perfectly matched string of pearls in 1916. (No worries, as she built a much larger mansion, which took up a whole city block and had 26 bedrooms, Hopper explains.)

And Hopper’s grandfather owned a large collection of Cartier cuff links hand-crafted especially for him. “I always coveted them and when he left them to me when he died, I thought wouldn’t it be great to do something (creative),” she says, “and Hayward is such a great name.”

That interest morphed into something bigger when Hopper decided to create a handbag with a distinctive “H” logo based on her grandfather’s watch fob that spelled out his last name. She and Goldstone began to sell the handbags by custom order and at trunk shows before they officially launched the collection in 2016.

“It’s fun to think about where we are at this moment to where we started, when literally I sold the first bag out of the trunk of my car for $100. It’s been a fabulous adventure,” Goldstone says. “And I think it’s a joy to be able to produce the luxury leather goods in America. Who else is doing that? It’s so great to support American manufacturing in that way.”

Hayward’s Full Bag of Tricks

The Shopper, a large unstructured bag topped with dual handles, became an immediate hit and it now comes in a mini-version in dozens of fabrications, including leopard-print brocade, faux fur, neoprene satin and vegan leather.

“For evening or day, everything has gone mini,” Hopper says.

They have also introduced an oval-shaped, top handle Pill Box handbag as well as the Ballou, a soft clutch named for the classic 1965 film Cat Ballou starring Hopper’s godmother Jane Fonda. Also popular are the Field Bag, which looks like a binocular case, a Teardrop tote and the micro Guide handbag.

In the last year, we really switched focus into more structured bags,” Hopper says. “Before that, we mainly did unstructured bags. We felt that, with the factory, we have the ability to be nimble enough to do both, so why not show the breath of what we can do?”

“We can design to what the customer wants,” Goldstone adds. “We introduced the mini Shopper at a sweet spot price point — $495 — that was a great way to move fast on what was happening. It’s like a Google algorithm to have your own factory. It’s a game changer.”

Hayward Pill Box handbags
Hayward Pill Box handbags come in a variety of fabrications. (Photo courtesy of Hayward)

Handbag prices range from $500 to $20,ooo, with the lion’s share of the collection between $1,000 and $2,000, Goldstone says. All of the latest styles will be featured in a trunk show at Elizabeth Anthony on March 12 and 13. In Dallas, the collection is available at Stanley Korshak.

Hopper Too

The couple also launched an auxiliary brand, Hopper, that focuses on unisex clothing, leather goods, accessories and books inspired by the spirit of Dennis Hopper. Brad Pitt recently sported a pair of  Hopper-produced sunglasses on the cover of GQ magazine. The retro-looking Taos sunglasses were created in a partnership with Jacques Marie Mage.

 “Hopper is the world of lifestyle — home, furniture, accessories,” Goldstone says. “Hayward is very specific; it’s meant to introduce the world to the brand and engage with the customer. Hopper is on its way to doing a lot more.”

The full Hayward and Hopper collections are showcased at the flagship New York headquarters, Hayward House, in the restored Grosvenor Atterbury Mansion on the Upper East Side.

Hopper and Goldstone are also tapping into the Hollywood legacy by joining Ernest Hemingway’s granddaughter, Mariel Hemingway, to produce a television mini-series based on A Moveable Feast , the classic Hemingway memoir about life in Paris as an unknown writer. The duo is creating products for sale as a tie-in with the production. They are also developing another mini-series on the life of Dennis Hopper and Brooke Hayward in the ’60s.

“It’s the confluence of fashion, art, and the media. The people who are conversant in all of those worlds is going to move ahead. And I think if you are just too focused on one sector it’s not going to work,” Goldstone says. “You have to give people a reason to engage with you.”

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