Three words come to mind when we think of handbag designer Clare Vivier’s leather clutches and carryalls: classic, clean, and (brilliantly) unfussy. Neither pouch nor tote is ever too embellished or tricky. So, you can imagine our excitement when we spotted her new collection of denim accessories – a mini-duffel, a chevron-printed envelope, a roll-up backgammon set, to start – while visiting Clare’s Silver Lake studio on our last trip to L.A. She was wearing denim espadrilles in a blue that matched her Acne matchstick jeans to a T. Her striped button-down shirt was crisp and casual. And her team of effortlessly dressed young women was wearing jeans of every kind, from white and high waisted to borrowed from a boy (literally). We swooned and took a seat to talk to Clare about what she wants from a pair of jeans now vs. how she wore them in her 20s, and why denim makes such good sense for handbags.
You’re now making denim bags!
It’s fun for us to explore not working with leather, which most of our collection is made from. But, I like to think of our line as classic and simple and chic, and denim was a very obvious choice for us – because of the structure and the way it holds up. And, because of the way it’s going to wear in beautifully, like how our leather wears in beautifully, but in a different way. The idea of someone keeping one of our denim bags and using it until it’s worn in like a good pair of jeans was really enticing to me. I can’t wait to see one of the bags that’s been worn for a long time.
We’re loving the cleanness of the jeans you have on. Tell us about them.
I got these at Steven Alan in New York right before my [annual] trip to France last summer. They’re Acne’s Flex style, and I was so excited when I found them because I’ve been wanting a pair of superclean, dark jeans. I had bought a pair of raw ones from another brand and I wore them for a while, and they were just too hard and torturous! I couldn’t keep at it. I’ll keep those, because I love them. But when I found these Acnes, I thought, “Oh my God, these are perfect.’”
What exactly makes this pair so perfect?
The fit, the color, the fact that they have a little bit of a higher rise, and they fit snugly but aren’t too tight – with a teeny bit of stretch, that you can’t tell is there. They just feel flattering. I don’t know that they are, but they feel like they are. From what my mirror tells me [laughs].
So, you get up in the morning, you put on these Acnes… What do you wear them with and how do you style them?
They’re a little long, which works well with a tall heel or a boot. But I also like to show my ankles with pants. I’m a high-waters person, so I roll my hem up once, and then I fold them up again. And I’m really a button-up shirt girl. I have a lot of Steven Alan shirts. I also love a vintage-y, Victorian-esque, white-cotton lacey shirt, like the one I’m wearing today, which is Marissa Webb. I think I have like four or five shirts like this right now.
Click on the pictures to see the slideshow
Any denim don’ts for you?
I don’t like jeans that have a lot of washing or distressing on them, unless they’re all-over light blue. I bought pair like that last year. They’re skinny, cropped Current/Elliotts.
Do you have a most memorable pair?
I do! I have this pair of Levi’s cutoffs with a selvedge edge that are so, so cute. Super short. I wore them the summer I was 21 and living in New York with my ex-boyfriend. It was a really sweet time. I can see myself the kitchen of our Chelsea apartment when I look at those jean shorts. Back then, I remember thinking, “Oh, my God, these are so short.” And now all the girls are wearing them even shorter! I’m too old to wear them again, but I will never get rid of them.
P.S. A picture of Clare’s Levi’s short shorts is on Instagram @JeanStories. So good!