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Behind The Scenes

Clare Vivier's L.A. Designer Posse

From left, designers Annie Costello Brown, Melissa Coker, Jesse Kamm, and Clare Vivier (wearing a Jesse Kamm dress!) with Heather Taylor of Taylor De Cordoba gallery. Like the food, the fashion scene in Los Angeles is organically grown. “L.A. has a real undertone of cheesiness, so when the city tries to put on fashion week or something like that, it usually just turns bad. But a lot of creative and cool people live here! We all help each other out and collaborate,” explains Clare Vivier, she of the cultish and minimalist bag line. “When you’re willing to help others and they’re willing to help you, suddenly you’re not on this little desert island.” These are the designing women she hangs with—and whose work she wears. Melissa Coker of Wren“She has a great, classic, girly style. It’s not over-the-top—it’s not pink and frilly. It’s like girly with an edge. Companies like J. Crew are catching on to her look now.” Kathryn Bentley“Kathryn has two lines. The first is a collection of gold pieces that offer a nice balance between rough and clean. The second is more accessible, with pieces that add a bit of boho-chicness to any outfit—they bring your look down a notch.”How Clare Vivier is adorning her right arm as of late: Kathryn Bentley black opal ring and snake ring; Grace Lee signet ring, black diamond bracelet, and gold cuff; Leslie Offer pendant bracelets.Grace Lee of Oli + Me“There’s a really young jeweler who’s just getting out there now. Her name is Grace Lee, and she’s a very talented girl and a hard-worker. I have a rough black diamond bracelet from her that’s really cool.” Annie Costello Brown“She’s at the forefront of leather jewelry. I have one of her fringe necklaces—it’s a very classic piece.”A self-portrait of sorts, featuring Clare’s Annie Costello Brown necklace. Jasmin Shokrian“Jasmin’s fashion is almost intellectual—every little thing is so thought out. She has this circle dress and circle shirt that are her signature pieces—you button them to give them shape.” Jesse Kamm“Jesse, she’s more into prints. She has a turtle fabric where you can’t really tell it’s a turtle. I have dress made from it.”Some of Clare’s own bags, in leather so rich-looking we want to eat it. Clare’s newest Of a Kind edition is a pretty as her pals are. Take a look before it’s gone…
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Clare Vivier's Very Favorite Places in Silverlake

Clare Vivier practically owns her L.A. neighborhood: She’s lived in Silverlake for a decade (yup, early adopter) and recently opened a store there with her jewelry-making buddy (and fellow Of a Kind alum) Kathryn Bentley. Basically, if you need someone to show you the ropes, she’s your girl, and she was kind enough to play tour guide. Taix“Taix is a really old-school French restaurant—the interior hasn’t changed in 30 years, and the waiters have been there forever. I love to eat steak frites in the bar area.” (taixfrench.com) Intelligentsia“It’s just the best coffee. I usually get an espresso, and they serve it with a little glass of sparkling water. I think that’s really cute.” (intelligentsiacoffee.com) Forage“My very favorite restaurant is Forage. I eat there at least once a week and order the kale and arugula salad with lemon vinaigrette and toasted breadcrumbs on top.” (foragela.com) Mohawk General Store“I got a pair of silver Rachel Comey loafers there last year, and I feel like she should release them again because I get so many compliments on them! There’s a Raquel Allegra coat in a nubby, boiled wool that I want right now.” (mohawkgeneralstore.net) Cookbook“This is a super cute little market on Echo Park Avenue. Any time you don’t have an idea of what to cook, they’ll help you figure it out. It seems like a small store with a small selection, but they’ll be like, ‘Oh! Just take this arugula, this mint, and peas…’ Which is nice—to have your selection totally slimmed down.” (cookbookla.com) Clare is back with a brand-new edition that’s bound to go fast! It’s leather, it’s floral, and you want it in your arsenal right now.
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Meet Clare Vivier

It all started in 2006 when Clare Vivier, then a journalist, couldn’t find a sturdy, stylish sleeve for toting around her computer. So, she decided to make one. “At the time, computers needed more protection. You know—when they were new, we all wanted to be really careful about our laptops,” Clare explains. “Now you can practically throw them around.” After experimenting with all sorts of padding and quilted fabrics, she started working in leather, landed on her pared-down, sophisticated aesthetic, and got into the bag business. “I loved Bonnie Cashin-era Coach when I was young, how minimal the company was in its leather goods. Then I went to France and saw things that were just beautiful in their simplicity, without much hardware and other things going on,” she says. Clare lived in Indiana, Minnesota, San Francisco, New York, and Paris (where she picked up a French husband and corresponding last name) before landing in Los Angeles. The city has proven to be a good home for her no-nonsense line of saturated navy messengers and slightly retro shoulder bags—she can do her designing from home (which means less time away from her seven-year-old son) and work with local factories. But lest you think she was always an ultra-polished sophisticate, you should know that Clare co-owned a hip-hop-inflected clothing store with an in-house D.J. in Haight-Ashbury during college. Now’s your chance to get a piece of Clare: She made a killer, floral clutch just for Of a Kind.
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