How do you make simple things interesting and chic? This is the question bag designer Clare Vivier asks herself each time she sits down to create a new piece, and it has guided the evolution of her line since she first fashioned her own leather laptop case, finding no stylish options available. Since launching in 2008, Clare Vivier the brand has grown exponentially, culminating in the June opening of her L.A. flagship store in Silver Lake. The airy corner space, designed with architect Barbara Bestor, is stacked to the natural wooden rafters with Vivier’s perennially popular clutches, slouchy leather “La Tropezienne” totes, neon-striped wallets, and newer structured pieces like textured duffels in classic shades of red, blue and tan. The shop also carries jewelry by local designers (and friends) Grace Lee and Annie Costello Brown, artisanal fragrance lines, hats from Steven Alan, and magazines such as French Vogue – just because it’s her favorite.Vivier first came to the public’s attention with her cool, minimalist clutches made from eco-friendly leather remnants. Colorful, contrasting zippers added an extra pop – and became her signature. Priced around $100, their affordability and simplicity were a breath of fresh air in an era of wait-listed, over-embellished “It bags.” Vivier cites timeless Parisian chic – thanks to her French documentary filmmaker husband and inlaws – and sunny L.A. modernism as her key style touchstones, and her fresh aesthetic has caught the eye of everyone from visionary local design firm Commune to major apparel brand Theory, both of whom she’s collaborated with.
Also the mother of a 9-year-old son, Vivier has a broader conscientiousness that also informs her line. Although her production runs have mostly gotten too large to use salvaged leather anymore (thanks to a private investment firm she teamed up with in April), she still uses local factories and vendors. She proudly notes that today Clare Vivier has become almost everyone’s major customer. And she’s not stopping there: Plans are percolating for a New York store, and she intends to expand into shoes next summer. “I want to keep growing at a nice pace, but I’m just taking it one day at a time,” she says. “My hope is to become a successful American brand that is around for a long time.”
The Clare Vivier flagship is located at 3339 Sunset Boulevard, Los Angeles. 323.665.2476 or clarevivier.com.