For a minimalist look with a totally “now” edge, new design studio Leon + Bella’s first product line consists of limited-edition totes and backpacks in neon-accented leather and canvas. The brand tags itself “Americana,” embodying the concept throughout by making all their products in the USA, and by balancing a commitment to quality and attention to detail with an unfussy elegance. This laid-back approach makes the accessories as suitable for the beach as for the boardroom. We’d happily pair a Leon + Bella with our Habitual Angelina jean for any “summer fun” occasion.
Based in Berkley, CA, Claflin Thayer &Co., is a unique leather goods and accessories line created by leather goddess Liz Thayer. This all American family business was inspired by Liz’s father, Edward Claflin Thayer, who opened a leather shoe shop around 1820.Some of the most popular items the line carries are the adorable baby booties and “JoJo Lips” bags. Each leather hide has a history based on the animal it was taken from, no leather will be identical. Claflin Thayer &Co.’s website states that blemishes, scars and marks on the leather will only add to the uniqueness of the item.
Perfect for a night out, the “JoJo” lips are made in different colors and are also offered in metallic or suede. We definitely see these bags being used for carrying ID’s, phones and make-up on a night about the town!
Although the website only lists the “JoJo Lips” and baby booties for sale, Liz Thayer has made some other really cool items listed on her blog. In the past she has designed studded leather bags and jackets, this woman has an eye for fashion!
All items are designed, cut, and constructed on a made-to-order basis; make sure to check out some of Liz’s work.
South Paradiso Leather is a custom leather boutique on Sunset and La Cienega run by Romulus Von Stezelberger. With racks of handmade leather jackets, belts, hats, wallets, and even jeans, many with intricate appliques, custom paintings, colors and textures, Von Stezelberger works to bring back the values of old-world craftsmanship, attention to detail, and small scale production. In fitting rockstar and celebrity clients like Jack White, Felicity Huffman, and Steve Jones of the Sex Pistols, Paradiso makes seven measurements for the arm alone. Pieces start at $150 for a belt up to $6,000 for a jacket, and the company also sells to boutiques as far as Italy and Japan.
Von Stezelberger founded the company in San Francisco in 2001, after learning about vintage rock and roll leather jackets designed by the East West Musical Instruments Company, who outfitted rockers like Elvis and Janis Joplin. In addition to his original designs, Von Stezelberger now reproduces iconic East West designs like the Parrot Jacket, made famous in the 70’s and recently referenced (or ripped off) by Balenciaga and Urban Outfitters.
You probably already know Jeannie Mai as the energetic host of Style Network’s Emmy-nominated show How Do I Look?, but you’ll also see her on NBC’s upcoming style competition show Fashion Star. Jeannie will serve as the show’s Digital Fashionista, alongside host Elle Macpherson and fashion mentors Jessica Simpson, Nicole Richie and John Varvatos. In addition to chatting up the contestants on air, Jeannie will show off her spunk and style sense online in a series of ten online videos.
Known for using fashion to inspire, educate and empower women, Jeannie recently answered HABITUAL’s 5 Questions, and talked about food, being a fashionista, and “flasses”:
New York or Los Angeles, and why?
Sigh…why are you making me choose? NY for fashion & food, LA for swagger. Meaning…I love NY for the undeniable energy of inspiration for style, and the thousands of food choices can’t be beat. But I love LA for having it’s snobby swagga. Don’t hate.
Give us a sense of your personal style?
I’m playful. My style says it’s time to celebrate whatever I feel blessed to have for that day, whether it be my job, the event I’m hosting, my womanhood, or my imagination. I tend to find all of my inspiration to mix colors and textures through food, not only because I’m a foodiva, but also because I want to look delicious.
You’re best known for your work as a stylist and host, but what do you consider your greatest talent?
My greatest talent is celebrating people’s potential. I’m inspired by everyone, and can be any body’s greatest cheerleader. I believe everyone is uniquely talented- and when you mix that with potential, you have world changers.
What’s your daily habit?
Eating and praying. I love food, and love that it reminds me stop and say Thanks. I can’t live without the two.
What’s one thing in your closet you could never give up? And what’s your go-to piece in the closet right now?
One thing I could never give up are shoes. I feel sexy and powerful when I strut. My go – to piece are my flasses (fake glasses). They’re any body’s best sex-essory. Everyone should own a pair, I have 80.
BONUS: Leather or Lace?
Both, bonded tight.
You might have spotted our new coated denim ad running in this month’s NYLON. To create one of fall’s hottest trends, we start with a denim base, which gives the pants the shape and comfort of a pair of jeans, and then cover it in a coat of pigment to get a leather look on the outside, without the cost associated with the real thing. We have always loved leather, and coated allows us to achieve a similar look in a super soft new treatment. As a bonus, we don’t have to harm any small animals.
While many brands are doing a black coated denim for fall, what sets our coated apart is the color story and the quality of the denim underneath. We start with a super fine European legging denim for the base – no expense spared - so you get great fabric recovery and the best fit. We’ve also pushed beyond black and picked up some of the hottest trend colors from the fall. Coating is a tougher way to bring color into the line, taking on a deeper, richer tone and adding a rock & roll edge to the jeans, so we’ve avoided fluorescent pinks and oranges, and opted for tones like licorice, chocolate, chianti and vermilion. Aside from getting you on trend for fall, wearing a pair of coated denim just plain looks cool.
This photo was shot in our LA factory by Josh Argyle. We actually found this beautiful vintage wood panel in our storage area, and used it as a backdrop on a whim. Sure enough, after we looked at all the pictures, this shot turned out to be the one we all liked best.
We love the clean, simple bags made by designer Clare Vivier. Clare may be French, but her signature totes, handbags and clutches are all locally made right here in Los Angeles (maybe we are neighbors?). She uses rich leather in mostly neutral tones – with the occasional pop of bright color, as in this Pochette in undyed leather with a hot pink silk screen stripe - to create pieces that balance style with utility. These can go from work to weekend in no time.
You can find them at Vivier and Bentley, a new showroom and store in Silverlake that Vivier shares with jewelry designer Kathryn Bentley, or there is a list of retailers on her website. Vivier also maintains a cute blog that shows behind the scenes of the company and her own personal style.