What is your Favorite AK Item and why?
I love the Note Card Jotter in black and white ring lizard - so chic on my desk and also the alligator picture frame. My next purchase will be the large alligator hip flask as a gift for my husband's birthday. SO James Bond, I think every man needs one!
What are your top prized possessions and what can you not live without and why?
I would say our wire haired dachsunds Ollie (12 years old, wild boar) and Georgie (4 years old
and black and tan), such wonderful characters, we just love them!
My father, Barnaby Conrad's, portrait in pencil of Manolete that he did from life while visiting Manolete in Peru during a corrida.
A painting by my friend Charles Fine. Incredible texture.
A still life by my sister, Cayetana Conrad, beautiful colors.
Our home movies documenting our children's lives. Irreplaceable!
The book "The Circle" by Dave Eggers-sooo good!
Axe Restaurant for lunch in the garden in Venice.
The Channel Islands off the coast of Santa Barbara.
White truffle oil and pink sea salt on everything!
Los Angeles County Museum of Art (LACMA) for amazing art installations and shows.
Best Advice you have ever received?
"Don't ever wish you would have!"
My father told me that when I was probably 10 years old and I never forgot it. Meaning: live life to the fullest! No regrets, go for it! Live your dream!
Personal Mantra or quote you tote around with you?
I think I can, I think I can....
Tell us about how you started Kendall Conrad and how it came to be?
I started making bags in 2000 during my second pregnancy, called Tauro Santa Barbara. I couldn't find a bag I liked at the time, so decided to make my own with a local saddle maker. It was a simple tote with hand-stitching in bridle leather. Today, it is still one of our bestsellers, The Marisol.
Then, I had more ideas for other shapes and then my friends wanted them and so it began and grew from there. Maxfield were the first to carry them and then Vogue did a piece on me and Barneys and Takashimaya called and we grew from there.
With a restructuring of the company in 2007, we relaunched as Kendall Conrad in 2008. We opened our first store on Abbott Kinney in Venice, in 2010, and then our second in the Brentwood Country Mart in 2012. We have just opened our 3rd store in Montecito.
What is your background?
I was born in San Francisco and we moved to our beach house at Rincon Point when I was eight. I
grew up surfing and riding horses. My father was a writer and matador in Spain. We would go to see the bullfights in Spain and Mexico all the time.
My parents started the Santa Barbara Writers Conference and great writers such as Ray Bradbury, William Styron, James Michener, Joan DIdion, Gore Vidal, Alex Haley. etc.. were always at our house. It was never boring!
I went to boarding school in Connecticut when I was 14 and then to UCLA before I went to live in Paris and Milan to model. Then, I lived in NYC and LA with frequent trips back to Paris. We moved backed to Santa Barbara 16 years ago to raise our girls.
What inspires you and how do you come up with your designs?
I am inspired by so many things. My horseback riding, the tack and the saddlery, and the pageantry of the corridas-the matador's costumes, flamenco, anything Spanish - I am a complete Hispanophile! Nature, the beach, travel, sculpture, art and architecture all affect and shape what comes out of my head.
Tell us a little about your creative process ...
My creative process: usually begins with an idea of what I want and a sketch. For the bags, that
can begin with inspiration from riding tack for example or a beautiful piece of leather. For the
jewelry, it starts with sketching nature or sculpture. I sketch and I measure and then build
the sample. Then tweak and then the final, colors and materials selected and production begins.
What do you see in the future of Kendall Conrad?
More stores, more wholesale accounts, more categories!
2 things that people would never know about you that you want to share?
I play the piano
I love to Karaoke
What are your favorite items from Kendall Conrad now that you are loving?
I am never without my iPhone case, either in one of my bags or as my evening clutch - it's all I
take. There is room for money, credit cards and a skinny lip balm.
I am always wearing one of my leather cuffs, they are empowering somehow.
I feel naked without one on.
I am loving the Socorro bag - one of my favorites ever.
It holds everything and has a lot of swagger to it.
My Manolete slipper/loafers - so comfortable, with a spongy bottom and great with cropped pants.
I always wear hoops. I think they are flattering and remind my of Spain and flamenco dancers.
I love the Thin Rounded Hoops especially at present.
You are so naturally beautiful - What are your beauty essentials?
You and your family travel to amazing places - what is your favorite place you have been and what is on your bucket list to go?
Probably my favorite place so far is the Maldives. My family and I had the best time there - it was like a blue dream. We were in the water all day long beautiful! Incredible underwater life. You can
take jet skies out into the middle of the ocean and there will be an amazing reef to snorkel. Wonderful people and happy memories.
What about entertaining?
I love to have friends over for dinner all year round. In the winter, very cozy in laps around the
fire, in spring, summer and fall, down by our outdoor creekeside fire place or at Rincon beach, where I grew up and my mother lives with a bonfire party after being in the ocean all day.
I cook a lot. I like exotic flavors and like to experiment with international cuisine, especially middle eastern. I do not follow recipes, unless I am baking (not my favorite as I have more of salty spicy palette rather than sweet), usually I just make something up depending on what is in season at the Farmer's market and go by instinct, a little of this and a little of that. Or sometimes I pull out a favorite from my cookbook, "EAT WELL, FEEL WELL" but I always change it up and stay off recipe.
Who is Kendall Conrad and why do we love her?
Some will think it odd that I am highlighting another accessories and handbag designer, but Style File started as sharing and exposing things I love with others and this girl I adore! We met in Santa Barbara and share a love for design, long beach walks and she inspires me on many levels. She is an amazing mother, chic and beautiful with an amazing line. I own her cuffs and wallets and get so many compliments on them. I admire her clean lines, her attention to detail and incorporating her background into every design. They are timeless and classic with a modern edge, just like her!
If you are lucky enough to live nearby one of her stores I highly recommend you go stop by:
1121 Abbot Kinney Blvd.
Venice, CA 90291
The Brentwood Country Mart
225 26th St.
Santa Monica, CA 90049
The Montecito Country Mart
1024 Coast Village Rd
Montecito, CA 93108
Otherwise, online shopping is the way to go and you can shop the entire collection here.
From being a model, author, daughter and sister to artists (the list goes on and on) it is easy to see that artistry, creativity and style run thick throughout Kendall's life and throughout her stylish collection. Each piece is handcrafted in the U.S., unique in its own right, and from first hand experience I know that you'll love being the owner or giver of Kendall Conrad.
In addition to all of the above, Kendall also has a photography/inspiration blog that you can check out here. She currently resides in Santa Barbara with her husband, David, and their two daughters, Luisa and Fernanda (who, by the way, run their own über cute and creative online magazine, SiS).