The Style Files: Kendall Conrad

Kendall Conrad

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Kendall Conrad is a modern style icon. The former model who worked with the likes of Helmut Newton, Valentino, Calvin Klein, and Giorgio Armani grew up in Santa Barbara, the daughter of a writer and a painter/former bullfighter. Her classic, sophisticated style has undoubtedly been influenced by her bohemian California upbringing as well as the time she spent living abroad in Paris and London. Kendall’s creativity and chic style eventually lead to the creation of an eponymous handbag line which has evolved into a full accessories collection featuring bags, shoes, jewelry, scarves, and items for the home. All of the pieces are made in California using artisanal techniques and the finest materials. The collection is filled with streamlined, timeless designs with nods to equestrian style and a sense of California cool. Kendall has namesake boutiques in Venice and Brentwood in the Los Angeles area as well as in Montecito in Santa Barbara. Most recently, Kendall launched an exciting collaboration with Club Monaco. I met Kendall when she was in town a couple of months ago and was struck not only by her beauty, but by her warm, kind nature and effortless style. Enjoy!

Paloma Contreras: How would you describe your style?

Kendall Conrad: Relaxed, tomboy, uniform. I don’t like to think about what I am going to wear clothing-wise-I like to keep it simple and suited to me. A basic canvas that I can then accessorize. Which is why I am probably an accessories designer as I love changing up shoes, bags, belts, cuffs and jewelry all of the time!

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PC: How has living in California influenced your aesthetic?

KC: The weather leads to layering as it can really heat up after a chilly morning. I almost always have a cashmere scarf around my neck in the winter or a linen one in the summer.

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PC: What does your home say about you?

KC: A lot I think as it’s an expression of how we live and what we like. Like the way I dress, we start with a blank canvas of neutrals, and bring in the “accessories” art, books, rugs, flowers, objects. These can change all the time for freshness.

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PC: Where do you turn for inspiration?

KC: My daughters, nature, music, film, books, sculpture and art-it all gets in!

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PC: Who are your personal style icons?

KC: Well, to me it’s not just what they wore, but the whole package-who they were, how did they live their life, what did they contribute, etc…Georgia O’Keefe is way up there, and my old friend Huguette Calan, an amazing artist/sculptor who wore chic smocks everyday with paint on them and had special evening smocks as well-a true uniform. And of course all of the 70s babes like Charlotte Rampling and Lauren Hutton, then and now.

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{Charlotte Rampling Photographed by Helmut Newton for Vogue}

PC: What is your guilty pleasure?

KC: Very dark chocolate– 85% plus.

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PC: What trait do you most admire in a person?

KC: Character

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PC: Who or what has been your greatest professional influence?

KC: Agnes B.! I loved her stores in Soho and Paris when I lived there. She was so cool and all about art. She always marched to the beat of her own drum.

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{The Agnes B. Store in Soho}

PC: What is your idea of living “la dolce vita”?

KC: Family, friends, and the beach

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PC: What can we look forward to next from you?

KC: We are very excited about our new collaboration with Club Monaco!

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Go-To Outfit: jeans and a v neck cashmere and cashmere scarf in winter, shorts and a v neck t-shirt in summer with a linen scarf

Style Mantra: Make sure it fits well!

Scent: Nalu, by l’oeil du vert-we sell in our stores

Piece of Jewelry: cycad cuff in sterling silver

Color I Never Tire Of: white, black, navy

Flower: peony or fresh cut ginger

Indispensable Design Element: balance, space, and light

Era for Design: I love Spanish colonial mixed with modern organic and ethnic pieces

Dream Project: to have my husband build and design a modern house overlooking the sea.

Fabric/Textile: natural jutes, dark woods, brass and silver, wool

Hostess Gift: one of my candles in their hand-stitched leather boxes.

Meal: anything from Gjusta in Venice

Drink: grape kombucha

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Way to Unwind after a Long Day at Work: yoga, hot bath or beach walk

3 Things I Love About My City: since I straddle two I will list for both: Santa Barbara: nature everywhere, beautiful scenery and privacy. Los Angeles: happenings, art and sculpture, architecture, music scene, restaurants.

Weekend Destination: Inverness or Point Reyes in northern California

Hotel: The Colombe D’Or in St. Paul de Vence, La Residencia in Deia, Mallorca, Claridge’s or Blakes in London

City: London and Paris and nyc

Museum: The Prado, Madrid, Foundation Maeght in Vence. Victoria and Albert in London, The British Museum, L’Orangerie and the Louvre in Paris, Picasso Museum, Rijks museum in Amsterdam, Hermitage in St. Petersburg, Russia and on and on….

Artist: Picasso, Matisse, Frankenthaller, Cezanne, Basquiat, Mirø, DeKooning, Schiele, Van Dongen, Twombly, Modigliani, Gerhard Richter, Charles Fine

Song that Always Puts Me in a Great Mood: So many! “Blue Lines” by Massive Attack, “Born Slippy” by Underworld, there is a great mash up of “Peg” by Steely Dan by someone I don’t know who, De La Soul’s “3 is a Magic Number”, too many to list!

Actor/Actress: Brit Marlen

Prized Possession: my wire haired dachsunds

Risk Worth Taking: introducing yourself to someone you admire

Greatest Extravagance: 1st class travel

Go-To Color Palette: any neutrals and black and white

Rule to Break: no white after labor day-ridiculous and non applicable in California.

Movie Set Design: The Life Aquatic

I can never have too many… bracelets and scarves

Paloma Signature

2 thoughts on “The Style Files: Kendall Conrad

  1. I am a new fan and I love her style both personally and professionally. I can’t wait to explore the Club Monaco collaboration.

    Forever Chic!

    Marjie

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