All the Looks Insider caught up with handbag designer Lauren Merkin at an exclusive DailyCandy Deals party to talk about her latest collaboration with the brand, the stars of her spring collection and more.
Q: Can you start off by telling us about your collaboration with DailyCandy and how it came to be?
A: DailyCandy came to us because they wanted to create something special for MasterCard – a priceless opportunity – so we were trying to think of something we could do that couldn’t be recreated and that we don't offer our regular customers.
We took one of our best-selling shapes, the "Caroline," and we created a special lining that features all of the DailyCandy illustrations and also says DailyCandy. Not only did we offer the bag, but customers were able to customize it by both picking the color of the exterior and monogramming it with their names. They had up to 12 characters (I think it was) and they could choose gold or silver thread.
And then, of course, coming to this showroom party was part of the exclusive experience that we offered those purchasers, along with the chance to see and buy bags from our spring collection before anyone else.
Q: How much did the customized bag cost and is it still available?
A: It was $295 and, while it was within the DailyCandy Deals umbrella, it wasn't a discount, but a special, limited-edition "priceless" opportunity [that has since ended].
Q: Can you offer some insight into your spring collection? Is there anything you're trying for the first time or particularly excited about?
A: This is definitely our best collection ever. We have a lot of really fun materials and new shapes. We’ve done some with a heritage look using really classic leathers in cognacs and reds, so they're a little more old-school looking, and we did a cork with a funky sort of 70s feel to it. We have a bunch of new day bags and some clutches, as well.
On the very small, extreme side we have a new minaudiere called the "Lucca," which we're really excited about and is something that's been in development for a really long time.
Q: Would you consider that your favorite piece if you had to choose just one from the entire collection?
A: Probably, because it's been a labor of love. The "Lucca" is something I've wanted to make for many seasons and we finally found a way to make it in a level of quality that we think fits our brand and our customer. It's very evening, but I'm excited because I just think it's a cool object even beyond just being a handbag.
Q: What would you consider some of the biggest handbag trends for spring?
A: There's been a trend toward a little more structure and more classic, ladylike kinds of bags. We definitely have some of that, and the satchels. I think women are just looking for real function. We have a lot of bags that offer a cross-body option, so that's something we definitely try to embrace and make sure we're offering our customers.
Q: What would you consider your go-to bag, either Lauren Merkin or otherwise?
A: [She laughs] Well, I only carry Lauren Merkin. For daytime, I carry the "Marlow," which was new for fall and is one [bag] that we carried through because it's a really great style.
Q: When you do that, do you typically carry a bag through as-is?
A: The colors and leathers always change, but the silhouettes stay the same, and it's a great silhouette. It's easy, and can be carried as a short-handle or a cross-body.
Two other bags that were in prior collections and have been updated are the "Iris" (for spring) and the "Tatum," which is my favorite clutch for sure. I go back to it again and again, but I can't help it [she laughs].
Q: What are three handbag styles every woman should own?
A: Ooh, that's a good one. I would probably say a great day bag that lets you can kind of walk in anywhere and feel stylish, then a larger clutch that's more casual, maybe you can wear it to lunch or even when you're going out.
And then a smaller evening bag, whether it be black or neutral, to balance out your collection and wear for a wedding or a black tie event. Sometimes it's chic to wear a larger clutch for a wedding, but in your closet you should have at least one larger clutch and one smaller.
Check out the Lauren Merkin for DailyCandy bag below, and find more styles at laurenmerkin.com.
Photo: Lauren Merkin/DailyCandy