If Tuesday’s earthquake taught us anything, it’s that certain Californian elements just don’t translate to the Atlantic coast–at least not without a lot of Twitter protest. But when we heard several months ago that Kate Spade New York, purveyor of all things preppy-pretty, was poised to team up with L.A. stylists Emily Current and Meritt Elliot (the same team behind those perfectly slouchy boyfriend jeans) for a special collection, our ears instantly perked up.
On Wednesday night, we headed to Kate Spade New York’s Broome Street boutique to witness the results. From leather-edged envelope clutches sparkling with charcoal-toned sequins to ostrich-skin shoulder bags and logo-free satchels sure to get even better with age and wear, every single piece in the duo’s “Westward” lineup embodies heritage-steeped simplicity.
In between sips of champagne and bites of sliders, we chatted with Kate Spade New York Creative Director Deborah Lloyd about how the collab came about. “It was all about joint admiration,” she said, “plus, my own assistant wears Current/Elliott head-to-toe to work!” Lloyd explains that while us Manhattanites tend to go for a “matching, polished” aesthetic, she loved the notion of adding a Californian touch to her label’s famously girly look. “It was all about the laid-back style and relaxed peace that they brought to the bags, the unusual materials and the mixing-up of things. But you still see those Kate Spade pops of polish and sweetness.”
According to Meritt Elliott, the collaboration came together organically. “We have always loved everything Kate Spade’s done, and they’ve never deviated from who they are. So last Fashion Week, we met with them for coffee and decided to do something together. By the next day, we were brainstorming!” Adds Current, “We had a vision of the Kate Spade girl leaving New York, and not taking a private jet to LA, but piling all her favorite things in her car and driving to LA, heading westward. So we built in all this luggage and whimsical travel gear.”
Up next for the hardworking stylists? They’re heading eastward yet again, this time for Fashion Week. They’ll be working with clients Emma Roberts, Mandy Moore, and Sophia Bush throughout the shows, and confessed that their star clientele’s jam-packed schedules informed some of the designs in their Kate Spade capsule. “As stylists dressing girls who are constantly on the road for press tours, you have to give them a clutch that they can go from event to event with,” said Elliot. Surprisingly roomy and not overly precious, Westward’s sequined iteration sounds like just the ticket. And judging by the bicoastal turnout at the fête, which drew everyone from Teen Vogue‘s Andrew Bevan and Glamour’s fashion market team to LA-based Hillary Kerr of Who What Wear, this collab will likely join Pinkberry and Trader Joe’s as Cali imports we consider downright delicious.