Next to surfers, there may be no group more synonymous with rebellious Los Angeles cool than skateboarders. So it made perfect sense that Wednesday, French brand Kenzo, which is helmed by Humberto Leon and Carol Lim, launched its new Kalifornia handbag at a skatepark in downtown Los Angeles. Party co-hosts Rashida Jones, Carrie Brownstein, China Chow, and Gia Coppola, as well as guests like Fergie, Rose McGowan, Devon Aoki, and Jenny Lewis, mingled with skate kids and navigated half-pipes in the huge dark warehouse space.
Leon and Lim, Los Angeles natives and longtime friends, are a few seasons into their tenure at Kenzo and they continue to bring a fun, fresh, California style to the iconic brand. Leon tells Fashionista that after working on the bag for a year and a half, they took it on a road trip from Berkeley to LA and photographed the bag in every touristy spot. After the trip, Kalifornia just seemed like the perfect name for it. “Because it’s Kenzo, [the bag] has its own Parisian aesthetic, but it also has an ease to it [that is very California],” Leon says.
The leather bag, with its zippers and funky shape, has a bit of a motorcyclist vibe. Leon says that’s no coincidence: “When we were designing and looking at leathers, we kept looking at our leather jackets, thinking about the different weights and textures of them, and there was definitely inspiration there.”
The Kalifornia is already a hit with Kenzo’s celebrity clientele. Jessica Alba says she is “completely obsessed with it.” The preternaturally beautiful Rashida Jones, who was escorted by Brad Goreski, likewise said she was “obsessed,” and was carrying no fewer than three bags to prove it.
Jones says that as soon as Leon took over at Kenzo, she began to follow the brand closely. Part of what she loves about the designer is that he “is so original and cool and non-pretentious and he isn’t scared of anything,” she says, adding that she finds his fearlessness inspirational.
Speaking of inspiration, we asked Jones about her turn as a Band of Outsiders muse for the brand’s most recent campaign. She says she was “extremely flattered” when Creative Director Scott Sternberg asked her and her sister Kidada to shoot for the lookbook. “It is dreamy how the clothes fit. Nothing else fits like that. My sister and I have such different styles but we both manage to wear Band all the time and feel totally individualistic when we wear it, which is hard to do.”
Getting back to why we were at a skatepark in cocktail dresses. “[Leon] is the shit and can do no wrong,” says Jones. “He keeps trying and he just keeps pushing boundaries.”
For a look inside the party, click through our slideshow below.