The latest entry into the minimally branded contemporary handbag category is Malibu-based von Holzhausen, whose attractive pebble-grain totes and bucket bags with knotted drawstring handles and painted edges are carving out a place next to like-minded offerings from Mansur Gavriel, Building Block and Clare Vivier.
The accessories label was started by Vicki von Holzhausen, a former car designer who still has a stake in that industry, since she’s married to Franz von Holzhausen, chief designer of Tesla. The two live in the Coastline Drive community in a modern home they are redesigning together.
“Cars are aspirational products, fashion is the same, so there’s an easy connection to draw people in,” says von Holzhausen, who worked in the auto industry for 12 years at Audi and General Motors before transitioning into fashion last year.
When she started, designing a bag was not as easy as she thought. “The engineering that goes into making an auto is so much more complicated, so you’d think a bag would be a piece of cake. But it’s been quite a journey,” says von Holzhausen, whose sleek personal style (Stella McCartney, Helmut Lang) is reflected in her less-is-more designs.
Her first was a cross-body bag with a cage-like construction. “The idea was for it to be a container, a bag within a bag. And I have taken the same elements and translated them through all the pieces.”
“Where you do see my abilities as car designer is our bucket bag,” she says. “It’s very organic, and has a slight fender shape at the base. But besides that, I’m really not literal about it. Where I do use that expertise is in the technical side of manufacturing, and my understanding of materials.”
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