This summer, I spent the long warm days with sand between my toes, a road map in my hands and a supersize diet coke by my side. My dream California summer was so memorable that I now have a siren that automatically goes off whenever I hear the word. Like a search engine, if California is mentioned, I will no doubt be reading about it, watching it, or writing about it. So when I heard quirky cool brand Kenzo had named their new ‘it’ bag ‘Kalifornia’, and based their new design on a road trip down the coast of this western state, my eyes went straight to the computer screen to find out more.


The Parisian brand led by designers Carol Lim and Humberto Leon designed the leather bag in 2012, checked it in at the airport and flew themselves over to California to test the prototype in its very muse. During their two-week road trip, the two visited nearly every Californian hot spot from San Francisco to the city of Palm Springs. Testing the prototype’s design, material, durability and structure, the bag gradually evolved into the perfect California cool carrier. Zippered and gadget-friendly, the bag is the next step in Kenzo’s evolution from a mainly ready-to-wear label to a fashion house complete with high-margin accessories. But this bag isn’t a by-product of a spontaneous holiday. It was a working trip arranged specifically for the brands idea and every last detail of their trip went into the design and promotion of the Kalifornia bag. The best friends even used their very own holiday album in the marketing campaigns. “We would just photograph the bag like it was a baby”, said Mr Leon. Definitely some food for thought for what to do with my snapshots…


The bag was débuted in California’s iconic downtown Los Angeles. With a guest list full of Hollywood stars and A-list celebrities, to say the launch was impressive would be an understatement. Founded in 1970 by Kenzo Takada, the brand is been known for its bold looks, as the Japanese-born founder created kooky collections made from fabric scraps he bought at Parisian street markets. The launch of the Kalifornia ‘it’ bag was to be no different. In true Californian spirit, Lim and Leon brought a skate park to life, with live boarders and stunts to showcase the new bag and the brands ethos that there are no boundaries when it comes to fashion.


Kenzo have won my vote. If not for their search for true, authentic Californian inspiration, then for their stylish skate board launch night show. I might be bias as I am a self-confessed Californian wannabe, but for me this definitely is the new ‘it’ bag and every penny that isn’t going towards my next trip out there will be spent on this bag.

By Marni Banks

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