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‘CHAI TEA WAS THE PERFECT FUEL FOR ENDLESS TRAVEL.’ – BB

‘NOMADIC LOVERS, STREETSTYLERS DOMINIC HAYDN RAWLE AND URSINA GYSI, SPRANG TO MIND WHEN THE MARY BAG DESIGNING.’ – KW Inspired by Mary Tyler Moore in Thoroughly Modern Millie

THE SLOANE BAG

Inspired by Mia Sara in Ferris Bueller’s Day Off

$386.50, Benah for Karen Walker, karenwalker.com.

$565, Benah for Karen Walker, karenwalker.com.

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BENAH FOR KAREN WALKER Two of our favourite labels combined powers – and traded travel and pop culture inspo – to dream up a line of truly special handbags.

‘THE REBELLIOUS SOUNDTRACK TO OUR WORK.’ – KW

BY LAURA COLLINS

THE VERONICA BAG

Inspired by Winona Ryder in Heathers $415, Benah for Karen Walker, karenwalker.com. shoptilyoudrop.com.au f

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‘CHARLES WILKINS’ MASH-UP ART WAS A REMINDER TO THINK OUTSIDE THE BOX.’ – BB

THE NANCY BAG

Inspired by Heather Langerkamp in A Nightmare On Elm Street $575, Benah for Karen Walker, karenwalker.com.

CREDIT TO GO IN HERE GETTY IMAGES; SNAPPER MEDIA; CHARLES WILKINS; IMAGES COURTESY OF KAREN WALKER.

THEY’RE THE NEW ZEALANDERS we’d be proud to call our own: fashion heavyweight Karen Walker and Brenda Briand, the brains behind accessories label Benah. Each season, the collection Walker sends down the runway is refreshing yet resolute – you just know there’ll be a mix of masculine and feminine tailoring, an injection of colour and just a hint of cuteness… in a way that’s still completely unexpected. And then there’s Benah: inspired by Briand’s nomadic childhood, the leather handbags and silk scarves are the definition of polished, bohemian luxury. So, what drew these designers together? A shared love of unconventional neutrals – maroon and navy, for two – as well as commitment to wearability and attention to detail. Walker is based in Auckland and Briand in Sydney, but both had business in New York so they’d often meet there, setting up temporary office at the Ace Hotel in Midtown, brainstorming over lunch at The Butcher’s Daughter, a vegetarian café in Little Italy, drinking chai tea and listening to ’70s anthems. “A shared vision for the line was evident from the start – we were always on the same page,” says Briand. Inspired by the notion of east versus west (and the relaxed yet practical style of transcontinental Hare Krishnas), they took Briand’s knack for modern utility and added Walker’s signature quirk. The result is a collection of 10 bags that are functional but fun – each one is silk-lined with the psychedelic print from Walker’s spring/summer ’14 collection. They found their muses in the confident, free-spirited girls on film they aspired to be growing up (who, in their minds, would tote the soft leather carryalls for work, play and all the travel in-between). When the collab debuted on the spring runway, it was instantly in high demand by fashion watchers looking for a smart but sexy take-everywhere bag. Good news for them, and you: it’s not a one-off collection. Get your first fix now from their debut spring/summer range at karenwalker.com.

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