Image courtesy Elisabeth Weinstock
Interview

Elisabeth Weinstock

07.17.13

Elisabeth Weinstock is a multifaceted designer based in Los Angeles, California. In 1991, she founded Coton Blanc, a knit loungewear and sleepwear collection carried in major department stores including Barneys New York, Bergdorf Goodman and Harrods. In 2002, she opened Elisabeth Weinstock Design, an interior design firm specializing in creating one-of-a-kind pieces. Weinstock made her return to fashion in 2011 with the launch of her striking collection of handbags. Through the use of exotic skins and luxurious leathers, Weinstock’s designs breathe new life into everyday items.

Interview

When did you make the transition from interior design into handbags?

Before launching handbags, I actually started with a box collection in 2008 after I created a four-foot tall jewelry armoire covered completely in snakeskin for one of my clients. I then launched a bag collection in 2011, which included everything from purses and clutches, to tech and travel accessories.

How did having your own interior design firm prepare you for launching your handbag collection?

I’ve been designing my whole life. I founded a lingerie brand of sexy knit loungewear in my mid-20s, which helped me launch into interior design and eventually morphed into having my own product line.

What was the inspiration for your first collection?

My inspiration was being able to take the most luxurious materials and create handbags that were unstructured yet always sophisticated and beautiful.

What excited you most about exotic skins?

I think their natural pattern and texture is fascinating, and to make everyday items in such exquisite skins seemed outrageous.

You mention on your website that your approach to design offers a new take on luxury. Can you describe this approach? What sets it apart?

I enjoy making everyday items using the finest skins and adding a whimsical or new twist to an otherwise ordinary item.

How do the different “rooms” (Boudoir, Man Cave, Dining Room) of your new store in West Hollywood convey your brand message?

We’ve always had the structure of three categories in the collection—him, her and home. We wanted a store that could uniquely house our collections and showcase it in their natural environments.  There are men’s watch boxes and humidors, condom boxes, and man bags in the man cave, boxes of all sorts and furniture pieces in the living room, and women’s accessories and handbags in the room we refer to as the “boudoir”.

Where else do the handbags retail?

In addition to our new West Hollywood boutique, the collection is currently available at Maxfield, Forty Five Ten, Savannah, At Ease On Sunset, Amaree’s, Anne Sisteron and Curve. All the items and any custom pieces can also be ordered on our website.

Are all your skins real?

Yes, absolutely. We get them from all over the world.

How do you keep the price point low?

I wouldn’t say the price point is low, though we do offer a wide selection of product at different price points. This is definitely a luxury exotic skin brand, but we have options other than snakeskin in most of our items, including lamb and leather embossed croc, which are less expensive but just as beautiful.

Do you find it challenging competing in the world of “it” bags?

Who’s competing? I think everyone has their own unique style and there are enough people in the world to go around. I just make what I love and what feels right for my brand.