Kendall Conrad

The handbag designer finds inspiration in a matador’s past

Mother of invention: When Kendall Conrad was pregnant with her first daughter, she knit nonstop. With daughter number two, she turned to working with leather. Craving a bag with the whipstitching of her Jack Rogers sandals, she took a sketch to a local saddle maker. The bag turned out so well, Conrad designed another. Soon she had a full collection. Bullheaded: The first line was called Tauro, a nod to her father Barnaby Conrad’s interlude as a toreador when he was vice consul to Spain during World War II. Kendall went to bullfights on family vacations. “I remember the piping on the botas [leather wine sacks] and the tassles on the toreadors’ epaulets,” she says. Skin deep: Those details are incorporated in her eponymous label, which includes shoulder bags, weekenders, clutches, cuffs, belts, and iPad cases, all made from luxurious leathers and displayed in her Abbot Kinney shop. Conrad uses only skins—alligator, crocodile, and snake—that are by-products of the food industry. Finally, some baggage to feel good about. » 1121 Abbot Kinney Blvd., Venice, 310-399-1333 or

Photograph by Williams + Hirakawa