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Kipling, Helena Christensen in Collaboration

The model codesigned a capsule collection of handbags for the brand and will front the global fall campaign.

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HELENA’S WORLD: These days, Kipling’s target consumer is the “imaginista” — not to be confused with the fashionista. The brand’s president, Julie Dimperio, defined her as such: “[The imaginista] is creative, has great family values, is concerned about taking care of others and [encompasses] a very broad age range — from 12-year-olds who love the classic Kipling monkey all the way up to their mothers, who love the style and functionality of our products.”

For fall, Kipling found the perfect embodiment of an imaginista in Helena Christensen, who codesigned a capsule collection of handbags for the brand and will front the global fall campaign, to break in Europe later this month, called Kipling with Helena Christensen. “We were inspired by her everyday life,” said Dimperio. “She’s a working mom, she’s still a model and she has a variety of interests. We really focused on her creativity and the fact that she is a photographer. My design team worked with her very closely, went to her home and were inspired by how she lives. She’s affiliated with several charities, which was really important to us.…She has all the characteristics of our target consumer.”

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Christensen was very involved in the bag designs, from attending the initial inspiration meetings to codesigning the silhouettes, hardware and trims — one print features a blown-up photograph she took, while a pink rose design was inspired by her favorite antique chair. The collection of weekend bags, shoulder bags and pouches is slightly more upscale than the brand’s classic collection and features a more sophisticated color palette. Comprised of lightweight leather instead of the signature nylon material — as well as a metal monkey, not a furry one — the bags range from $109 to $269, a higher price point for the brand. The collection will launch in September at Kipling stores worldwide, kipling.com and select Macy’s stores.

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