That’s some revisionist history. And, what about villains? Who’s got the best style?
TH: The evil queen from Sleeping Beauty… Malificent! She’s so elegant. She has great style. And I love her snood.
There’s a name for that?
BH: I did not know that.
You made that up.
TH: No, a snood was a very popular medieval garment.
This is the title of the piece: What Is a Snood: And Other Questions We Asked Hayden-Harnett.
Do you think celebrity collaborations dilute the activity of designing? Or peoples’ understanding of what designing is?
TH: I think there are some people who defy that, like I think Gwen Stefani really is doing [L.A.M.B.]. And I really get the sense from her that she has a voice in it. But, yeah, for the most part it’s just signing off and collecting a paycheck. People just want to put a name behind something and in our day and age, celebrities have a huge amount of fire power.
It’s kind of grotesque…
TH: It’s everything that’s bad about mass consumerism, reality TV. Sign off on whatever, whether it’s a good idea or a bad idea. I think it was the [Kardashian] credit card thing that kind of put me over the edge. I was like, that’s just… horrible.
TH: And the Attorney General has to step in! He has to step in because of the interest rates they’re wanting to charge?! Honestly, I’m a much bigger fan of concealing a bit, preserving mystique.
And Kim Kardashian is not someone who preserves any kind of mystique!
BH: Actually her mystique is probably about one inch of her I haven’t seen.
Nah, she was in Playboy.
BH: Oh. Okay. Good.
Just Google that inch away.
BH: A good celebrity collaboration is going to be something where that person has their own style and it’s not something put together by a stylist, it’s something that’s actually them and they come at it with initiative and actually want to collaborate. They bring something to the table and [a brand] brings something to the table. I mean, the Disney thing is sort of a ‘celebrity collaboration’…
That’s why I asked!
BH: But Disney’s bringing a lot to the table. They’re bringing a whole retinue of stuff they’ve created. A celebrity collaboration works [when] there’s something real behind it.
Okay, on the opposite end, what about Lanvin for H&M?
TH: I love that. Now, that, I think is perfect. What you’re doing is bringing high-end design to the masses. I think every designer should have to do that! It’s a good mental exercise, it’s a good way to be grounded.
BH: And it is different because [Alber Elbaz] is a real designer. It’s not at all like taking a celebrity name and attaching a whole bunch of stylists to it and trying to sell it to fans of that celebrity. It actually has value.
Did you get a sense of this when working with Target? Did you get that ‘mental exercise,’ as you described it?
TH: Yeah, but I think that we’re pretty practical anyway. It’s not like we’re going from $3000 gowns to $19 t-shirts.
BH: Hayden-Harnett is already for a very broad swath of customers. I think we try to be there for people. Even if the price points are a little higher, the stuff is useful and wearable and attracts an audience.
It can take a beating, too.
TH: It can absolutely take a beating. That’s the thing with us. These bags are things that you pass down. There will always be value in it. Versus buying a Jessica Simpson bag…
Her empire is worth a billion dollars!
TH: Okay, that’s great for her, and that’s great for her people, but what are they leaving behind? A billion dollar’s worth of polyvinyl chloride bags that are going to end up in a dump because it’s trendy, it falls apart, and that’s that. That’s the bad thing about fast fashion. I’m a fan of H&M, I’m a fan of Ikea, I love being able to go into a place and find something awesome and easy and about mixing stuff. But I do not buy cheap shoes, I do not buy anything made out of PVC that’s just never going to decompose and is going to sit in a landfill. That’s where this stuff ends up. Who hangs onto a $48 PVC bag? That stuff is you’re in, you’re out. Whereas we’re making 50 pieces in a run of one of our leather bags. For the Fantasia stuff we got crazy and we’re doing 100.
BH: The bags that we make are of unbelievable quality. The stuff is great and it will last.
TH: There will always be good leather bags, there will always be good leather goods. And that’s what you can depend on us for. You can count on us for a good bag.
That’s what I’m naming this, For a Good Bag, Call… No, I’m keeping What is a Snood? I still think you made that up. Like, that’s the takeaway… now I know what a snood is.
TH: Snoods are back! [disappears into another room]
You’ve got one, don’t you?
TH [returns, producing an infinity scarf]: Okay, this is how you do a modern, cool snood. This is best with an awesome leather jacket and it’s fantastic if it’s raining. [She wraps it around her neck twice and once over her head].
BH: You’ve looking very Olivia de Haveland in Robin Hood. Goin’ climb your ivy.
TH [spreading her hands theatrically]: So that is a snood.
I really can count on you.
TH: Yes. Even for snoods.