Inner Circle, Handbag Designer Clare Vivier and Gallery Owner Heather Taylor

Heather Taylor and Clare Vivier, photographed by Alex de Cordoba

Birds of a feather, as they say. This is certainly the case with good friends Clare Vivier and Heather Taylor. Artistic, fashion-minded, and with enviably stamp-filled passports, these two will make you long to be part of their vibrant inner circle. We’ve been following Clare’s ascent as a formidable handbag designer, from her Silver Lake boutique to NYC to Paris and beyond, nearly from the beginning. If fact, my initiation to the Clare Vivier brand came courtesy of Heather, at a fashion week event held at her gallery, Taylor de Cordoba, what’s become a nexus for art, literature, fashion, and more. Here, we asked each to ask the other five questions:

Clare Vivier will have a pop-up cart at The Grove in front of the Apple Store from November 15 until Valentine’s Day; you’ll find burgundy exclusives, left, and sumptuous holiday leathers, right.

HEATHER: When you open the Sunday New York Times, where do you look first?
CLARE: My Sunday morning line up is T Mag if there is one, Style section, then the regular Magazine, followed by the Business section for the Corner Office column, finished off with Op Ed – Dowd, Kristof, Krugman, and sometimes Friedman.

HEATHER: Do you wear perfume? If so, which one?
CLARE: I recently got a new one that I looove by Diptyque called Tam Dao.

HEATHER: I know you spend time each summer with your husband’s family in France. Can you share a recipe that you have learned from your French mother-in-law?
CLARE: My husband is really the inheritor of her kitchen talents (not I), but the thing we make at least a few times a week is her vinaigrette dressing – it’s amazing and I continuously use it. Combine olive oil and another vegetable oil, cider vinegar, chopped walnuts, chopped shallots, salt & pepper, and Dijon mustard in a bowl, mix and serve over your greens of choice.

HEATHER: When you were a little girl, what did you dream of becoming?
CLARE: I remember thinking that I wanted to have three jobs simultaneously: a psychiatrist (I thought I understood people well), a lawyer (like my dad), and a model (haha).

HEATHER: What is one of the most influential business lessons you have leaned while building your brand?
CLARE: I think the thing I keep coming back to is to be open to things, in other words, say yes most of the time. Saying yes to most things and having the attitude of “I can make it happen” versus “I don’t know how to make it happen” is really important. The more you say yes, the more people you meet and the more opportunities come your way.

A work – chiffon collage by Jen Pack – from an upcoming opening, November 3, at the gallery, left; Heather photographed in front of the gallery, right.

CLARE: What book could you read again and again? 
HEATHER: Heartburn by Nora Ephron. 

CLARE: What’s your favorite meal to cook for guests? 
HEATHER: Pizzas on the grill with lots of great toppings (goat cheese, asparagus and potatoes is my favorite combo). Followed by affogato (a scoop of ice cream “drowned” in a shot of espresso) for dessert. 

CLARE: What’s the best quality you think you inherited from your mother? Your father?
HEATHER: My mother’s ability to create warmth and coziness all around her. My father’s work ethic and generosity. 

CLARE: If we could take one vacation together, where would you send us? 
HEATHER: We would go to London for a week this January. 

CLARE: What’s the best piece of advice you’ve encountered? 
HEATHER: That failure is part of the road to success. I spent years terrified of failing, of making even the slightest mistake. The realization that failure is OK was very freeing for me. It’s still scary but I understand the risks now, along with the rewards. 

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