Behind the Label | Leathered Pearls
As a little girl Kendra lived on a sailboat off the Bimini Coast, Bahamas. She watched dolphins play with the bow’s wake while traveling and while anchored she leaned over the railing to see starfish resting on the sandy ocean floor. She found pink butterfly shells while running naked on deserted islands and wove them into macramé plant holders. This is where her fascination with the ocean began.
It continues as she goes on Scuba and surfing adventures all over the globe- to the Maldives, the Canary Islands, Thailand, Singapore, Hawaii, Indonesia, the Mexican Caribbean, and islands of the South Pacific- creating beautiful natural pieces. Hand made with her own collection of shells, pearls, coral and healing stones- her collection is truly awe- inspiring.
1. What inspires your designs?
My inspiration comes from dreams, Japanese fishing buoys, from the designs Mexican mothers weave into their daughters' ponytails, from memories of childhood when I'd macrame plant holders during sailing trips. Colors fascinate me. Reading books like The Blood of Flowers reminds me to balance bold colors with subtle ones. When I use Tahitian Pearls and leather I want to make strong and flexible pieces that empower women and encourage them to create.
2. How has living in Playa del Carmen shaped your personal taste?
Living in Playa del Carmen has shaped and altered my personal taste. First of all it's a tropical destination so light, comfortable fabrics and cute bathing suits are essential. Playa is a very international place. Trendy brands from one country have no importance here. Self-expression is what matters and pretentiousness is out. The Mayan calendar reminds us that 2012 brings a higher consciousness to the planet. Clothing here is full of loving messages and images, seeds and healing stones are valued as much as gems. Here we go caving and surf the waves with kayaks. We scuba dive and hunt for treasure. Apparel and accessories must go everywhere.
3. What is it like working with small producers and artisans from all over the globe? What do you like best about that kind of relationship?
Sometimes I make and sell my pieces outside of an eclectic shop on Fifth Avenue (Playa del Carmen's Rodeo Drive). The other artisans are from all over Mexico and Argentina. When a provider arrives with amber or Guatemalan jade, crystals or obsidian we are all so excited. We help each other choose pieces and talk about different materials. When the clients come we promote each other's pieces and not just our own. What's most important is that we each bring "muy buena vibra" or "good vibe" to the evenings. There are no complaints or worries expressed. It's all positive and we love what we do!
4. Which are your favorite pieces from Leathered Pearls?
My favorite Leathered Pearls pieces are Red Road (ask me about Huichol ceremonies in the jungle if you need a new perspective on life), Indra (named for the Indian Goddess who carries a thunderbolt arrow and a rainbow), Cliodna (this sea goddess is embodied in every ninth wave which breaks higher and stronger than the others), Adventure and Gitana 5 (can be worn in about fifteen different ways). I wear Tahitian Pearls every day because they give me courage and strength.
5. What are your favorite travel destinations? What is unique about those locations?
My two favorite travel destinations: Thailand for night markets, elephant rides through misty jungles, bamboo rafts, scuba live-aboards to the Similan Islands, weavings, green curry chicken... and South Africa, the most beautiful country I have traveled, for labor-intensive baskets, The Garden Route, five national languages, dancing to Johnny Clegg and Savuka, Nelson Mandela, vineyards, water skiing reed-lined waterways, camping in the wildlife preserve. I lived in The Bahamas, Singapore, The Canary Islands and Mexico, too.
6. What are your three favorite pieces from L-ATITUDE?
There are so many L-atitude items that I love. How can I choose my three favorites? Lorenza Gandaglia's Olive Bebe Bag, Vicente Villarin's Hand Pleated Dress, and Anupamaa's Orange Kinnari Cashmere Scarf are at the top of my wish list.