The ever resilient monkey of Kipling
The global brand is a part of the retail conglomerate VF Corporation (labels under the same umbrella include 7 For All Mankind, Lee, Eastpak, Vans and Timberland). Kipling was actually conceived in Antwerp, Belgium by trio Vincent Haverbeke, Xavier Kegels and Paul Van De Velde who serendipitously discovered the label's iconic crinkled nylon from a 'mistake' in experimentation. This happy accident created that inimitable Kipling nylon that sells very well worldwide today. The label falls in what I feel as mid-range price spectrum (most bags are priced below RM900). With its demographics ranging from high school teenagers to busy career women well in their forties, the brand is a big player in its market, boasting 260 standalone stores worldwide in 67 countries (in Malaysia the brand is widely available around Kuala Lumpur and Penang). I'm quite sure you guys are familiar with the fluffy toy monkey that dangles from Kipling bags - it is also one of the most recognisable characteristics of the brand. A symbol of an easy-going attitude, each collection bears its own unique monkey named after a Kipling employee somewhere in the world.
For Fall 2013 there are three main collections which are Vivy, Mixte and Kipling with Helena Christensen collaboration. All offerings are enticing but the one that attracted me the most is the Christensen collabo pieces. The Danish supermodel-cum-photographer who grazed Vogue covers in the nineties among others produced simple but eye-catching prints on the bags (laces print, rose imagery in soft focus and a plain piece). She admittedly uses Kipling bags regularly so according to her, it is an exciting project to have with a brand that she trusts and loves. Another thing that makes this collection ever more special and personal to her is the usage of an image of roses that she took years ago and incorporated it onto one of the bags. The end result is a good-looking piece of functionality and casual styling, true to Kipling's design ethos...
Helena Christensen x Kipling collaboration
The Mixte collection
The Vivy collection
The Dansira bag (is it snakeskin or orchid print?)
Words by Hafidzudin Zainal
Images by Zarifah Zainal and Kipling