Rebeca Mendoza confirmed indicators of being a designer from an early age. “When I used to be little, I might deliver hand sketches of drawings of garments and clothes and produce them to the grocery store,” Mendoza says. “When folks have been lining as much as pay, I might cross them off to girls and inform them that I may make clothes for them.” Rising up in a artistic household in Mexico Metropolis—her mother is an artwork historian, her grandmother a painter and sculptor, and her father a author—she was surrounded by inspiration and given freedom to experiment. It paid off, as she’s now the artistic director at Mark Cross, America’s oldest luxurious model recognized for tremendous leather-based items and ladylike purses.
Earlier than becoming a member of Mark Cross in September 2021, Mendoza labored for a lot of storied vogue labels. She began in womenswear at J. Mendel in 2003, then went to Proenza Schouler and Bibhu Mohapatra. She joined the Savile Row menswear model Richard James as an equipment director in 2010, and two years later launched her personal equipment model, Rye, which she shuttered when she joined Calvin Klein in 2015. She’s labored for a wide-ranging variety of manufacturers, from the ultra-feminine J. Mendel to the peak of subtle menswear at Richard James, so it is smart that her personal private model would pull from eclectic influences as properly. Armed, no pun meant, with a killer purse assortment and a mind for classic items, Mendoza’s private model is as enviable as the baggage she designs for Mark Cross.
“I like to purchase issues which have a viewpoint,” Mendoza says. “I like carrying assertion items. I really feel like garments and equipment provide you with energy they usually might help set you in a proper temper. You are feeling extra your self, even, when you dress up in sure items.” Her favourite labels embody Raf Simons for Calvin Klein, Jean Paul Gaultier, Alexander McQueen, and Meryll Rogge. “I purchased closely into that assortment. It was a really thrilling time to be there,” she says of Simons’s time at Calvin Klein. He launched a number of clothes wrapped in plastic—notably a yellow fur coat from the autumn 2017 assortment—and Mendoza collected just a few. “I feel I’ll put on them eternally,” she says.
Plastic-wrapped slip clothes won’t be on any record of timeless funding items, however Mendoza sees issues in a different way. “Clothes is just too enjoyable to attend to put on it,” she says. Designers which have an identifiable look—she calls out Phoebe Philo at Céline for instance—even have a endurance that appeals to her, whether or not or not the garments are extensively thought of “traditional.” As an equipment designer, she’s targeted on that sort of longevity. “ I like that relationship with equipment that folks have,” she says. “In equipment, you possibly can spend money on one thing and cross it down generations and I feel that’s finally very sustainable.”
As for equipment, Mendoza has purses from her grandmother that she treasures and at all times seems for a particular designer, Roberta di Camerino, at classic shops in Europe. “It was a scorching model,” she says. “You possibly can determine the years by the design of the items.” She additionally favors classic Miu Miu luggage and sneakers, Helmut Lang equipment, and, after all, classic Mark Cross. She had just a few luggage in her assortment earlier than she was appointed artistic director, however lately has been delving into the archives. “I only recently reconnected with the final design director of Mark Cross earlier than it quickly closed in 1997,” she says. “I visited her at her dwelling in Brooklyn and she or he confirmed me her unbelievable Mark Cross archives, that are superb. It’s simply so good to have that piece of the puzzle and be taught extra about her model and her heritage.”
One other key piece of Mark Cross’s historical past are two glamorous artists and expatriates from the Nineteen Twenties: Gerald and Sara Murphy. Gerald took over Mark Cross from his father within the Nineteen Thirties. Earlier than then, he and Sara have been associates to F. Scott Fitzgerald (they’re extensively believed to be the inspiration behind Fitzgerald’s Tender Is the Night time), Ernest Hemingway, and Pablo Picasso (who painted portraits of Sara). Their life in Paris and Antibes is the topic of a number of books, together with Mendoza’s “North Star,” Residing Nicely Is the Greatest Revenge, by Calvin Tomkins. “[Sara] simply carried herself in a really elegant method, however very informal,” Mendoza says. “She would put on pearls quite a bit however put on them to the seaside. She referred to as it sunning her pearls. Picasso painted her with pearls draped down her again. I’m utilizing loads of that historical past within the design of our luggage. There’s loads of icons within the firm. I consider in introducing them to youthful generations and making them enjoyable and attention-grabbing and giving them extra energy, as properly.”