Photo of Welden Saunter Leather Tote in white.

Welden: The Handcrafted Handbags That Won’t Cost You Multiple Paychecks

Style

In an age of mass automation, there’s still something about handworked artifacts that machine-made products will never attain. It’s the attention to detail, the human interaction that gives an extra tug to a loose piece of thread or discerns the grain of leather for an almost seamless cut. And while labels like “artisan” and “handcrafted” are touted often to sell products, the desire for individualized, one-of-a-kind pieces, thoughtfully created with tactile expertise, is not to be played down. Some might argue it is the thinking behind the process, rather than the final product, that is so valuable. And that level of human concentration often comes at a hefty price tag.

With Welden, a small, relatively new handbag company based in Connecticut, the human craftsmanship is as much the story as its signature hexagonal weave. Its bags are created using a time-honored technique originating from a family leather-goods factory now based in China, where the pieces are still made by skilled artisans and designers. Yet despite the complexity and hands-on involvement, Welden bags are offered at a surprisingly approachable price. The whole range is available between $250 and $595—nothing to scoff at, but certainly well below the norm for a luxury handbag.

The mastermind behind the brand is Sandy Friesen, who started out in the handbag industry two decades ago in New York. She met Gary and Cissy Chui, the owners of the leather factory, about 10 years ago and the three began cultivating a business partnership that would eventually culminate in Welden. In 2016, a year after Welden launched, fellow handbag-industry veteran Cori Adams met Sandy through her daughter’s ballet class and joined as VP of sales and marketing. Spanning an ocean and two continents, the foursome essentially runs every aspect of the brand, underscoring how nimble and lean an operation Welden is.

Having stumbled upon the company’s unusually patterned bags, we recently sought out Sandy and Cori to find out more about Welden, its origins and its accessible pricing. Ahead, our interview with the women behind the brand.

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5 Barre Workout Moves at Home (Slash Anywhere) with Fitness and Zella Pro Lilani Estacio | Watch This

Style Video

Sometimes you don’t have time for the gym. Sometimes you don’t even have a membership to a gym (or that resolution-driven trial already expired). Sometimes you don’t feel like going to that group class because, ugh, all the reasons. That’s where we step in with five barre-inspired workout moves you can do anywhere brought to you by Bar Method instructor and Zella Pro, Lilani Estacio.

With a degree in nutrition, a background in dance as a performer and as an instructor for almost six years, Lilani is a go-to guru when it comes to anything fitness. We asked her to show us five of her favorite barre-inspired moves you don’t actually need a barre for. Get your fit on whenever the mood strikes (or maybe more likely, when you’re just able to find a little time to spare). From a better booty to thigh-sculpting leg lifts—all in, it’s a 10-minute-or-less workout you can tackle wherever you can find a floor.

GET MOVING! AND GET HER PRO TIPS

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MAC Aaliyah Is Finally Here post image

MAC Aaliyah Is Finally Here

Beauty Makeup

Releasing today, at the height of a ’90s comeback, MAC Cosmetics’ latest limited-edition collection has been years in the making. Thanks to the relentless petitioning of adoring fans, R&B icon Aaliyah is finally being honored with a 12-piece edit of lipsticks, eyeshadows and glosses inspired by her very own makeup bag. 

The collection is a perfect representation of the ’90s legend’s signature look (including THE satin nude lip from the video for the hit song “Try Again”) and also imagines how her approach to beauty may have evolved in 2018. The contemporary edit transcends time and trends to capture the hearts of Aaliyah fans old and new with her timeless, understated beauty. It is her enduring influence that makes Aaliyah a true icon.

To celebrate the launch, we’re breaking down two of our favorite Aaliyah looks with step-by-step tutorials to achieve her “tomboy ingenue” aesthetic. For best results, apply while jamming to this ’90s powerhouse.

GET THE LOOK

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Selecting Your Bridal Fragrance with Jo Malone London post image

Selecting Your Bridal Fragrance with Jo Malone London

Beauty Weddings

When asked for wedding day wisdom, brides always say, “The day will be over before you know it, try to enjoy it.” Even so, the day that you have spent months, even years, preparing for is guaranteed to go by in a blur of anticipation and celebration. Your photographer will capture moments and your guest book documents who showed up, but your wedding fragrance is all on you to orchestrate, and those olfactory memories will last a lifetime. The olfactory bulb, which processes smell, has direct connections to the areas of the brain that control our emotions and our memories. With just a whiff of a special scent, you travel through time and space to the very moment where that memory is anchored. Pretty powerful.

Ahead of my own wedding, I spoke with Céline Roux, head of fragrance development at Jo Malone London, about the sense of smell and how to scent a wedding.

FOR THE DAY YOU’LL REMEMBER FOREVER

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Christian Siriano Wants to Dress All Beautiful People—and That Means Everyone post image

Photo by Brad Walsh

Christian Siriano Wants to Dress All Beautiful People—and That Means Everyone

Interviews Style

Reality television stars don’t always remain in orbit. Few bachelorettes or survivors continue to dot our stellar system. Usually, they fade quickly after the finale, perhaps turning up for a post-show interview, their sparkle somewhat dimmed.

Not Christian Siriano′s. The onetime reality contestant’s star has burned more brightly, year after year, for over a decade, attracting superstars like Angela Bassett, Lady Gaga, Sarah Jessica Parker and Rihanna to him with the gravitational pull of his evening gowns. Siriano won Project Runway in 2008, the same year he debuted at New York Fashion Week. In 2013, he was admitted into the Council of Fashion Designers of America. For the 2018 Academy Awards, Siriano dressed a record 17 women, celebrities as diverse as Amy Adams, Janelle Monáe, Whoopi Goldberg and Laurie Metcalf. “The Oscars was crazy,” Siriano says. “It was a very busy few weeks. But it was a great, great moment.”

READ THE INTERVIEW

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On the 2018 Tony Awards Red Carpet post image

Actress and comedian Tiffany Haddish attends the 72nd Tony Awards.

On the 2018 Tony Awards Red Carpet

Culture Film & Television Music

Streaming (and bingeing) may now be our preferred mode of entertainment consumption, but the continued allure and relevance of the theatre was undeniable during the 72nd Tony Awards at Radio City Music Hall in New York City. Comedians, rockers, TV actors, a former member of Parliament and movie stars assumed roles this year in some of Broadway’s most celebrated productions.

Bruce Springsteen netted an award for his sold-out one-man show Springsteen on Broadway, a melding of his memoir and song oeuvre. Tina Fey’s screen-to-stage adaptation of Mean Girls received 12 nominations. The 82-year-old actress and erstwhile British MP Glenda Jackson grandly walked away with the night’s award for Best Leading Actress in a Play (Edward Albee’s Three Tall Women)—this was her fifth Tony nomination and first winHer cast member, the formidable television and movie actress Laurie Metcalf, took the Tony for Best Featured Actress in a Play. Angels in America’s Nathan Lane and Andrew Garfield won awards for Best Featured Actor and Best Leading Actor in a Play, respectively. And the cast of Spongebob Squarepants brought down the house with “I’m Not a Loser,” performed by actor Gavin Lee and written by the titans of American alt rock, They Might Be Giants.

SEE THE NIGHT’S LOOKS

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Beauty Packing List: Here’s What <em>Almost 30</em> Podcaster Krista Williams Is Taking on Tour post image

Beauty Packing List: Here’s What Almost 30 Podcaster Krista Williams Is Taking on Tour

Beauty Interviews Makeup Skin Care Travel

Wellness and lifestyle blogger/podcaster Krista Williams is ready to go on tour: “I’m all about growth, learning and transformation, so having the opportunity to be surrounded by new environments, people, places and things fills me up.” She and her Almost 30 podcast cohost, Lindsey Simcik, have packed their bags for a whirlwind trip across the country, where they will have a chance to meet their enthusiastic listeners and share insights on health, wellness, spirituality, relationships and careers.

It came as no surprise to us that Williams, our most trusted lifestyle guru, is also a masterful traveler. Her packing tips and pre-flight health rituals teach us that turbulent travel can be avoided with simple preparation. Ahead of her tour, we caught up with Williams to get the nitty-gritty on how she stays organized, calm and moisturized while jet-setting. As usual, she keeps it 100.

HERE’S WHAT TO ADD TO YOUR PACKING LIST

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Balenciaga Triple S sneaker

The Holy Grail of dad sneakers.

Balenciaga Triple S sneaker

The Holy Grail of dad sneakers.

Asking for a Friend: How Do I Wear Dad Sneakers?

Men’s Fashion

‘Asking for a Friend’ is our style advice series.

The dad sneaker has been coming on for a minute now, even before A$AP Rocky championed the Balenciaga Triple S in GQ last fall. Some trace it to Ian Connor’s stubborn preference for Skechers, while others point out that adidas Originals x Raf Simons debuted the Ozweego way back in 2013. Regardless of the origin story, this clunky, chunky supershoe is here to stay for a while—maybe even muscling your sleek Common Projects kicks to the back of the closet.

So how do you wear dad sneakers without actually looking like your dad? Pair them with other dad-inspired pieces that have been tweaked for the 21st century. Think ’90s silhouettes, boxy and oversized, with exaggerated proportions that feel perfectly modern.

Here are three looks to get you started.

WALK THE WALK

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The Power of Dad’s Cologne: We Honor Father’s Day with Our Favorite Scent Memories post image

The Power of Dad’s Cologne: We Honor Father’s Day with Our Favorite Scent Memories

Men’s Grooming & Fragrance

Some of our most potent scent memories can be traced back to childhood events. Whether it’s Mom’s homemade cookies, fresh from the oven—the aroma of vanilla and chocolate still wending its way along the neurotransmitters in our brain—or the smell of a mowed lawn after a spring rainstorm, the fragrant recollection of wet cut grass lingering heavy in our nostrils even now. So when we think of Dad, it’s only natural that we instinctively recall his personal scent at the same time we remember curling into his lap to read a book or pressing into the crook of his neck for a much-needed hug. While not every dad wears cologne, it’s an easy marker to identify—and much easier to package and give to the man on Father’s Day than, say, the formative smells of a tobacco pipe or summer sweat.

Since Father’s Day is June 17, the Nordstrom Fashion Office is celebrating the men who helped raise us by sharing some of our favorite dad cologne memories. Ahead, a tabulation of olfactive flashbacks of our fathers and their fragrances.

 

TAKE A SNIFF DOWN MEMORY LANE

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African Botanics Saves Your Skin While Preserving Nature post image

African Botanics Saves Your Skin While Preserving Nature

Beauty Interviews Skin Care

Believed to be the cradle of humanity, South Africa has a wealth of biodiversity and a long history of using indigenous plants in traditional and modern medicines. For native South Africans Craig and Julia Noik, who now live in Los Angeles, their experience and time spent in the country’s rural lands led them to launch African Botanics, their effective, eco-friendly line of skin care that celebrates the couple’s love for their homeland.

“Growing up in South Africa taught us to respect nature and to understand how magnificent the natural world is,” says Julia, who spoke with us about the origins of the brand and how their business empowers people by investing in them and the lands they tend.

Craig and Julia Noik

All production of African Botanics products—their precious oils, creams and toners—takes place in Africa. “The benefit of keeping production in Africa is the contribution it makes to the local economic and social circumstances for everyone involved,” explains Julia. “Uplifting the continent and its people is our main goal as a brand. Using unique African ingredients supports nature conservation—and, after all, South Africa [in particular], its nature and its people are our ultimate inspiration.”

READ THE INTERVIEW

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