If 2016 was the year of the bucket bag—ushered in, of course, by Mansur Gavriel—then 2017 will be the year of the basket tote. If we’re being honest, the trend got its start last year, when the rise of Cult Gaia’s structural bamboo bag veered from casually cool to Insta-famous territory within weeks. Heck, even I bought into it—and the Gaia’s Ark became one of my most-used bags, even though it looks more like a piece of art than something you can use to put other things in. It got me more compliments than any single item in my wardrobe and even though we should all totally get dressed for ourselves, we all know we also get dressed for the compliments.
That’s why I was a little more than psyched when I heard that the lady behind Cult Gaia, Jasmin Larian, would be venturing into new territory—and not just with additional versions of the Ark bag in a larger size, as well as with acrylic and glitter finishes, but with the launch of ready-to-wear. Larian will be releasing a small capsule for spring, all ahead, and a full-blown collection for fall 2017.
“The expansion was really inspired by my goal to give the Cult Gaia girl a well-rounded vision of the brand—pieces to complement the head-turning accessories we’re known for,” Larian told me, who mentioned she was going for a “Sophia Loren on an Italian vacation vibe. Each piece was originally designed for a vacation I went on with my husband. I couldn’t find the pieces I wanted to pack in my closet so I made them.”
As expected, each piece walks the line between trendy and timeless: a low-cut, body-skimming silk dress is balanced by an ankle-length hem, floral motifs vaguely resemble monstera plants rather than pineapples, and she calls circular basket-weaved bangles her version of jewelry. With a capri pant priced at $128 and a halter top selling close to $300, most pieces are priced a tad north of the $88 the original Ark bag went for, but Larian didn’t skimp on quality: Everything is produced in Los Angeles, where her studio remains.
“I really design for a laid-back babe—efffortless, feminine but not frilly,” she says. “The girl looking for beautiful timeless pieces without spending thousands of dollars. Nothing here is over-designed.”
See what she means: Browse the capsule collection ahead, and check back for her first full range next month.