13 Ways That Designer Clare Vivier Fuels Her Inspiration

By Courtney Balestier |
FWX CLARE VIVIER PORTRAIT

© Amanda Marsalis

With her mix of classic French style and modern L.A. cool, designer Clare Vivier is the kind of woman we want to know—and dress like. Inspired by people she spies on the street, Vivier aims to construct the perfect bag for every possible occasion. “I’ll snap people at the airport clandestinely or capture them if I’m driving by and they’re waiting at the bus stop,” reveals Vivier. “I like those unexpected moments of beauty, say when there’s something about this old lady’s highwater pants and she’s wearing a quilted jacket. She doesn’t know how stylish she is, but she looks really amazing.” Here, more of Vivier’s favorite things, from apples with tahini to wardrobe finds from Sweet As...Vintage. 

How does food fit into your day?
Food is part of the fabric of my life, and that really affects my world and my design and my work. We have an (1) espresso machine in the office, so I come in and have one in the morning with (2) homemade granola and soy milk. Otherwise, a (3) hard-boiled egg.

We have a snack area in the design room of our studio, which is where I sit. We keep (4) almonds and (5) blue corn chips, and often there will be some kind of tahini sauce, because we’ll (6) cut apples and dip them in tahini. And maybe sprinkle some sea salt on that.

I never bring my lunch to work, because I’m not that organized and I have to get my kid out the door. We have a Mediterranean restaurant in the building, which is a great fallback option for soups and salads. There’s a Viet noodle place, where I always get the (7) fresh chicken salad, and a Mexican place, where I get a (8) pork taco and this really great kale salad with a very light lemon-olive oil dressing

But our favorite lunch spot is (9) Forage for farm-to-table with the perfect lunch equation of succulent protein plus savory veggie.

When you go to restaurants, are you more excited about a really good-looking dish or the atmosphere?
I’m constantly thinking about the aesthetic of things and how pleasing they are or what’s wrong with it. So when I go to a restaurant, I want it to be a certain way. If I’m with the kids, then it’s one thing, and I don’t mind if the lighting is a little brighter; but if I’m with adults, then I want the lighting to be really nice at night, and I definitely want the food to be delicious, but I think it should also be presented in a lovely way.

(10) Marvin on Beverly Boulevard is my newest treasured place for a quick and delicious French dinner. Best ratatouille in town.

And for drinks: (11) Café Stella’s Sofia cocktail is a mix of mezcal and lime juice and I don't know what else, but it is mesmerizing and the setting is super romantic.

What’s your favorite kind of look when you go out?
In L.A., nobody is really ever that dressed up. So it’s safe to wear an amazing shoe or boot with black skinny jeans or trousers. Then a T-shirt will dress it down, and a leather jacket will make it more cool—you can always play with these elements. For amazingly well-curated pieces, (12) Sweet As…Vintage is great on Sunset Boulevard in Echo Park. Another designer I’m loving right now: (13) Rachel Comey. Her new store in New York is very close to my store in Nolita. When I discovered this, it was bad for my pocketbook.

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