Shopping Around: May's Shopping Finds

Luxurious and environmentally friendly handbags at The Bravern, a hip and affordable Queen Anne bout

Category: Shopping + Fashion Articles


Bag lady Julie Berard’s luxe, veggie-tanned leather totes

Luxury Pursuit

It takes nerve to go up against handbag giants Ferragamo and Gucci, but Magnolia designer Julie Berard’s petite frame packs a ton of gumption. Her new leather handbag line ambitiously combines two often contradictory categories: luxurious and environmentally friendly. The former nurse practitioner spent two years sketching and painstakingly selecting vegetable-tanned, chrome-free leathers and organic cottons in Italy (where all her men’s and women’s bags are made) before launching MURATORI ( in January. The soft spring totes feature hand-stitched seams and simple, clean embellishments. Hand-sewn leather petals adorn a versatile cream hobo bag; custom palladium hardware accents the men’s messenger. “I don’t buy the idea that being green isn’t feasible in the luxury industry,” Berard says. “My goal is to lead the way for change and create a gorgeous, Earth-friendly bag.” Her business plan includes a built-in recycling program so used totes are donated or repurposed into new luxe Muratori creations. $825–$975. Available at David Lawrence (The Bravern, 11111 NE Eighth St., Bellevue 425.688.1669 

Thrifty Queen
Staying on trend can often mean veering off budget, but you can remain en vogue and in line at hip little MEADOW boutique. Twenty-eight-year-old Shelley Hall—a veteran of Urban Outfitters and Damsalfly—runs her shabby-chic, brightly adorned shop with style and affordability uppermost in mind. Situated a block off the upper McGraw district in a refurbished 100-year-old brick building, Meadow is home to everything from chic décor and L.A. fashions (spotted: a covet-worthy F Line teal tunic dress for $38) to locally made gifts, such as handmade Sweet Petula petite shea soaps ($5) and vintage-inspired LeClair handcrafted cards ($5). With hard-to-resist gold chandelier earrings ($18), Anna Maria’s vibrant kitchen towels ($6) and Hall’s favorite, the Cath Kidston recipe organizer ($19.95), all under a Jackson, a hobo bag may also be a necessary purchase to carry home all that loot. 1959 Sixth Ave. W, Queen Anne 206.659.4963

Marbled Lye

With spring in full bloom, immerse yourself in that just-rained-on floral feeling by scrubbing up with handmade geranium rosewood soap from Vashon Island-based RAINY DAY GARDEN. Each exquisite marbled-lye bar is hand poured, cut and stamped by eight-year Vashon Farmers’ Market vet Sherri Mask, who uses local flora to pack in a powerful fragrant punch. Also in seasonal lilac and apple ambrosia; $4.95 each at, or three for $13.50 at the Vashon Farmers’ Market.