Kathrine Baumann is a designer every bit as effervescent as her designs. The former cheerleader, Miss Ohio and TV and film actor is quite literally celebrated for applying sparkle in life and art.
Kathrine creates artisan fashion accessories, a millimeter at a time: namely in the individual placement of the thousands of Swarovski crystals that dazzle on every shimmering Kathrine Baumann Beverly Hills handbag. Sometimes the sparkle happens in her conversations as she describes her limited-edition Coca-Cola couture handbags in progress (“Oh, this darling little six-pack, it’s just precious!”). Her love of "pop art" features prominently in her work and her collection with Coca-Cola.
A True Connection With Coke
“When I say Coca-Cola runs through my veins, I mean it,” Baumann says with a laugh that lets you know there’s a story coming. When her mother was pregnant with her, she accompanied Kathrine’s father, who was in the service, to his base—where her only cravings were for Coca-Cola. "It’s part of my DNA.”
It’s also part of her design DNA: The original Coke bottle and the regular and Diet Coke cans have been among the ten most popular pieces in her collection since the collaboration began with Coca-Cola. In 2015, the partnership expands with several new Kathrine Baumann Beverly Hills couture minaudières (jeweled clutch bags), in signed and numbered limited-editions of only 500, inspired by the 100th anniversary of the Coca-Cola glass contour bottle and the energy of the brand.
"Kathrine's energy is contagious. She has such passion for her work and our brand. Her bags are a natural fit for our Coca-Cola Bottle 100 Anniversary Program," says Becky Anderson, North American Licensing Manager.
In a relationship developed over the years, the iconic silhouettes of Coca-Cola make perfect style sense among the designer’s other red carpet creations. They are accessories that are as whimsical as they are chic. “Even my classic bags are fun,” Baumann emphasizes. “They’re never too serious because of the brilliance of the stones, the enhanced sparkle. I always say, if it makes you smile, then it’s my bag.”
Fashionable Fans and Fun Conversation Starters
Her handmade, hand-painted, hand-set bejeweled charmers, in fanciful forms — lips, caviar servers, boxing gloves — have for decades been carried by the starriest. Her fashion creations have been spotted on red carpets and style pages for years. “I usually wear my Coca-Cola bottle hanging on my left hip for people to admire,” Baumann says about her own magic in a bottle, really, a sparkler in social situations. “It’s a conversation piece. It’s a calling card. You meet the most amazing people wearing it.
One of her collectors wore the same (traveling via private jet) to a very fancy restaurant in Paris, where the maitre’d asked if she’d be wiling to offer an admiring diner a closer look at her bag. “Well, she put it on the silver tray,” says Baumann, “and about an hour and a half later it came back to her. It had gone through the entire restaurant, everybody wanted to see it!”
Another time Baumann received a frantic call for a Coca-Cola bag, which was sold out at that moment: “They said, ‘I have to have it’ and I said, ‘Sorry, but my samples aren't for sale,’’’ she recalls. That was until the caller explained that it was for a gentleman who wanted to propose by putting the engagement ring inside the handbag. “Believing in romance,” Bauman explains, she sent him the sample for his special moment until she could make him one for his (she hoped) bride-to-be to keep. “He put the diamond ring inside the Coca-Cola minaudière, with a note that said, ‘This is because I’ve finally found the real thing. Will you marry me?’ Of course she said yes.”
Celebrating the Contour Bottle and More
The real things in the Kathrine Baumann collection will soon include a new fountain glass and six-pack minaudières, as well as personalized “Share A Coke” editions, all inspired by Coca-Cola, Diet Coke and Coke Zero. “These are pieces created by the most perfect machines, the human hand,” says the designer, and each creation has been about six months in the making. They’re meant to be seen, a part of people’s lives, day to night, black-tie to jeans, evening gown to an evening in. “When you’re not wearing the bag, you can actually put it out in your home as a piece of pop art sculpture,” says Baumann. Her inside-favorite artistic touch on her bags? “I love the tab clasp on the can!” she exclaims. “It’s so special, it’s so whimsical, and it captures the essence of the actual Coca-Cola design.” It’s also no surprise that this aspect has enchanted the designer above all, as it releases the bubbles.
The limited edition bags are available at prices starting at $2,950 and accessories at prices starting at $395. Visit the Kathrine Baumann Beverly Hills website for ordering information.