Q&A with InStyle Magazine Accessories Director Leah Karp

InStyle x Nine West’s fall 2014 accessories collection hits shelves Friday and Leah Karp is in DC to talk about it.

The “Elia” in camel with multi-calf hair. Photographs courtesy of Nine West.

Nine West’s fall 2014 accessories collection designed by InStyle editors is officially in stores Friday. The partnership, which is on its third season, includes seven new footwear styles and on-trend bags and jewelry ranging from $79-$139 for shoes and $40-$229 for jewelry and handbags. To fête the fall line, InStyle Accessories Director Leah Karp hosted an intimate party at Nine West’s Wisconsin Avenue location Thursday evening, and guests enjoyed hors d’oeuvres and Champagne while having first chance to shop the collection. 

Here, Karp sounds off on the collaboration. 

If you could only pick one shoe from the fall collection that best represented the “Woman of Washington,” which one would it be and why?

My favorite shoe for the Washington woman would be the “Cate” style. It’s the most walkable heel height and the ankle strap is wide enough that it doesn’t cut you, rather it holds your foot in. It also comes in such a wide range of colors so there’s really something for everyone. The suede is super comfortable and the material is also made to give more and stretch but there’s also everything from black camo to black leather to every color of jewel tone too. 

Walk us through what it takes to create an accessories collection with Nine West. 

I come in to Nine West at the start of the season with a trend book of all the things that I’ve sort of collected. I pull from everything—whether it’s retro photos from the runway or things I see on the street. I pull basically from the trends of what I’m seeing for the next season and I will come in with a book filled with tear sheets, images, pictures from the runways, and then I’ll have a color story board, fabrics, and it’ll develop from there. Nine West is really great about creating the hardware for me. In past seasons I brought in a vintage necklace and we made it into the ankle strap of a shoe and it came out exact.” 

What fall trends really stuck out to you? 

Suede, rich textures, and jewel tones were really big for the fall. Green was definitely a dominate color this season. It’s such a neutral and people don’t realize it goes with black and brown and all other colors, too. It’s so wearable. 

What would be your pick for “most stylish shoe?”

The “Elia” in leopard, for sure.

And most “wearable?” (a.k.a. something that’ll leave us blister free after hours on our feet?) 

The “Cate” and the “Jaiden,” which is a mid-heel height.

What’s your personal favorite footwear silhouette to wear? 

My favorite style is a pointy single-sole pump. That’s kind of my signature shoe; it looks good with everything. 

The “Jaiden” in Cabernet suede.
The “Cate” in black leather.
Knot bracelet in gold.
Knot open necklace in gold.

Find Valeria Boucas on Twitter at @valeriaboucas.