There’s a Miami-based designer sssss-slithering on the celebrity fashion scene. Ximena Kavalekas’ python handbags can be found in the clutches (pun intended) of A-Listers Sofia Vergara, Gigi Hadid, Priyanka Chopra and Margherita Missoni to name a few.
Launched in 2015, Kavalekas’ eponymous collection of exotic-skin accessories are the product of a lifelong passion, “For as long as I can remember, I always knew that I wanted to do something where fashion and art were involved — I always wanted to create conversational pieces.” And that she has with aplomb.
Born in Ecuador, Kavalekas lived and studied in Florence, Italy for several years. It was in Firenze where she honed her designing skills and was introduced to the art of tannery. “A lot of my creative and artistic expressions have spawned from those six wonderful years,” Kavalekas says of her inspiration.
Love and marriage brought her to the sunny shores of South Florida. Soon after settling in, her passion for custom-made handbags was reignited. In fact, it was her children’s school, Gulliver Academy, which was integral in the collection’s success. Fellow moms fell in love with her unique designs and the brand’s genesis spawned from a grassroots, word-of-mouth level. “We are very fortunate to have our kids attend a school that is great not only academically but also socially. It feels like a really big family. I am lucky to be part of that family and have received support and help from almost everyone at the school,” she says.
The demand for her expertly crafted bags (especially her “box bag” style photographed above) has grown so much (hello, Sofia Vergara!), Kavalekas opened a brick-and-mortar store in the Miami Design District abutting the Fly’s Eye Dome.
When not working with her clients or connecting with her Florence-based tannery, Kavalekas says, “I am blessed to say that my hobby is my work and my work is my hobby! However things have been happening so fast and I have been so busy that it does not leave me much time for a true hobby; but I do like to drink a glass of Prosecco or two here and there and just relax!” Spoken like a true Miami gal.
Ximena Kavalekas, 140 NE 39 Street, Miami; website