Marian Paquette Maison: Sustainable-Minded Fashion Boutique Opens in Laguna Beach

July 11, 2023

“Sustainable fashion is a necessity,” says handbag designer Marian Barker who just opened her flagship Marian Paquette Maison showroom in Laguna Beach. It’s the first time that the former interior designer showcases her sustainable-minded handbag collection with complimentary apparel, straw hats, and home accessories in a beautiful, modern, and airy space. 

The location on Pacific Coast Highway was built in 1947, with an open atrium, soothing fountain, and 15-foot ceilings. It’s perfect to stop by to shop, enjoy the patio, have a glass of rosé, and even reserve the space for a private shopping event. 

Marian created her line of signature bags nearly a decade ago out of concern for the environment. Textiles, when disposed of, generate greenhouse methane gas and leach toxic chemicals and dyes into soils. Marian was alarmed and didn’t want to further contribute to textile waste. She wanted to do her part to save her 10,000 plus fabric samples from landfills. “I decided the fabrics could be repurposed into beautiful handbags, so I taught myself how to make one-of-a-kind bags. I built and designed the frames, cut the fabrics, glued, and constructed each one.” 

It took nearly two years to perfect her bags, and now she knows the ins and outs of how a handbag is made and relies on her skilled production team in Los Angeles to flawlessly make her designs. She knows exactly how much fabric is needed for each bag, so she doesn’t have excess waste. If there is any extra fabric, she saves it to incorporate into pillows or ottomans. 

In the early days, she sold one-of-a-kind bags to friends that she called, “After Five” bags, a cute little clutch. Today, she has multiple lines that include velvets, patchwork, clutches, evening bags, and travel bags. One of her favorite small clutches, perfect for evening wear, the Liette, was named after her mother. She considers her bags fashion accessories, like a piece of jewelry. Most have signature one-of-a-kind accents such as the number one seller, the Susan Mohair bag. Each Susan bag’s chain is vintage from the 60s and 70s, so when it’s gone, it’s gone.

She also makes custom bags for anyone who has a special piece of fabric, preferably 13” x 13” or 16” x 16” fabric samples, or fabrics are available in-store, too. “We go into manufacturing every two weeks, so you can bring the fabric in, and together we will show you how we can design your bag,” Marian said. “The service is perfect for weddings or special occasions. We can even do custom embroidery inside each bag.”  

Naturally, Marian designs each bag to last a lifetime, and encourages owners to take care of their bags by proper storage with stuffing to maintain the shape, and always use dust bags. 

Fun facts: Stay tuned for Marian’s next venture: leather bags. She is working on embossed leather designs that will tie in with fabrics. 

Handbags range in price from $350 to $750.

Open 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Tuesday to Friday.

1220 N Coast Hwy, Laguna Beach, CA 92651. 949.715.5299.

Greer's OC
Blogger | Journalist

Since 1993, Greer has been writing about fashion, dining and trends in Orange County, as a popular columnist for the Los Angeles Time Community Newspapers (Daily Pilot, Coastline Pilot and HB Independent) and now as founder of Greer’s OC.

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