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You might not be familiar by name, but there’s a high chance you’ve seen Cult Gaia’s “Gaia’s Ark” bag — that top-handle, semi-circle basket bag introduced last summer that’s still dominating Instagram feeds right now.
The piece without a doubt catapulted the LA-based accessories brand into the spotlight, with cosigns from just about every fashion blogger (like Brittany Bathgate and Ruby Buyuktetik, to name a few) and celebrities like Jessica Alba, and thanks to its $118 price tag, probably a few people in your friend group. After ostensibly creating an It-bag, four-year-old Cult Gaia is making a move for the rest of your closet with the launch of an affordable and super wearable spring capsule ready-to-wear collection.
Out yesterday, the clothes look exactly like what you’d imagine an owner of the Ark bag would most want to wear, which is a testament to the brand’s authentic, cohesive feel. The 18-piece capsule consists of a handful easy separates, gingham rompers, linen two-piece sets, silk slip dresses, playful wrap tops, and more, offered in sizes XS through L. “We used the best materials and kept everything at an attainable price point,” designer Jasmin Larian shares, making a point to reiterate the importance of affordability: Nothing in the capsule costs more than $218.
“The Marlow Triangle Maxi Dress ($218) is really special; super sexy and flattering on so many body types,” Larian says of her favorite piece. “And the Chelsea Tent Dress ($198) is the easiest dress I own. It has room for a burger, but definitely doesn’t wear like a paper bag.”
Maybe part of that easiness comes from the organic way in which the collection was designed. Larian originally created the pieces for herself to wear on vacation; the idea was to create the perfect packable pieces that you could wear over and over again without causing a fuss that still felt beautiful. “My friends started asking for them, so I made them as birthday gifts,” says Larian. “I decided to introduce it to our customer, because there was clearly something there.”
Like other LA brands known for a vintage-inspired, sexy look (Reformation definitely comes to mind), the collection is also sustainably produced — everything in the capsule is made from deadstock fabric. "The hardest choice when moving into ready-to-wear is the impending waste that manufacturing clothing creates,” Larian shared in a press release. “I didn’t want to create that kind of footprint, and also didn’t want to see a ton of the same style in the same color.” It’s this thoughtful, bigger-picture thinking that sets Cult Gaia apart from many of the come-and-go trend-hopping brands of right now.
Alongside the clothing, the brand has also introduced new iterations of its most popular accessories for spring. The Ark bag is now available in new colors, including black, malachite, and mother of pearl acrylic, with a finish so nice you could probably tell people it’s made of stone. You’ll also find a few totally new accessories, including gorgeous, stackable bamboo bangles and some patterned styles of Cult Gaia’s turbans.
The debut of these new items comes at a perfect time for the brand, which is still enjoying mass social attention and a healthy list of wholesale accounts and seems poised to blow up. The steady, social-powered growth feels similar to now-powerhouse brands like Mansur Gavriel, which first won us over with its simple, aesthetically pleasing (and recognizable) bucket bags before introducing shoes last spring, and clothes this summer.
“I always wanted to give our customer the full Gaia package, head to toe,” says Larian. “I believe in offering the whole experience, a feeling. I’m not trying to make throwaway items. It’s subtle, but if you get it, you get it.”
So far, it seems like there are a lot of people who do get it. Cult Gaia boasts nearly 50,000 followers on Instagram with just its run of accessories; now, customers are ready for more. And good news: With a full fall collection slated to drop in June/July, this capsule is just the beginning.