While the pope roamed around New York City on Thursday, Sept. 24, the other Pope joined Footwear News for the 2015 Allstate Foundation Purple Purse event at the Plaza Hotel. Kerry Washington, better known as her TV show’s character, Olivia Pope, was on hand to unveil her new, limited-edition purse design to bring attention to domestic violence and financial abuse.
Washington collaborated with Dee Ocleppo on the design, which is available exclusively through Saks Fifth Avenue, the campaign’s first-ever retail partner.
“Dee is such a girls’ girl. She’s super-generous, so we just got together and talked about what we both envisioned,” Washington told FN. “I wanted to do a bag that fit within the aesthetic of what she does, but also add a bit of my own style. I chose the textiles and the shade, but the form of it was more in line with the bag that [Ocleppo creates]. It was just really fun.”
For Washington, who has become a red carpet regular, working with Purple Purse and Allstate was an opportunity to empower women.
“This purse is a tool to unlock the conversation. It’s hard to talk about a broken wrist, it’s hard to talk about a black eye, it’s hard to talk about having your credit destroyed, but it’s really fun to talk about fashion,” she said. “When you make it about the purse, some of the stigma dissolves, the fear evaporates and people become part of the solution.”
Here, Washington shares more on fashion.
1. She’s interested in designing shoes.
“I really love shoes. For me, a big part of finding a character is figuring out what shoes she wears. So yeah, it might be really fun to [design].”
2. Christian Louboutin is her go-to shoe designer.
“I love so many, but Louboutin would probably be my super-fave.”
3. She learned about fashion late in life.
“[When] I started to work as an actress, I started having to show up on red carpets. I began a rapid education. I learned who all the designers were, I learned the history of the houses, I learned what clothes looked good on me. … I really drenched myself in learning about fashion. It has become, as many of you know, a big part of my life, a big part of my job and something that I really enjoy.”
4. She aims to only wear clothes and shoes she feels good in.
“When I get dressed for an event, my goal is to wear something that I feel good in. I feel like if I wear something with the goal of trying to impress people or make people like me, I’m going to go home upset. No matter what you wear, no matter what you do, you can’t please everybody all of the time. I always wear something that feels good on me.”
5. She had a fan-girl moment over Pope Francis.
Just as the red carpet interviews began, Washington fled the scene as soon as she found out the Pope was driving by — literally running off the carpet. Earlier in the day, she’d made an appearance on “Live! with Kelly and Michael” and joked, “I think my celebrity crush is this pope. I always get that question, and I never want to say anybody, because then you see him at a party! I figure I won’t see the pope at a party.” Looks like she was able to get a glimpse of him, at least.