June 2, 2023

As for accessories, Mendoza has handbags from her grandmother that she treasures and always looks for a specific designer, Roberta di Camerino, at vintage stores in Europe. “It was a hot brand,” she says. “You can identify the years by the design of the pieces.” She also favors vintage Miu Miu bags and shoes, Helmut Lang accessories, and, of course, vintage Mark Cross. She had a few bags in her collection before she was appointed creative director, but recently has been delving into the archives. “I just recently reconnected with the last design director of Mark Cross before it temporarily closed in 1997,” she says. “I visited her at her home in Brooklyn and she showed me her incredible Mark Cross archives, which are amazing. It’s just so nice to have that piece of the puzzle and learn more about her brand and her heritage.”

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Another key piece of Mark Cross’s history are two glamorous artists and expatriates from the 1920s: Gerald and Sara Murphy. Gerald took over Mark Cross from his father in the 1930s. Before then, he and Sara were friends to F. Scott Fitzgerald (they are widely believed to be the inspiration behind Fitzgerald’s Tender Is the Night), Ernest Hemingway, and Pablo Picasso (who painted portraits of Sara). Their life in Paris and Antibes is the subject of several books, including Mendoza’s “North Star,” Living Well Is the Best Revenge, by Calvin Tomkins. “[Sara] just carried herself in a very elegant way, but very casual,” Mendoza says. “She would wear pearls a lot but wear them to the beach. She called it sunning her pearls. Picasso painted her with pearls draped down her back. I’m using a lot of that history in the design of our bags. There’s a lot of icons in the company. I believe in introducing them to younger generations and making them fun and interesting and giving them more power, as well.”

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