Carolyn Murphy and Shinola Launch the Perfect Summer Tote

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Carolyn Murphy

Meet Lois.

Model-actress Carolyn Murphy and made-in-Detroit success story Shinola have teamed up on the perfect summer tote, launched Tuesday night with a dinner soiree at Gjelina in Venice.

Named after Murphy’s late grandmother Lois, the canvas tote with red leather trim ($495) is designed to take you everywhere from the office to the beach, she explained, demonstrating how the bag can be worn multiple ways, with the sides folded in or out. There are also matching packing pouches on offer.

“My Nana, whom I was inspired by to create the bag, we’d always do these road trips in the Oldsmobile from [Washington], D.C. She’d put her bottle of vodka, her carrots, her hard-boiled eggs and her Scrabble in this big bag, and the goal was to get to our annual reunion in Nags Head, [North Carolina]. I always remember that tote,” Murphy recalled.

It may come as some surprise that the model has been working at Shinola (as in, she has a desk there) since shortly after the brand was launched with watches in 2011. It quickly found favor with Presidents Bill Clinton and Barack Obama and others, thanks to the company's dedication to boosting American manufacturing. Shinola’s watches are built in the U.S., and the brand has since branched into bicycles, turntables, jewelry and other lifestyle goods.

At the request of photographer Bruce Weber, Murphy modeled in the first ad campaign for the brand and became so enamored of its vision, she offered her services. Since then, she has been a brand consultant, helping to lure jewelry designer Pamela Love and others into the Shinola fold.

Murphy’s stylish L.A. friends turned out to toast the bag collab, including retailer Elyse Walker, stylist George Kotsiopolous, fashion designers Lisa Marie Fernandez and Laura Brock, tattoo artist Scott Campbell, milliner Nick Fouquet, jewelry designer Lisa Eisner and more.

"I lost my Nana, and three days later, my agent called and said, 'Bruce Weber wants to shoot you for Shinola in Detroit,'" Murphy said. "So I like to think she brought us together. It was a match made in heaven."