“How would Audrey Hepburn pack for Gstaad today?” is a question designer Anne-Marie Olson of Katonah says she might ask herself as she works on her PARK brand of luxury sporting and travel accessories. Though the company was officially launched a year ago, the concept behind it was actually born in 2002, when Olson, packing for a ski trip to Banff, was dismayed to find both her ski and boot bags completely falling apart. “Being both a fashion accessory designer—I had designed handbags for Ralph Lauren and Kenneth Cole—and athlete, I wanted something chic but durable. The only thing I could find was over-logoed ballistic nylon bags.”
Growing up in Ottawa, Olson had a passion for style (“I was a relentless designer and maker of Barbie furniture”) and the great outdoors. She was a competitive swimmer, skier, and triathlete, who also sailed, golfed, and played tournament tennis. PARK is a nod to the Canadian parks of her youth and the exclusivity of Park Avenue and Central Park in Manhattan, to which Olson moved in 1995, not long after finishing interior design school. She soon became involved in fashion, working for Escada and other top design houses for the next 15 years, before deciding to turn sporting accessories into timeless fashion accessories with a modern sensibility. Her designs, she notes, are informed by tradition and memories of skiing in Switzerland and Canada, golfing at St. Andrews, and watching Wimbledon.
These days, Olson continues playing the sports of her youth while using PARK products. “I know they are beautiful and will protect my equipment,” she says. Offerings range from a Golden Jet flask with a plaid and leather trim ($75) to the goose-down and silver fox-trimmed Riverside sleeping bag ($1,000). Materials come from Italy, and products are manufactured both in the United States and Asia. The brand is sold exclusively to high-end retailers and resorts like Neiman Marcus, and, locally, the ski collection is available through Hickory & Tweed in Armonk. Just last month, PARK premiered its new equestrian bags at The Hamptons Classic. And on the drawing board? A luxury polo mallet bag. For more info: www.parkaccessories.com.