Designer Rebecca Minkoff talks about her edgy 'girl'

ajohnson@newsobserver.comMarch 11, 2013 

  • Details

    Who: Rebecca Minkoff

    When: Wednesday 1-2 p.m. (meet and greet); and 5-7 p.m. (“Girls’ Night Out”).

    Where: Saks Fifth Avenue, Triangle Town Center Mall, 7700 Old Wake Forest Road, Raleigh.

    RSVP: 919-792-9100, ext. 5355

It’s tough to catch up with Rebecca Minkoff. The San Diego-born, New York-based designer has much on her presumably chic plate.

Although best known for her handbags, Minkoff also designs a ready-to-wear line, belts, jewelry and shoes. Her aesthetic has been described as girly-meets-tomboy; Minkoff has said her girl is “forward-thinking,” and “wears her clothes with an edge while maintaining polish.” For her spring ready-to-wear collection, that meant a runway rife with prints, loose fits and an assured sense of cool.

Minkettes, as devotees are called, should be out in full force when the designer comes to Saks Wednesday for a meet and greet and a “Girls’ Night Out” event.

Happily, Minkoff had some time between plane flights and meetings to chat about her spring line and her stylish ways.

Q: I checked out your Pinterest board and it shows the inspiration behind your spring handbag line is the beach. I know you’re from San Diego, But what brought you back to that frame of mind?

I started doing research on the photographer Slim Aarons, who did all these glamorous beach shots in the ’60s and ’70s. We start designing our spring lines in the middle of winter, so there’s no place I’d rather be than at the beach. So I began exploring that for spring.

Q: The soft mint colors, the ombre – color does well in setting that relaxed mood, but is it tougher conveying that with bag structure?

We do it in a different way. With bags, it’s the bright colors, but for clothing it’s digital prints and embroidery. We give our customer that same feeling in different ways.

Q: Most women get bags to go with their outfits. As a designer and as a bag lover, does it work in that order for you? Do you design your clothing lines first and then let that guide your bags? Have you ever built an outfit around a great bag?

We work in the reverse. We start handbags prior to apparel, for one reason because working in leather takes a lot longer. We all agree on a theme. Personally, I don’t have a set mantra. Whatever I’m excited about that morning, from a pair of shoes or an accessory, that’s what I build around.

Q: With your Morning After Bag, you reached “It” bag status. What was that like?

It’s a feeling of gratefulness. With a brand, we try to bring in our customer, and it’s great when they have a great love of a certain silhouette. We just want to create something for our girl that she loves.

Q: In this article I read, it talked about Michael Kors walking down the street, counting the women carrying his bags and still getting excited. Do you still get that same pleasure when you see someone with a Minkoff?

I definitely still get excited. I used to go up and say “That’s my bag,” but I don’t do that anymore. But I always smile to myself when I see that.

Q: Can you give us your top spring style musts? Do you have those?

I have some general musts. I think for spring, mint is a huge color. We’ve been going around having trunk shows, and the mint sells out right away. In pants, there’s the return of the flare. And black is becoming the color again. But I’ve been traveling around the South and it’s color, color all day long.

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