ALIVE Exclusive: 5 Minutes With Rebecca Minkoff

 In Style

The beautiful Rebecca Minkoff wowed the crowd Thursday evening at Saks Fifth Avenue with a high-energy runway show featuring looks from her Spring and Summer collection. ALIVE was able to score an exclusive Q&A with the designer just before the collection hit the floor. The adorably modest Minkoff dished the details about her pre-show rituals, hair and makeup inspirations and her positively zen attitude.

Rebecca Minkoff at Saint Louis Fashion Week Spring 2014

Photo by Mark Schwigen for ALIVE Magazine and Saint Louis Fashion Week

ALIVE: You have done countless runway shows in many different environments, is there anything in particular you and your team do to prep for the show? Any pre-show rituals?

Rebecca Minkoff: I think my biggest ritual is maintaining a calm backstage. It’s already stressful enough and I feel like it is even more stressful if I am acting crazed—I try to remain in a sense of calm. I also try to thank everyone because I feel like so many people have a thankless job, you know, getting the models dressed and undressed; they always stay in the background and I always try to make sure that they know how much they are appreciated.

ALIVE: When pulling together looks for the runway, what are a few tips and tricks you can share about the styling of a Rebecca Minkoff collection?

RM: I think the main thing we try and do is really ask ourselves, “would this girl put this together?” Obviously when you are doing a runway show you are trying to elevate the looks, which we try to do, but you want to do so without losing the girl. We try and make it to where our customer sees that it’s a reach, but an acceptable reach.

ALIVE: What goes through your mind before, during and after the show?

RM: Before my show I am constantly looking at all of the looks, making sure that there’s nothing we can do better—are there other outfits we could have chosen instead? During the show—you know, you work a year out—so that show is like a year’s worth of work. So I just try to suck those eight minutes in and really feel excited and try to slow it down because then it’s gone.

ALIVE: From where do you draw hair and makeup inspiration for your shows?

RM: We try to do a hair and makeup test two days before the show, and sometimes I go with things I’ve seen as far as makeup trends and other times I see something like that Dark Berry lip-color that I have never been a fan of, but all of a sudden I’m like, oh, the colors in the collection are a lot of that color. Sometimes I want their hair to be messy. It’s really random.

ALIVE: What are a few of your personal favorite looks or pieces from your Spring/Summer collection?

RM: One of the favorite ones was the “Let’s all go to Mexico” shirt with that lace skirt, and that was nice because it was something that you saw on the runway that actually translated to the consumer. The sales on those two items were really huge—that was a nice thing to have happen because a lot of times what’s on the runway for a lot of designers doesn’t necessarily translate to sales.

ALIVE: Are there any other items that stood out as top sellers within the collection?

RM: Well, one thing we didn’t expect is we made the Rita gladiator sandals originally just for runway, and then our Sales Manager thought we should try to sell them. Most stores were like, no way, we aren’t going to sell those, that’s like, a big reach for your customer. But then, actually Saks took a chance, and decided to buy them and then I was the one thinking they weren’t going to sell. But they did! It was a nice surprise. Then they were shot by Mario Testino for Vogue Germany, so that was a really great thing to have happen.

Interviewed by Sarah Stallmann for ALIVE Magazine and Saint Louis Fashion Week.

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