Showstopper

By Jennifer Wells
In Interviews, Style

STLFW headliner Rebecca Minkoff talks trends, travel and why St. Louis is on her fashion radar.

 

The local fashion set swooned with delight when the announcement was made that Rebecca Minkoff would be headlining the upcoming season of Saint Louis Fashion Week. After all, Minkoff has had her finger consistently on the pulse of what real women are dying to wear—a feat made even more admirable by the designer’s spot-on sense of practical glamour.

It’s this amazing revelation—wearable need not equate with boring—that has made her label a go-to for women (and men) everywhere. Case in point: the Finn clutch, with its festive fringe and haute-hippie vibe, which had us drooling at first sight—not to mention that it pairs fabulously with any number of pieces offered in the designer’s striking Spring/ Summer 2014 collection. Inspired by influential Latin American women throughout the decades, Minkoff ‘s SS14 lineup will be tapped for STLFW’s most buzzed about runway event, presented by Saks Fifth Avenue, on April 24. ALIVE caught up with Minkoff as she prepped for the show to dish details on what she loves about St. Louis, the must-have items you’ll be wearing this spring and what to expect from her STLFW show.

ALIVE: Your appearance at Saint Louis Fashion Week will mark the second time you’ve shown here since 2012. What makes St. Louis a priority for you as a fashion destination?
Rebecca Minkoff: I love that St. Louis has such a strong community of young, up-andcoming designers. All proceeds from tickets purchased for my show at Saks Fifth Avenue will go to benefit the St. Louis Fashion Fund. The fund provides educational opportunities and resources to up-and-coming designers to help them start their collections and get traction in the fashion industry.

ALIVE: Your Spring/Summer 2014 collection is blooming with festive inspiration. Did you travel south of the border lately?
RM: Yes, I love Mexico! I just went to Tulum for the holidays, actually. It’s so relaxing and beautiful there. I also adore the fun, beachy vibe. I wanted to inject a little fun into my collection with t-shirts that say things like “Let’s all go to Mexico!” and “Viva America!”

ALIVE: When we last talked, you were in the process of opening your flagship store—what’s the latest?
RM: We’re still working on our NYC store, but expect fun details in the design and personalized touches for the customer.

ALIVE: Rebeccaminkoff.com is not only a destination for all of your label’s offerings, but it also provides multiple opportunities for fans to connect with the brand. Tell us about some of the cool features of the site.
RM: We’re constantly updating the site with a look into the brand with features like editorials, behind the scenes and our new RMTV. We’re also very tuned into social media. It’s so important to me to engage with my customers and not only share with them what I’m doing and what I’m working on for them for the upcoming season, but also get insight from them to see what they like, what they’re carrying and what they’re interested in. We created the hashtag #myRM to see how our girls are styling their RM product, and we now feature selections from the hashtag on our website so customers can see how to get the look.

ALIVE: Your Fall 2014 collection felt very smart. What—or who—was your inspiration? 
RM: Thank you! I wanted to make very strong menswear-inspired pieces for Fall 2014. I’m often inspired by strong women, and I can definitely see the strong Minkoff customer in all of these looks.

ALIVE: We loved the metallic pants you showed for Fall 2014. How do you feel they’re best executed off the runway?
RM: I recommend styling the metallic pants with something low-key like an oversized sweater or sweatshirt for day. For an evening on the town, I’d pair them with an oversized button-down and a blazer with a pair of great single-soled stilettos.

ALIVE: What is one piece every woman needs to have this summer?
RM: A great dress is key. I recommend our Avenida Expandable Zip Dress for summer; it’s lightweight, easy to pack and goes from day to night with ease.

ALIVE: Your brand has been a fashion staple for some time now. How do you stay inspired?
RM: Honestly, I stay inspired by my customer. The Rebecca Minkoff girl embodies the idea of downtown romantic. She knows what she wants and she’s very exact about it, and that’s important for me to keep in mind when I design collections. My customer is my muse.

ALIVE: Has becoming a mother changed your design aesthetic? How about your own personal sense of style?
RM: Being a mother hasn’t changed my design aesthetic too much, but I do see myself asking what the most sensible, transitional, versatile style is when I’m designing. I’m not only a mother, but I have a full-time job at my company, so I like to wear clothes that easily go from the workplace to a night on the town—whether that be with my family or with friends. I like to transition with ease, and I keep that in mind when designing.

ALIVE: When you have free time, how do you like to spend it?
RM: I like to spend my free time with my husband and 2-year-old son, Luca. I love having dinner at our house in Brooklyn. I love to cook.

ALIVE: What advice can you give readers for tackling the season’s hottest trends?
RM: I love to mix feminine floral prints with tougher details like a moto leather jacket. Also, contrasting super-feminine with a touch of masculine. The sportswear trend is huge for spring, so don’t be afraid to try it. For those who may be shy, dip your toe into the shallow end with a piece like my mesh stitch sweater jacket. Mix with your favorite pair of jeans or even a super lady-like midi skirt. Try pastels from head to toe, or add a hint to your outfit by choosing a pastel handbag like my Marlowe mini in peach. And let’s not forget fringe. I love adding a bohemian vibe to my outfit with a great fringe accessory. This season, I’ll be carrying the Finn clutch with all of my boho summer dresses.

Don’t miss Rebecca Minkoff ‘s exclusive runway presentation of her Spring/Summer 2014 Collection at Saks Fifth Avenue on April 24 during Saint Louis Fashion Week. Enjoy a cocktail hour before the show, starting at 6pm, and stay after to shop the Rebecca Minkoff collection at Saks with the chance to meet the designer in person. Tickets at saintlouisfashionweek.com. Follow the conversation at #STLFW.

 

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Photo credit: Images courtesy of the designer.

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