Rebecca Minkoff on Her Newest Collection
By Betsey McLain
“I KNEW I ALWAYS wanted to go back into clothing design,” says Rebecca Minkoff, when asked about her namesake fashion collection launching this spring. “It’s funny, but my last show at LA Fashion Week was on Laguna Beach years ago, and for some reason MTV cut that footage into a recent episode of The Hills and people started calling about the clothing. So I decided to do it again. It’s exciting!”
Although Minkoff had done a collection of ready-to-wear in 2001, she put her clothing line on hold after a handbag she designed for friend Jenna Elfman’s film found a cult following. Minkoff started to manufacture her well-known Morning After bag, and voilà, her handbag line was born in 2005. One of the first stores to carry her bags was Satine, a Third Street institution. Minkoff’s good friend and stylist Ilaria Urbinati was a buyer at Satine at the time and was instrumental in helping her get her bags in the door. “After Satine I was selling to Fred Segal and Bloomingdale’s and a bunch of Japanese accounts. It expanded for me very quickly,” she says.
This season Minkoff’s bag collection features candy colors, seventies-inspired shapes, and rock ’n’ rollstyle studs à la Almost Famous. Her friendship with Urbinati stayed strong, and the two teamed up as codesigners of Minkoff’s new clothing line, which consists of 25 items including jackets, dresses, skirts, and tops. It will initally sell exclusively at Urbinati’s recently opened Silver Lake store, Confederacy, and then expand to select boutiques. Minkoff and Urbinati each brought her own aesthetic to the design table, finding inspiration in a mix of futuristic styles and ladylike 1950s elegance. “We call it fifties meets Blade Runner,” explains Minkoff. “Ilaria had watched Blade Runner the night before, and I had all these pictures of Elizabeth Taylor when she was still untouched, so that’s where it started.” The collection celebrates the classic lines and sophistication of the fifties while adding an edgy sci-fi feel in a decidedly modern and casual way with leather detailing, intricate pleating, and zippers. “I wanted to be able to wear this stuff too, so we took these great details and made them work for going out or everyday,” says Minkoff, who splits her time between Los Angeles and New York. “I plan to launch into shoes and stores in 2010 in both LA and New York and really have a lifestyle brand, because each bag and dress really goes with a story.”