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Category: Rebecca Minkoff

Rebecca Minkoff and fashion's sweet spot

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For several years now, the sweet spot in fashion has been the contemporary price point (clothing priced from $150 to $1,000). Which is why so many new generation American designers (Alexander Wang, Philip Lim, Tory Burch) have built businesses around the concept of offering high style at not-so-high prices. Saks Fifth Avenue and Nordstrom have both recently devoted more floor space to the category, which has broadened its appeal beyond twentysomethings thanks in no small part to celebrity exposure in glossy weekly magazines.

When it comes to accessories in the contemporary category, Rebecca Minkoff has been a major success story. In just six years, she has built a name for handbags that ring up at less than $500, including the bestselling $195 Morning After Clutch, which has attracted celebrity fans with far-reaching personal styles, including Reese Witherspoon, Agnes Deyn and Lauren Conrad. MAC_black

"I can't deny the power of celebrity," said Minkoff, digging into a plate of eggs Benedict at BLD in Los Angeles recently. "But we are also a customer-driven brand."

The New York-based Minkoff was in town to celebrate her new shop-in-shop at Confederacy in Los Feliz. We sat down for a few minutes to discuss her career, including several milestones involving L.A.

A San Diego native, Minkoff moved to New York in the early 2000s, and started designing an eponymous, self-described "DIY-style" clothing line, with pieces such as an "I Love NY" T-shirt that made it into the pages of US Weekly. In 2004, her first runway show was taped as a plotline for the TV shows "Laguna Beach" and "The Hills." And by 2005, Jenna Elfman was such a fan, she asked for a one-off handbag to wear as part of her costume for the film "Touched."

Minkoff was up to the task. She created the Morning After Bag -- a simple, structured satchel -- in just 10 days, despite having never made a bag before. It was designed to be small enough to carry during a night on the town, but big enough to hold a change of clothes. And it was in keeping with Minkoff's own fashionable sense of practicality. (Rare is the handbag designer who admits to having only three handbags in rotation in her wardrobe.)

Mab_mini_blood_red_front_2 As luck would have it, the bag didn't make it into the film. But Minkoff started carrying it herself, and people took notice. Ilaria Urbinati, a former contributor to DailyCandy.com, and now co-owner of Confederacy, wrote about the bag for the style blog, and the rest is history.

Minkoff's first retail account was L.A.'s Satine. Each Morning After Bag came with a calling card inside, featuring a photo of a handsome man and a phone number. If you called the number, you would reach a sexy voice mail recording. The response to the collection was so immense, that Minkoff took a break from clothing to focus solely on accessories.

Since then, growth has been rapid. During her first year, she had just 20 retail stores. Now she has more than 500, including accounts in Europe, Asia and Mexico. Last season, at the request of Saks Fifth Avenue, Minkoff introduced a Collection line of higher-end pieces, priced from $595 to $2,000, which allows her to dabble in exotic skins and leathers.

Last year, she reintroduced clothing (leather jackets, chiffon maxiskirts, tailored blazers, leggings and faux fur vests with a downtown edge) and debuted shoes for the first time. And in September, she'll show the full collection at New York Fashion Week.

Part of the appeal of the Minkoff brand is that it is logo-free, and she wants to keep it that way. "I'm not a big logo person. I never even owned another designer's bag," she said, adding that she was devoted to vintage bags before designing her own. "I appreciate that women aren't buying my bags for the real estate, they are buying them because they like them." 

-- Booth Moore

Top photo: Rebecca Minkoff shop-in-shop at Los Feliz's Confederacy. Credit: Rebecca Minkoff

Middle photo: Morning After Clutch. Credit: Rebecca Minkoff

Bottom photo: Morning After Bag. Credit: Rebecca Minkoff

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DANNY IPAD SLING_GREY LEATHER_BLACK TRIM

If you were lucky enough to get an iPad during the holidays, whether as a gift or a gift to yourself, you now have a stylish place to stash it besides an Apple Store neoprene doodad. Because nothing says careless more than a scratched-up screen.

Rebecca Minkoff, who has amassed a following over six years for her colorful hip handbags for gals, now tries to bag guys with a men's accessory collection -- iPad, Kindle and laptop cases plus messenger and gym bags -- out this month. The collection is called Ben Minkoff, named for Rebecca's grandfather, who was a combat fighter pilot during World War II -- so therefore these bags are manly. Keeping with the heritage trend, Ben Minkoff features styles based on Air Force mail and motorcycle bags from that era. The iPad sling is based on a 1940s map bag with a similar functionality. "The Danny iPad sling does not make the guy choose what he'll keep in his pockets and what he'll hand carry," said Minkoff, who hails from San Diego and now lives in New York.

The Intelligentsia Coffee set might opt for the Ben Minkoff signature carryall, the "Nicky" messenger tote, which comes in waxed green canvas with leather trim ($395). Minkoff said the fount of inspiration is the "sense of lax-style chill L.A. men tend to possess." My Ben Minkoff pick is the tartan "Gregger" tote ($395) with leather trim.

Ben Minkoff is available at Bloomingdales.

-- Max Padilla

 Photo: "Danny" iPad tote, $485. Courtesy: Ben Minkoff

Rebecca Minkoff sample sale starts Friday, May 21


LA
It’s hard to open a weekly tabloid without seeing a photograph of some celeb toting a fringy cross body bag or slouchy hobo from designer Rebecca Minkoff.

Young Hollywood’s bag designer du jour (she also recently launched a full ready to wear collection) is holding a sample sale of her leather carryalls and sleek clutches Friday, May 21, through Sunday, May 23, at her pal Ilaria Urbinati’s hipster shopping destination Confederacy.

Bags will be 45% to 75% off.

Happy shopping.

-- Melissa Magsaysay

Rebecca Minkoff will bag her exclusive collection at Saks on Thursday

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On Thursday, Rebecca Minkoff, a San Diego-raised handbag guru, receives shoppers at Saks Fifth Avenue Handbags on One. Check out Minkoff's nifty spring styles from the department store's exclusive collection such as a chartreuse-studded Cinch pochette, $795, and saddle-licious Hypno Stud Nikki totes, $850.

Saks Fifth Avenue, 9600 Wilshire Blvd., Beverly Hills. (310) 275-4211. 2 to 4 p.m.

-- Max Padilla

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Photo: Cinch pochette. Credit: Saks Fifth Avenue

Pick of the Week: Rebecca Minkoff's neon bags

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I just came back from Buenos Aires, where I stayed in a hip neighborhood called Palermo Soho.  The Flu_yellow1 name is apropos since it has a nice mix of grittiness and sophistication, just like the Soho in lower Manhattan. Several murals and random jots of graffiti were eye-popping fun and totally inspiring.

 This week it’s all about '80s, neon and graffiti-inspired pieces.

Rebecca Minkoff’s uber-bright neon clutches and laptop case provide a jolt of color to brighten up your wardrobe and mood.
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-- Melissa Magsaysay

Top: Wall canvased with murals and graffiti in the Palermo Soho neighborhood of Buenos Aires. Photo credit: Cory Desrosiers
Bottom: At left, neon yellow Rendezvous clutch, $275; middle, neon pink clutch, $325; right, neon yellow bag, $325. Photo credit: Rebecca Minkoff

The perfect bag for baby and mommy: Rebecca Minkoff's 'Knocked Up' bag

Knocked Up 1 copy I was talking to a pregnant friend the other day who was frustrated about buying maternity clothes, because she doesn’t want to spend a fortune on jeans with elastic panels and tented tops that she won’t wear once she’s returned to her svelte self.

Though I don't have an answer for the paneled jeans, I did stumble on the perfect multipurpose carryall that functions as a diaper bag (for baby) and as a very cute everyday tote (for mommy).Knocked Up copy

The “Knocked Up” bag from Rebecca Minkoff is a taller and more baby-friendly version of her popular “Morning After” style. And it’s not just the name that's right on. Minkoff has lined the leather bag with a coated canvas interior and also included stroller straps, a changing pad and baby-friendly compartments.

Those same slots that hold baby’s bottles will be perfect for your Blackberry and keys in a couple of years. 

The “Knocked Up” is $695 and available at Nordstrom.

-- Melissa Magsaysay

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This week's sample sales: Bag ladies

If you tend to follow the “one for you, one for me” policy, then these sample sales might be a good place to grab a new bag for a loved one and still have some cash to treat yourself to one as well.   Treesje

Treesje, the Culver City-based handbag line designed by friends Sheila Nazarian and Laura Darrah, is having a sample sale on fall and spring items with savings good enough to buy a bag and still have a little money to stuff in it.

Their Asher bag, a fave of Katherine Heigl is originally $595.  At sale time, the bag will be marked down to $445.  Other styles on sale include the Divino clutch -- was: $368, now: $185; and the Luna bag was: $595, now: $295.
Treesje L.A. sample sale: Saturday, Dec. 6, 11 a.m.-4 p.m., 1004 North Beverly Drive, Beverly Hills.

Rebecca Minkoff’s handbags are also on sale this week at Ilaria Urbinati’s new store, Confederacy (which we profiled in more detail here).  If you go, look out for traces of Minkoff’s newly launched clothing line.  There were rumors of the designer branching out into ready to wear and now it’s official.  Her line will hit stores for spring '09, but she is hosting a sneak peak this week, also at Confederacy.  Rebecca Minkoff

Rebecca Minkoff Sample Sale: Thursday, Dec. 4, to Saturday, Dec. 6, noon–8 p.m. Confederacy, 4661 Hollywood Blvd. at Vermont, Los Angeles.

Happy shopping.  One for you, one for me …

-- Melissa Magsaysay

Photos: Top: Treesje bag/Treesje. Bottom: Rebecca Minkoff bag/Rebecca Minkoff


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