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IMG_3552Rebecca Minkoff was delightful! I knew of her brand and the impact she made in the handbag world with her cross-body, studded handbags, so when John Bailey called to tell me about the young designer’s appearance at Nordstrom South Coast Plaza, I didn’t hesitate. I can only tell you I was not disappointed!

The tall, lithe, attractive designer was in her glory meeting customers at her personal appearance. She greeted everyone warmly, answered fashion questions and autographed her handbags, which were displayed all around her, while models wearing Minkoff’s spring designs sauntered throughout the store. Customers and interested watchers were served fun canned drinks and delectable appetizers as a DJ, who doubled as an announcer, played the latest pop music. I was especially intrigued with a studded fuschia pink clutch, which showcased two mini-speakers inside (see photo), which I later found out was called the Rebecca Minkoff for Stelle Audio “Studded Speaker” clutch. It disguises a Bluetooth-enabled wireless speaker to enable the holder to play music or talk on the hands-free phone. Pretty cool, I must say!

When I was able to talk to Rebecca in private following her appearance, I asked her how she felt about her success since launching her signature five piece apparel line in 2001. “It feels like a miracle,” she said. “I never thought I would have a brand this big.” Today, Minkoff’s brand showcases a wide range of apparel, handbags, footware, jewelry, and accessories in more than 700 stores worldwide. Asked about being considered the creator of the studded handbag craze, she replied, “I’ve always had a love of hardware and metal in general – zippers, studs, etc., and when I launched my handbags in 2005 and did a studded group the second season, it just took off. It did so well, I concentrated on handbags and didn’t design fashion again until 2009.” I might add here that this young designer beat out Louis Vuitton, Valentino, Gucci, Michael Kors, and many more, to the studded hardware faze in handbags.

Minkoff’s fashion designs are in the sportswear/daywear categories. “I design everything from blouses to jackets to pants (she has a great offering of jeans this year) to dresses, which you can either to go work in or out in (considered cocktail dresses),” she said. “We’ve also recently branched out into outerwear.”

When asked about her goal, she says, “The goal is to offer a lifestyle brand with the full offering, but we’re not even close to doing fragrance, cosmetics or home.” Then, she reveals, “Every area that my girl lives I want to touch.” Who is your girl, I ask. “We market to what we call the ‘sexy tomboy,’ but we also sell to mothers, grandmothers and daughters. When I started I was 24 so I was designing for girls my age, but now that I’m older, I want to appeal to the 13-year-olds and the 60-year-olds.” Something tells me this talented, business-saavy designer is going to be around a long time. Kudos to you, Rebecca!