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Rebecca Minkoff is a hand-bag designer first. The California-born fashion vet started out with apparel, but quickly dropped the less-than-lucrative endeavor when she managed to craft the "It Bag" of the mid-aughts, suggestively called the "Morning After Bag." But Minkoff returned to apparel in 2009 and has had success—especially among the celebrity set she calls friends. And this season, the trendy looks she sends down the runway are giving the bags a run for their money.
First of all, girl has an eye for trends. From the faded floral prints and barely flared-bootcut denim to the collared shirts with wide-cut, cropped silhouetees, the majority of the collection makes an easy jump from runway to wardrobe. In that way, Minkoff's apparel collection is comparable to her bag archives, including those that debuted on Friday. She told us recently about her $60 handbag, "We decided to listen to our consumer during the recession and so we knew that things were tough." She's not into conceptual and unaffordable cool. She's into fun, easy-going cool. So too with her clothes: The customer is who she cares about pleasing.
She's also taking risks. Between construction worker jumpsuits and backless overalls in snakeskin print, she's stepping out a tad. Seeing if these will take hold commercially should prove interesting, but the fact that she's experimenting while still keeping her demographic in mind only reiterates that she's here to have fun. Need any more proof? One of the clutches in the finale was a collaboration with Stelle Audio Couture, and "yes it plays music."
Minkoff knows how to have a good time both in clothes and otherwise. The runway was set to a live performance from indie band Tennis spliced with beats from DJ Cassidy's repertoire, making the Slim Aarons photo-inspiration feel even more like a painfully hip pool party. And everyone wants to go to the cool-girl party. Even Ryan Lochte. ...Especially Ryan Lochte.