Rebecca Minkoff stole out hearts years ago with the so-called Morning After Bag (MAB, for short), and now she’s out to steal our men–or the spot on their arms, at least–with the introduction of Ben Minkoff. Inspired by her grandfather, a World War II fighter pilot, the collection-for-guys promises all the rugged durability and old-school details we love…and, with any luck, the cool factor required to make your significant other spring for a new look. We won’t tell if you want to take one for a spin, either.
Fashionista: Many times, designers going from catering to women to targeting men will just add chunkier hardware and adopt a more rugged design. But your products tend to be hardware-heavy and durable to begin with. Was it difficult to really make this line stand out and feel more masculine?
Rebecca Minkoff: With the Ben Minkoff collection, it was important to take a step back from our female customer and think about what men are really looking for in terms of functionality of a man bag. We did include similar brass hardware that we use in the women’s collection because I love the aged look. And it’s not super shiny, which gives the bags that vintage feel. I believe in the little details that make things unique, whether it’s a bag for a man or a woman.
The Ben Minkoff line is visibly inspired by the 1940s. Where specifically did these bags come from? Does each one cater to a slightly different person?
The spring 2011 collection was inspired by the bags the Air Force used during the ’40s and were based off of the three classic bags–the map, mail and motorcycle.
Who do you imagine are the men who will use these bags? Can you describe your dream client?
We pictured a west coaster-meets-urban kind of guy who would look at the bags and see classic, functional, but stylish pieces. My dream client is simply a cool guy looking for versatile pieces with a timeless feel. We’ve even had an incredible response from our female customers who wanted a more masculine bag!
How cohesive does this line feel in terms of your past work? Did it feel like a very different direction for you when designing it?
Designing Ben Minkoff was a natural next step for me as it’s a great way to grow the Rebecca Minkoff brand into more of a lifestyle brand. We had an abundance of requests to create a men’s line and felt it was the right time to introduce the collection to our customers.
What are you inspired by lately? What influences can we expect to see in your next line?
I get a lot of inspiration from vintage pieces and traveling. Being absorbed in history and other cultures is pretty inspiring. Before I set out to design a collection, I typically put together a mood board with a mix of vintage designs, beautiful photography, sketches and mementos I’ve picked up from my travels.
The line will be available this spring at BenMinkoff.com.