Known for her feminine clothing and accessories that include a slight edge, designer Rebecca Minkoff has gone global since she introduced her first handbag collection in 2004. Her apparel, footwear, handbags, accessories and wearable tech are available in more than 900 stores worldwide. Her latest project brings her playful style to bottles of Chandon Brut, which she designed. Minkoff lives in New York City with her husband, director Gavin Bellour, and their two children.
When did you first discover the pleasure of drinking wine?
I would say when I turned 21, I decided I should stop the Cosmos and the Appletinis and start discovering what I like. As I moved into adulthood, I began to explore wine. I was living in New York City and working for a designer then.
“We went to a Brunello tasting, and I just said, ‘Oh, my god, what is this?’ ”
Did you grow up in a wine-loving household?
Actually, no. My parents didn’t drink at all. The only access I really had to wine was Manischewitz. My cousins and I would sneak bottles of it and drink it during the holidays.
Do you have a memorable wine-drinking experience?
We got married in Italy, because, believe it or not, it was cheaper to get married there than in the U.S. I had a very strict budget of $10,000, and I found a place in Tuscany, in Siena, to do it. We went to a Brunello tasting, and I just said, “Oh, my god, what is this?” I had been exploring wine for six years at the time I got married, but when you taste that wine—in a winery—that became a memorable experience.
What are your go-to appetizers and beverages for a small party?
There’s always going to be a great cheese plate with a spread of various cheeses, from goat to cow to blue, and some Parmesan. I will also do olives and sliced charcuterie. I will also usually serve a salad and chicken so that I am offering sustenance, too. We will have Chandon, of course. I just tried a cocktail [with] Prosecco and Campari, and it had a really interesting balance. So for my next party, we’ll try it with Chandon and Campari.
How do you and your husband divide the entertaining responsibilities?
If he is excited about a certain dish, he will make it, or he will be in charge of the playlist. I am usually in charge of the guest list, décor and cooking. He is the entertainer if I’m still getting stuff ready in the kitchen. He is the door greeter—really, the person doing what I think is the harder work. I love to be in the kitchen.
What do you drink if you’re just pouring a glass?
During the summer, I drink rosé. I really like Château Miraval. There is a sommelier named Helen Johannesen at Helen’s Wines in LA, and she gave me this wonderful tasting list. One of the wines was a Lambrusco, and that was delicious, and there was a Gamay that was very affordable. I have just been going down her list and exploring the wines that she presented at that tasting.
What was the inspiration for the bottle you designed for Chandon?
People recognize my brand because of studs, tassels, zippers and a certain flap shape on some of our bags, and with the exception of the studs, none of the elements made sense. In a brainstorming session, we realized that the studs could be like bubbles. We came back with several iterations, while also exploring a color that didn’t seem so “holiday,” like red or silver, so we picked the mint blue. No matter what you celebrate, you can bring the bottle to a party and not have to wrap it up.
How can your customers be involved in the experience of your Chandon collaboration?