Go Away With … Rebecca Minkoff

By Jae-Ha Kim
Tribune Media Services
September 29, 2009

Rebecca Minkoff, whose line of handbags is a favorite with A-list celebrities, says though she enjoys a nice hotel with a luxurious spa, it’s also fun to “rough it a bit and carry everything you need on your back.” Though she could easily create a chic knapsack for herself, Minkoff says her practical side uses her Samsonite backpack, which she admits should work well for her for a few more trips.

“I like adventures,” says Minkoff. “They make life interesting.”

This, of course, from the woman who once stayed at a brothel in Israel. More on that later.

Q. What is your favorite vacation destination?
Siena, Italy, where I just got married. I fell in love with it when I went for a business trip two years ago. I got to spend 10 days there and really experience all the little places that tourists don’t usually go. In September, I get to go back to Paris and Milan and even though it’s for work, traveling to places like that is the “funnest” part of my job.

Q. Where are your favorite weekend getaways?
I’m based out of both Los Angeles and New York these days. I spent some time in the Hamptons — not the busy part, but in the woods. A friend of mine has a house in the woods so we stayed there and it was so relaxing and nice. We always have these goals to get away more on weekends, but there’s always so much work to get done. We were supposed to go to Maine with a bunch of friends. I think that would’ve been one of my favorite places if we had gone!

Q. What are your favorite hotels and restaurants?
I love the Chateau Marmont (www.chateaumarmont.com) in Los Angeles. It’s beautiful. There is a bed and breakfast that we stayed at in Cinque Terre, Italy, called Benvenuti all’Hotel Villa Steno (http://www.villasteno.com/it) that I loved. There’s a boutique hotel in Paris that I think is gorgeous — the Duo Hotel (www.duo-paris.com). As far as restaurants, I really like Little Dom’s (www.littledoms.com) in L.A. There’s a great restaurant right off the bridge in Brooklyn called Spuyten Duyvil (www.spuytenduyvilnyc.com). It’s a wine bar with some really amazing cheese and bread.

Q. When you go away, what are some of your must-have items?
I usually always have two bags — a handbag that I’m loving at the moment and then a canvas tote for my laptop, magazines, eye cream and eye mask.
Q. What kind of research do you do before you go away on a trip?

When we were younger, my mother always handled all the logistics of a trip. As I grew older, I began to worry that I’d have to do it myself. But luckily, my husband loves to do all that. He is really amazing about buying all the guidebooks, taking charge of the trip and getting all the maps together.

Q. Where would you like to go that you have never been to before?
Next summer we want to go backpacking. Our friends are getting married at the same location we got married so we’re going to start there. We’ll go to Greece for sure. We want to go to Istanbul, Turkey and then somehow get to Switzerland. We’ll travel for about a month. I’ve never been away from work for that long, so we’ll see!

Q. What is your worst vacation memory?
My mom is a very economic traveler. When I was 13, she took us on a weeklong trip to Israel and booked us in hostels. We got there and it was dirty and sketchy. Our friends came to meet us and the first thing he said was, “Why are you staying at a brothel?” My mom had booked us into a brothel for two days! (Laughs.) We all tell this story all the time because once we got over it, we all laughed really hard.

Q. How do you try to fit in when you’re a tourist?
People may recognize my handbags, but no one ever recognizes me so I just fit in anywhere. But the oddest thing was I was in China in the middle of nowhere and one of the waitresses got all excited seeing me and wanted to take my picture. She was really cute and nice. But I think she probably thought I was someone else.

© 2009 JAE-HA KIM


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