Designer Rebecca Minkoff transformed the four corners of the rooftop terrace at Spring Studios into a completely furnished diorama yesterday evening, each scene reminiscent of New York City’s once vibrant nightlife.
One backdrop mimicked a late-night dress rehearsal at CBGB while another evoked after-hour vibes typical of a swanky lounge in a Tribeca hotel.
“It was all about this boho-rock sensibility that we’re known for,” said Minkoff at her New York Fashion Week presentation. “And it’s about celebrating the cultural institutions that I love that are part of New York City’s fabric.”
The still-life and still-masked models were dialed up in embellished layers and detailed accessories that screamed more badass than boho. Overall, with comforting animal prints, plaid and houndstooth for day, and glitzy sequins and leather for night, her Fall 2020 ready-to-wear collection stayed true to her signature aesthetic.
But she pulled out some surprises. In the sea of clutches and crossbody bags was an unsuspecting accessory.
With a long, black military coat draped over it, a model sported the new Rebecca Minkoff x Medela Pump and Baby Bag. A breast shield and valve peeked right above the zipper, but even if you have nursed, you likely would’ve never noticed it.
“I wanted to showcase the tote at Fashion Week since a breast pump tote is an essential item for any mom,” says the mother of three. “We moms need a way to keep all our pump parts organized as we’re out and about.”
With the fashion industry in flux, IMG (the event producers of NYFW) and individual designers had to forge partnerships to make fashion shows a reality this season, especially if it was a live show.
In addition to Lowe’s furniture, which provided the furniture and decor for the event, Minkoff tapped Medela as another ally.
“We’ve always admired Rebecca for her passion in supporting breast milk feeding, working parents,” says Melissa Gonzales, executive vice president of the Americas for Medela. “She has been a Medela mom since her first child, so the collaboration was a natural fit for both of us to develop something.”
The versatile limited-edition bag was designed to fit Medela’s personal-use breast pumps. Says Minkoff, “We’ve been working together the last three seasons and I was like, can I design something for you guys? Something that I would love to wear and when I’m done pumping it can be my diaper bag; then when I’m done with diapering it can be my gym bag. Something with multi-functionality.”
She highlights her favorite features: “There’s a removable pouch that you can put dirty parts in that I wish I had because I would always put them in gross Ziploc bags. And there are a ton of compartments to keep your pump parts upright so you don’t have the milk leaking out of the caps.” And there’s nothing worse than spilt milk.
Minkoff acknowledges that many workers no longer have to trek into the workplace, but that doesn’t mean working moms are sitting idle. She also predicts that the massive layoffs, remote schooling and childcare crises that arose from the pandemic will spur a new movement of entrepreneurs.
“You’re going to see a boon of founders and those are going to be the moms who are so sick of what’s going on right now that they’re going to come up with solutions to make their own businesses, go to work, and homeschool their children,” says Minkoff. “So I wanted to design something that was stylish and that would work for them.”
Minkoff has teamed up with Medela in the past but this bag marks the first time she has created a physical product for the breast pump company. In her NYFW show last fall, Minkoff featured a digital campaign starring a Medela pump and Mara Martin, the Sports Illustrated model who made headlines when she walked the swimsuit runway while breastfeeding her newborn. The fact that this isn’t a first-time partnership with Medela suggests this collaboration is Minkoff’s most personal fashion statement yet.
“So much of motherhood is about taking care of other people and not focusing on yourself,” Minkoff says. “I wanted to create something specifically for moms to help them look and feel their best amidst the messy, beautiful, chaotic experience that is being someone’s mom.”
-Tanya Klich, Forbes Staff