If your style icons are Blake Lively, Rachel Bilson, Leighton Meester and Keira Knightley then you might want to take note of Rebecca Minkoff’s name. The American designer’s ready-to-wear pieces regularly feature on Gossip Girl and her handbags dangle from the arms of fashionistas including Reese Witherspoon, Whitney Port, Lauren Conrad and Ashley Greene, making her the hottest US export since Tory Burch.


And now she’s set to expand the Minkoff empire with a line of must-have shoes for spring/summer 2011. From cute snakeskin wedge flats (think Bianca Jagger by day…) to a pair of killer tan sandals with lace-ups (… and Bianca Jagger by night), you’ll find just the pair to hit the trends AND stay on budget (the shoes will retail from £170 to £240).

We caught up with Rebecca at the launch of her shoe collection and quizzed her on all things stylish:

Do you design with a particular woman in mind?

I definitely design for myself and for my friends. I’m also inspired by them. For the shoe collection, I raided my mum's shoe wardrobe – she has hundreds of pairs, and I found lots of ideas for the collection, which was 1970s influenced.

Which celebrities do you love seeing in your pieces?

All of them! I love Rachel Bilson, Reese Witherspoon and especially Sienna Miller – she’s just got such a fresh approach and always looks cool.

Do you have any handbag rules?

I think everybody should wear a handbag that suits them but maybe makes them feel a little uncomfortable. It's good to take a leap. I find that when I wear something that makes me feel a little uneasy, like this mad pair of Isabel Marant trousers I just bought, it's the one piece that everybody comments on in a positive way.

How do you keep it fresh and yourself motivated season after season?

If I’m feeling stuck I tend to look at treatments, like the print on a vintage belt or marble effect or for one particular bag in the spring/summer collection I reproduced the pattern on a tile.

Your pieces have a lot of vintage detailing. If you could own any vintage piece from any designer or time period, what would it be?

There's this amazing jewellery store in New York that specialises in Thirties and Forties vintage jewellery. My husband has promised that when he gets a big project [he’s an architect] I’ll be getting a piece from there.  

What's your favourite bag of the collection?

That's like asking me to pick between my children! Lately I've been wearing The Affair handbag (pictured) with everything. I love that it's classic but with an edge.

Rebecca Minkoff is stocked at ASOS.COM. Check out www.rebeccaminkoff.com for more details.

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By Maria Milano