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Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Designer Insider: 5 Questions for Tinsley Mortimer

Tinsley Mortimer is one of Manhattan’s hardest working socialites. The NYC ‘It’ girl was sought by Japanese handbag label, Samantha Thavasa to bring her sophisticated style to the collection. In designing the celeb-loved line, Tinsley set out to create bags that would reflect her style and truly wear. She grew up in Richmond, VA before moving to New York City to study at Columbia University. She is a descendant of both Thomas Jefferson and James Madison, making her the ultimate ‘All-American’ girl. Gossip Girl fans got to watch the style maker this season, playing herself at Hampton’s fete. I caught the designer between engagements for a quick interview:
Mariana Leung: What pieces from your collection are you most excited about this season?

Tinsley Mortimer: I love the Travis bag!! It is a small clutch that is covered in animal print with gold trim. When I was designing it, I thought of the little gold minaudiere my mom used to carry in the 80’s. The Travis bag has a little 80’s looking chain too so you can wear it over your shoulder, which I think looks really chic. I also love the Lily clutch. It is really soft and can hold everything. I did it in gold, gun metal, and a fun bright orange.

ML: Many people consider you a modern style icon. Who in your life inspires you as a fashion role model or acts as a muse for your collection?

T.M.: A lot of people inspire me; from young actresses like Sienna Miller, to friends like Lauren Santo Domingo, and Eleanor Ylivisaker, to Audrey Hepburn and Grace Kelly, to my mom. I pick up on details that I like from lots of people. Mostly, I concentrate on designing pieces that I myself would like to have in my own closet. I design bags that I would love to carry and make sense for me and my lifestyle. If I stick to that, then I am always happy with the outcome.

M.L.: In addition to designing a high-profile handbag line and multi-tasking through other business ventures, you are recognized for supporting several charities. Which one of your causes do you feel closest to?

T.M.: There are so many amazing charities in New York. I love and work closely with New Yorkers for Children and Operation Smile. I recently created a lip gloss called Tinsley Pink with Dior and a portion of the proceeds were donated to Operation Smile.

M.L.: The Purse Page has a lot of Gossip Girl fans. Did you find that your cameo this season as art imitating life? Do you have any ‘behind-the-scenes’ anecdotes about the cast?

T.M.: It was such an honor to have been asked to play myself on GG!! I was beyond flattered!! Everyone was so kind and amazing!! I had hair and makeup in the trailer with Blake Lively who was just adorable and so fun. Her little precious dog was in there too (I think her name is Penny). I had the best time and was just thrilled that they thought of me!!

M.L.: What are your plans and what will you dress up as for Halloween?

T.M.: Halloween is my favorite Holiday!! I love to dress up!! This year I am going as Dorothy from the Wizard of OZ. I have a really cute, short blue and white gingham dress. I am going to braid my hair with 2 big bows, and of course I’ll wear one of my favorite pairs of Mary Janes!!
M.L.: Thank you Tinsley! Enjoy the holiday!

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