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This story first appeared in the August 3, 2009 issue of WWD. Subscribe Today.
Their days are spent toiling in their design studios. Off duty, however, they find other amusements. Here’s a look at the spare-time passions of several top designers.
Great American Quilter
“I love to sew quilts, and I especially love making baby gifts for my friends and toys for my twin boys,” says Jessie Randall, designer of Loeffler Randall. “It’s nice to be creative when it’s just for fun, no pressure.”
Blahnik the Builder
“If I weren’t making shoes, I’d be doing something like designing furniture or building walls,” says Manolo Blahnik. “I’ve actually built a fantastic chicken coop at my mother’s house in the Canary Islands.”
“I keep a journal to monitor the progress [of my gardens in England and Brooklyn] from year to year,” muses Deborah Lloyd, co-president and creative director of Kate Spade. “I love to see the seasons change. I find it very calming, a time to think—and plants don’t talk back.”
“I love biking,” says Alexis Bittar, the edgy Brooklyn-based jewelry designer who recently rode from New York to Philadelphia. “I particularly like biking in Brooklyn and the city’s outer boroughs because I find more of the real New York there than in Manhattan these days. I’m always trying to find parts of New York that barely exist anymore.”
“I often jump between French cuisine and Italian food, inventing unusual yet sophisticated mixes,” says footwear designer and enthusiastic cook Guillaume Hinfray. “Just like fashion, cooking needs creativity and craftsmanship, handwork, careful thinking and a sense of rhyme, rigor and, very often, a good instinct of free improvisation.”