Designer Cynthia Rowley on a trip to India.
Designer Cynthia Rowley on a trip to India. Courtesy of Cynthia Rowley

Fashion designer Cynthia Rowley is a bit of a legend on the New York and global style scene— she's been the go-to designer for fun, colorful, floral flirty dresses, sporty-inspired swimwear and lifestyle collections for three decades. Known for her whimsical signature Rowley has long been the designer that inspires "radical optimism". This makes perfect sense as she is an eternal optimist and says her job and getting to create every day are the biggest joys of her life. Well, that, along with daughters Kit 24, and Gigi, 19, traveling the world in search of adventure and riding the waves in Montauk—she's been surfing for over twenty years and her cult-wetsuits are loved by celebrities including Kim Kardashian, Gwyneth Paltrow and Carolyn Murphy.

Fashion Times recently paid the funny, and seriously cool designer a visit at her NYC studio in TriBeCa and asked her to spill her secrets in our new video series "If My Handbag Could Talk". Watch it here to see what her bag says about her, and be surprised as Rowley gives it her own unique spin.

Cynthia Rowley On What Brings Her Joy

Her Fashion Mantra

"More is more and less is a bore. I create clothes designed to bring joy to your life. We've always been known for our colors and prints, color therapy is real, it elevates your mood. I'm actually a bit of a minimalist in my own style, maybe because I'm surrounded by all this all day."

Her Happy Place

"Even after twenty-something years of living in New York, I'm still in awe of everything in this crazy city, but my beach house in Montauk is my happy place. My idea of heaven is floating on a surfboard in the ocean anywhere between Amagansett and the Montauk Lighthouse."

Her Beauty Secrets

"Sunglasses, sunscreen, face oil, and a big smile — happiness comes from being outside and active and going on far-flung trips. I just went to India and it was incredible, all that color. When I drag myself from the beach, I shower and rehydrate my skin with an oil, which is like a cold beer for your face."

Her Best Advice

"The best advice I was ever given was never pack more than you can carry yourself. And say 'yes.' Your imagination is the only thing that can hold you back. To me the secret to a happy, balanced life is when you love what you do, it doesn't feel like work. If I wasn't a designer, I would be bored to tears but I love kids so I wouldn't have minded being a Pre-K teacher".

Her Most Treasured Possessions

"Other than Kit and Gigi, my most prized possession is my son Ziggy, he's an 8-year-old Frenchie. I'm also a bit of a gearhead, I love my vintage cars and tinkering around in an engine."

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