Designing and Dreaming

We were honored to get a sneak peek inside the fresh, modern, and classic world of designer Robin Zingone, and couldn’t resist sharing what we learned with all of you! Enjoy!

You’ve had quite the journey, and your personal story is quite inspiring. What has kept you continually inspired and always positive throughout all of life’s ordeals?

Every life has chapters. One night I went to sleep normal and woke up abnormal. My brain started to bleed from a lesion unbeknownst to me. I lost my sense of balance, my eyes crossed, I lost hearing in my left side, I got lockjaw and the left side of my face was numb. Basically, happy hour without the happy.

The neurosurgeon told me I was at risk of blindness, paralysis, coma and death, but the little voice in my head said “oh, no no no no no!” From the time I came out of surgery to today, I told myself I could beat the odds. Luckily with therapy, my first fix was getting the cross eyes to go back in place since I was not digging that look. And I’ve been working with a personal trainer to get my balance back. My hearing returned and I can get a fork in my mouth now. And the silver lining…I was able to work 2 months after surgery. Sitting in front of my computer designing and dreaming, leaving the world of ugly; hospitals, medicine and sadness and entering my world of beauty, art and happy. If I had had any other career I would probably still be laying in bed. My work brought me back to life and now I’m ready for the next chapter.

In addition to the brand Robin Zingone, you have three character brands: Cocomimilulu®, loveMe™ robinzingone®, and Girlygirl™ robin zingone®. What was the inspiration behind each one, and how do they define Robin Zingone as a whole?

Clients kept asking for more and more drawings of women. Women shopping. Women bathing. Women dining. Women dancing. With all the women drawings, I thought it could make a great licensed brand. I dressed them all in black and white patterned clothes and kept the color palette simple, but something was missing. It still did not feel cohesive. My designer Lydia suggested I create one face for all the girls. So back to the drawing table to find THE face. What do you think of this Lydia? No. What do you think of this Lydia? No. What do you think of this Lydia? Yes…thats it! And so Girlygirl™ robin zingone® was

My beige cat Mayer has a funny flat head and in profile he almost looks like a straight line with a tiny bump for a nose. I started drawing cats to mimic him and designed them to be kawaii cute with a pastel palette. From my goofy cat to the drawing board was the inspiration for the loveMe™ robin zingone® collection.

Cocomimilulu® was developed on a whim. An illustration assignment to draw a girl riding a bike, a girl eating ice cream and a girl swimming made me start to think while I was doodling. What if I draw the girls to be hip enough for kids, but sweet enough for mom’s! Why don’t I make being smart cool! What if I fashion Coco after Claudia’s daughter who sports the chic bob! And design a cute curly haired girl like her sister Carly! I’ll have Nancy’s red-headed twins as the fabulous friends! And they’ll all have different careers! Cool careers! Chanteuse. ballerina, filmmaker, perfumier, swimmer, environmentalist, veterinarian, fashion designer, foreign correspondent! Scary but true…this is how my mind works.

What is the most unusual place you’ve found inspiration for one of your designs?

The colors of rocks on the beach, the pattern of leaves on a boxwood, the twist of a croissant, the architecture of a high heeled shoe, the hues in a bowl of jellybeans, the shadows on snow, the texture of cat fur, the sparkle of a diamond…

If you had to choose, what is your favorite design that you’ve created?

That question is like asking who your favorite child is…cannot go there.

What does a typical day in the office look like for you?

Being a morning person, after the java kicks in, I start replying to emails around 7am. My studio is in my home so next, feed the dogs, sit back at the computer and design, let the dogs out, sit back at the computer and dream, let the dogs in, sit back at the computer and draw, let the dogs out, go up to the second floor messy studio and paint or design jewelry or sew or make collages or…let the dogs in again.

You’ve done ad campaigns for American Express, Absolut Vodka, worked on Mattel Barbie styleguides, done illustrations in Vanity Fair and Seventeen Magazine..the list goes on. What has been your most exciting/memorable project to date?

This will probably sound predictable but the most exciting project for me is always the one I am working on at the moment. That said, I have had many memorable projects throughout my career.

My husband Peter and I visited the QVC headquarters in Pennsylvania, to check out a mural I had designed for them. When we arrived we discovered the only way to see it was to go on the guided tour. Finally reaching the mural the tour guide turned to the entire crowd and announced that I was the artist. Everyone turned, stared and started clapping. Red face. Oh yea.

During an Absolut vodka photo shoot, my brother co-ordinated with the photographer to have a male stripper dressed as a cop arrive for my birthday. Luckily for me, the clients enjoyed it even more than me! And the shoot went on without a hitch… just everything smelled of musk oil the rest of the day.

Sweet & Sassy is a chain of salons for girls. They hired me to create a fun image for their logo and signage thruout the store. It was a great job that I did years ago. So when I was watching The Real Housewives of New Jersey I couldn’t believe it when Gia climbed into the limousine sporting my logo! Wow! Then the following week, The Real Housewives of

Beverly Hills featured a birthday party with Barbie necklaces as the party favors. Guess who drew the Barbie silhouette! Lucky for me I like junk tv, or I never would have seen my fifteen minutes of fame!

What are your greatest challenges in terms of your job?

The challenge of my job is to answer the questions what, when, why, how and where. Every assignment needs a foundation to build from, and once the framework is done, the rest is a fun ride.

Who are some of your favorite designers and artists?

Rex Ray, Stuart Davis, David Hockney, Jim Flora, Jimi Hendricks, Helmut Newton, Giorgio Armani, Matisse, Richard Avedon, Egon Schiele, Andy Warhol, Jil Sander, Raymond Loewy, Francesco Clemente, Bjork, John D. MacDonald, Richard Neutra, Paul Rand, Vladimir Nabakov, Stan Getz, Mies van de Rohe, Joan Miro, Paul Cezanne, Ludwig Bemelmanns, Billie Holiday. Issey Miyake, Eva Zeisel, Mark Rothko, Stanley Kubrick, Alexander Calder…

We ask this to all of our designers, so it’s only right to ask you as well… It’s the year 2020, where are you and what are you doing?

In Recoleta doing the tango in the street, on a mountain top in Lugano sipping merlot from a clay cup, on a subway in New York swinging from the strap, swimming in the turquoise waters of Bora Bora, painting in my studio while listening to Miles Davis, eating a cheese crepe on Bou’ Miche, shoe shopping in Milan, and on my bed surrounded by my cats and dogs.

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Categories: Q&A with Designers


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