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Interview

SAMANTHA YANKS

03.07.12

Samantha Yanks serves as the editor in chief of Gotham Magazine and Hamptons Magazine, two of Niche Media’s flagship titles. Before taking her current role, she served as the Fashion Director and an Accessories Editor at Vogue. Last summer, she launched Samantha Yanks for Jennifer Miller, an Indian-inspired fine jewelry line.

Interview

What’s fashion week in New York like for you? Do you need to decompress after?

Fashion Week is invigorating. I always feel this great sense of yearning for the future when I am at the shows. It’s a very creative moment in New York City.  Even though you are dashing about from one show to the next there has been such a sense of elegant calm since it moved to Lincoln Center. That said, it’s a busy time. I always find that a trip out to Bridgehampton after helps.  This February was so warm I did yoga on the beach.  I also planned a trip for a quick weekend at the new St. Regis Bal Harbor.

As editor in chief of Gotham magazine, is there a particular area you favor among the different areas you cover: fashion, dining, entertainment, nightlife, travel?

I wouldn’t say favor, but my background is in fashion. I will always have a deep attachment to that aspect of the magazines.  I was born and raised in Manhattan so it’s phenomenal to be the editor in chief of a magazine that celebrates the very best of it. The culinary scene in New York is quite interesting at the moment; what’s happening represents again the true melting pot that this city is. Celebrating your ethnicity and differentiating yourself again is something to be heralded. What makes New York an incomparable city is the sheer volume of extraordinary museums, theatres, and forums to celebrate the arts.

You recently collaborated on a jewelry collection with Jennifer Miller. How did that come about?

Jennifer and her husband Mark are dear friends of my husband and mine.  I love her jewelry stores as a customer so designing for them came naturally. Years ago I was a fine jewelry editor at Vogue so I have a deep love of the industry. The pieces in my first collection allowed me to tap into two areas of jewelry I adore, Art Deco and Indian.

Will there be more seasons ahead?

Most certainly!  I have been furiously sketching for our next collection which will be in their boutiques and online this summer.  I can tell you that it has an inherent superlux feel to it, but this time around I want to bring a refined eye at a lower price point.

Do you have any other projects you’ve wanted to tackle when you are not busy editing the pages of Gotham?

I am working on a children’s book, as it is impossible not to be inspired by my daughter. The world through her eyes is a very fun place. If I can capture even an ounce of that I’ll be lucky. I also design children’s toys that come from an interior design perspective. It’s unavoidable that your children’s items spill into spaces that were once kid-free zones, but it doesn’t mean it needs to look that way.

I also have some really fun television segments coming up on Good Day New York, The Today Show and New York Live, and I’ve recently been doing regular segments with Weekend Today in New York on NBC. There’s something else I am working on that I can’t reveal just yet…

Which New York personalities are your readers interested in most?

Our content like our readers capture the breadth of New York.  Our reader wants to know what is happening amongst the social set, on the restaurant scene, at our galleries, museums and theatres.  They are well read and it’s important to deliver those that are at the top of their game in a variety of industries.

What is your favorite neighborhood in the city? What do you love most about it?

I have to say I adore where I live. The West Village is where my family is the happiest, at least at this moment in time. We live right above Washington Square Park. It’s just phenomenal what the city has done with the renovation of that public space. I grew up near Central Park and while it’s not as grand as that, it certainly is the best downtown park.

How many events do you go to a month?

Don’t make me count! A considerable amount is a fair answer. I very much enjoy going out. I haven’t a clue how you are expected to know what’s going on if you’re not out experiencing it.

How do you manage your wardrobe?

That’s a good question. I have two distinct wardrobes. What’s in my closet in the Hamptons does not pay a visit to the city and vice versa.  It’s fair to say my beach look is much more colorful and fun. My city wardrobe is much more formal and a darker color palettte. When I’m shopping I immediately see which closet something will belong in. Also I have my go-to designers. For the Hamptons it’s Duro Olowu, Brunello Cucinelli, Ralph Lauren, Lanvin and loads of Shoshanna and J. Crew. For the city it’s Marni, Prada, Jil Sander, Balenciaga, Martin Margiela, Vera Wang and Reed Krakoff.

Do you have a go to designer when you need something in a pinch, who is it?

Chanel. For me, always Chanel. When does Chanel not work?  From black tie to bonfire, it’s all about Chanel.

When does your Hamptons season begin?

It has begun.  There is very little time between where one ends and the next begins. We publish weekly during the summer and it takes a considerable amount of time to build that content.  We are in for a really spectacular season ahead.  March is when I see it all begin to come together.

Do you see a difference between being in the city and out East?

I do. I think there is a certain amount of change I see in myself when I’m out East. Being by the beach is calming. I’m very blessed to have both.

Do you ever get time to just relax and enjoy it?

I think it is essential to recharge, to invigorate yourself emotionally and creatively. I absolutely make time for my family. You have to.

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