Kimberly McDonald loves all natural things – especially when it comes to her designs and her travels. It’s no surprise then, that the fine jewelry designer frequents Maui for both business and for pleasure. Envious of her days at the pool and volcano adventures, we know that when she’s not taking time off, it’s work, work, work. The evidence? We’re not the only ones who dig her designs. Celebrities like Cindy Crawford and Cameron Diaz are among the A-listers who rock Kimberly’s rocks!
VacationStyle: What is the first thing you do once arriving in Maui?
Kimberly McDonald: When in Maui, I stay at the Four Seasons, and there’s this really beautiful part of the hotel that not many people are aware of. There is an underpass that connects the two wings of the hotel, there’s a bench there. I like to sit there quietly and check out what’s going on. It has a beautiful view. It overlooks the pool and it beyond that, the beach. It's an ideal spot to take in the natural beauty of the Pacific, but is still close to the boutique so I can easily pop down and meet with clients at 22 Knots, which is the boutique at the FS that carries my collection.
VS: How much time do you spend in Maui and how long of a stay would you say does Maui justice?
KMD: When I go for work I am typically there 3-4 days but for a vacation on Maui at least a week! I love driving up to Hana where there is a beautiful hotel and spa. The Thai massage and signature facials are my favorite treatments!
VS: What is one thing you experience there that you can't at home?
KMD: My first trip to Maui, we did a bike ride down the side of a volcano. I don’t know if they even still do it! You get up before 5 in the morning. You’re on the top of this volcano as the sun comes up, and you’re riding down this crazy, curvy, road and then you end up on a black sand beach. It's really a cool experience.
At the Four Seasons, they have a great adult pool. If you’re like me and don’t have kids, and want to relax without being splashed, this is your place. The view is amazing and the cocktails aren't bad either.
VS: How have your designs been inspired by Maui, or travel in general?
KMD: Everything I do is 100% with an appreciation of nature and natural materials. One thing I love about the Hawaiian Islands is their deep connection to nature and their respect for wildlife. There’s so much there that inspires me. I love that you're not supposed to take the volcanic rock from the island; it means something to them. Because I’m so connected to stones, there is a great synergy.
VS: Best shopping in Maui?
KMD: I really love the boutique that they have at the Four Seasons. It’s called 22 Knots. They carry Missoni, Stella McCartney, and KMD! Their buy is what sets them apart; I think they pick things that are really unusual that you don’t see everywhere. They have a nice shoe selection – Jimmy Choo and Valentino. But again it's the selection. Everything caters to this cool chic beach-life experience.
VS: What are some of your career highlights, as a designer?
KMD: I have been so blessed as a designer. I have worked with some of the top celebrities as well as some of the most stylish women in the world. Whether a red carpet, movie placement, or a regular client coming in for something bespoke to wear every day, I enjoy the experience of seeing people get excited about natural materials. That's what makes me happy. Of course I have also very much enjoyed working with the First Lady. She has great style and every time I see her wearing KMD I smile. When I was in D.C., last fall I went by the Smithsonian and saw my pieces from the Inaugural Ball on display at the Smithsonian. That's pretty special!
VS: What was it like when your jewelry was worn by the first lady?
KMD: Like I said, It’s amazing. I'm honored every time she wears KMD.
VS: What are some essential carry-on items, and why?
KMD: My favorite carry-on travel items are pretty consistent. I need music. Usually hip-hop/rap, but sometimes opera. I always take David Colbert’s facial oil. I can’t travel without it. And this lip balm/eye cream compact from La Prairie that I always carry. It’s this little silver disk. The top half has eye cream, and the bottom half has the best lip balm ever. I usually travel with travel-sized candles – just stuff that makes me feel like I’m at home because I travel so much. I also take a cashmere throw from my collection to use on the plane.
VS: Magazines, books, or a kindle?
KMD: I take different books with me. I don’t read a lot of magazines because with what I do for a living, I don’t want to see what someone else is doing and have it in my head. I do a lot of Internet surfing on the plane. Googling info about rocks or checking out interesting people and places. And Instagram...I have really gotten into it and love communicating with people from around the world not just about my work but also about animal rights and other things I'm passionate about!
VS: Are you an under-packer or over-packer?
KMD: I used to be an over-packer, but this year, I really made a conscious effort to try to find things that are all going to work together. My mindset used to be that I had to change every single day have a separate outfit and then have 2 or 3 spares just incase I’m not in the mood for one of these. Now, I try to pick things that work together – try to minimize how much I’m carrying. It’s rough when you’re going through the airport and you have 2 or 3 bags!
VS: Detox or Retox?
KMD: Detox. I need it, constantly!
VS: Where are you dying to visit but haven't yet?
KM: I really really want to go to South Africa, to the elephant orphanages. That’s probably at the top of my list.
VS: What are some things you like to do when you’re not working?
KMD: Sleep and hang out with my friends. I never sleep! I’m always traveling. When I can sleep in my own bed – to me – that’s the biggest luxury. I love my bed. I have tons of pillows. I just spread out in the middle and sleep.
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