Handbag Designer Nina Griscom Reveals Her Summer Hamptons Routine

Nina Griscom
Nina Griscom

“By August, I’m just a train wreck,” says Nina Griscom of the month she decamps to her Southampton home from the sweltering concrete streets of the Upper East Side. “Handbag designer” is the most recent addition to her resume, so it’s no wonder she pines for the Hamptons life. This life includes—but is not limited to—sitting on the beach for a forced quiet time each day. Each summer, she insists on “concentrated family time” with her parents, who live next door, and her daughter, Lily, and husband, Leo.

Nina is a delightfully irreverent woman of the world—not to mention funny and well versed in everything from interior design and fashion, to entertaining and cooking. Her career spans print and television: she has contributed to many national A-list publications, and co-hosted an HBO entertainment show with Matt Lauer.  She was a fresh-faced Ford model, as well as a boutique owner in the Hamptons, selling luxury and custom products. Her latest baby is  “Nina Griscom for Gigi New York” (ninagriscom.com), where she designs a luxury handbag collection produced on nearby Melville Long Island. Haute Living talked to this modern renaissance lady about a quintessential summer day.

photo by Steven Schopp
photo by Steven Schopp

8 A.M. The first thing I do when I wake up is walk to the Golden Pear Café with my husband for an iced coffee. We bring our dogs, Pancho, a German shorthaired pointer, and Violet, a Scottish terrier, and sit outside to dish about how congested the town has become!

"Frances" canvas bucket bag
“Frances” canvas bucket bag

10 A.M. I usually walk home and then go to the Meadow Club for an hour-long workout. After the gym I drop by Gigi New York’s shop, (28A Jobs Lane, Southampton), to check how my handbags are selling. I greet customers and help them make their selections. Then I sit on a bench outside of the shop and brazenly lure people into the shop. It works for me!

12 P.M. I go home to have a fresh salad for lunch with my parents who live next door, or I go with my daughter and husband for a swim at The Southampton Bathing Association.

2 P.M. I sometimes go to The Meadow Club to play a game of tennis doubles with friends or hit with a pro for an hour. Every afternoon I think it’s important to have some quiet downtime at the beach by myself. I sit really quietly and look at the rolling waves, sometimes reading a book. Then I walk back to Gigi New York and see what’s going on.

5 P.M. After taking a shower, I always check-in with my Lily again to see what she’s up to. Most nights Leo and I stay in for dinner. I love to cook farm-to-table meals. It’s so easy here! We are so lucky to have wonderful farm stands everywhere. I don’t usually start with a recipe, but instead look to see what’s at the market before deciding on a dish. For instance, I might make fiddlehead ferns with morels and fresh peas, paired with grilled fish. In August it’s, corn, corn, corn! So I prepare corn and fresh tomatoes. I love doing a tuna rolled in black peppercorn and flash flash searing it—serving it very rare. I also am quite good at making cheese soufflés for lunch.


Mini "Lilly" bag
Mini “Lilly” bag

After 8 P.M. I try to stay off the highway in the evenings like everyone else. You won’t see me in East Hampton unless there is a screening of a wildlife conservation film for Empowers Africa, (www.empowersafrica.org) of which I am a board member. It’s a very important cause to me.


Nina in Ethiopia
Nina in Ethiopia