Wednesday, October 24, 2012

London, England - Michelle Smith of Milly at The Arts Club

Michelle Smith holding her favorite piece from the SS13 collection
Monday night one of my fashion dreams came true. I was invited to a very private viewing of the Milly SS13 Collection at the members only The Arts Club and got the opportunity to both meet and interview the designer, Michelle Smith. I have more pieces of Milly clothing in my closet than any other American designer, and I was just ecstatic to meet Michelle. To declare myself a huge fan of Milly would be an understatement!!! 

Glasses of champagne in hand, Michelle and I bonded over our mutual love for Italy and one of my recent posts on Il Pellicano, where she spent a portion of her honeymoon. (I love it when someone I admire has no airs, is classy, down to earth, thankful, and with whom its so easy to chat!).

She personally talked me through each item of the SS13 collection pointing out special details, how she layered textures, the use of digital prints, and the juxtaposition of technical fabrics and couture finishes resulting in a range that is "sports luxe with a twist."

Her signature black and white looks sit alongside bold pieces with color pops that range from neon coral to mint, lapis and punchy citron. You can view the entire collection here.

I then sat down to ask Michelle a few questions:

Where do you find your inspiration each season?

I never know when inspiration will strike; it could be during a vacation, at a movie, in a gallery, I’m just thankful when it does! I start each new season first with a color palette and the fabrics, and from there I allow those to inspire and guide me into a theme. Having the fabrics first, which are sourced all over Europe (from Italy to France and Spain), allows me to then start shaping and working on the individual silhouettes.

What was the inspiration for this Spring/Summer 2013 collection?

This collection was born from the concept of surrealism. The inspiration came from two trips I took this year. The first was to Brussels, where I held a fashion show at the American Embassy. During my trip there I visited a museum, which first got me thinking about surrealism and how it is the expression of a dream.

The second trip was to Barcelona to visit one of the mills I use. The owners took me to their country house on the Costa Brava, which is a beautiful and unspoiled coastal area that I can only imagine is what St. Tropez was like in the 1950s. Their home had original artwork by Dali and I began to imagine what contemporary surrealism would be like today. I started with the dream-like smoke print and then went in a sporty direction adding reflective accents, laser cuts and trompe l’oeil to the collection. 

What is your favorite piece from the SS13 collection?

It would have to be the silver laminated python pencil skirt.

What are the key pieces every woman should have in her closet?

1)  A sexy and well-fitted pencil skirt
2)  A sheath dress, probably in black so it can take you anywhere
3)  A statement coat. When you walk into a room, your coat is the first thing people see and therefore the first statement you make. I always leave a sparkly coat in my office in case I have to go out unexpectedly straight from work. No matter what I have on underneath, it always elevates my whole look.
4) A good tweed jacket. It’s all about classic materials used as a base and then mixed and matched with something more edgy.
5) A great evening gown and a killer cocktail dress.
6) Did I say the classic white shirt? It’s a must!

Do you have any favorite places in London?

Claridge's for afternoon tea with my 5 year old daughter; it’s the absolute perfect mother/daughter bonding experience.

There is such a great energy in London, which can especially be felt throughout the shops and restaurants on Dover Street in Mayfair.

Favorite place in the world to get away?

ITALY! I go once a year and always visit one place that I have been to repeatedly and know well, and one new place. This coming June, Puglia will be my new discovery and Tuscany the old favorite.

The kaleidoscope print dress
Michelle sources some of her tweeds from the same mill Chanel uses 
Pops of bright citron
The surrealist smoke print
Perfect for channeling The Great Gatsby
What We Are Wearing: 
Michelle is in the Leather Trim Sweater and Cleo Petal Skirt.
I am in the Marzia Bow Jacket. All by Milly. 
Goodie bags!
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