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I was thrilled to run into Michelle Smith, the designer of Milly. Michelle said she had an amazing show, but she was glad to take a breath and enjoy Fashion Week from another perspective. Of course, Michelle’s personal style is super-chic. I am totally enamored by her iridescent skirt and voluminous fur coat, and her leopard accessories add a playful pop of print. Thanks for sharing a moment with us, Michelle!
The darkest stages of nightfall and the beauty of classical dance provide the inspiration for Milly‘s ‘Dusk’ entitled fall collection.
Charcoal colors gave way to neutrals for daytime subtlety. From camel paper-bag wool trousers to oversized camel Lurex tweed jackets, designer Michelle Smith constructed a fall statement that emphasized texture and fluidity with precision layering.
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Parisian ladies do love to add a touch of the unexpected to their feminine looks! This gorgeous gal’s look is so chic, but her prints and draped bomber jacket add just the right amount of individuality to her outfit. I love the cut and drape of her dress, and that floral Prada bag is highly covetable.
Enter into the world of Milly and watch Michelle Smith, the creative force behind the brand, translate the idea of transparency into a three-dimensional sculpted look for spring/summer 2014.
Michelle invited The Thread to sit in on the model castings and final fittings for her show.
To make the Milly casting cut, you need to exude femininity with a modern edge.
French model Loulou Robert stops by the showroom to finalize the fit on the two looks she’ll wear for the show.
The Parisian glam-girl is also the face of Milly’s fall ’13 ad campaign.
“I’ve got a base palette of black and white. You’ll see a lot of clean, stark silhouettes, but color really comes into play via my prints,” says Michelle, who designs all her own patterns.
Vintage accessories give the ultra-modern collection an added layer of depth. We can’t wait to see how she puts it all together.
It’s almost showtime! We catch up with the designer at The Stage at Lincoln Center, where we find models Anya Kazakova, Emeline Ghesquiere, Vasilisa Pavlova and Steffi Soede donning heels by Manolo Blahnik for Milly spring ’14.
“For me, the collection always begins with the fabric. I love designing fabric and customizing it. Most, if not all, of my fabrics are European,” says Michelle. “I love taking a fabric swatch that may appear sporty or athletic and then transform it into something very feminine and beautiful.”
“I keep eight factories in New York pretty busy year-round, and they are all within a five-mile radius from my studio,” she says of her New York-made brand. “I make 12 ready-to-wear collections a year, so one each month, as well as 5 cabana swimwear collections, Milly Minis childrenswear and handbags.”
Milly’s black and white palette is punctuated with splashes of tropical and floral prints. “I was in Hawaii back in April on the Big Island and the prints were really conceived from that trip. Prior to Hawaii I was in Japan. so you’ll see touches of Japanese floral layered in,” she adds.
There’s nothing like bringing your kids to work when you’re a fashion designer. Michelle’s two children, William and Sophia, join her on the runway to watch the preshow run-through. And it appears William, who is all smiles, sees something he likes.
Models practice moving to the music before it’s time to change into the first looks.
“This collection really emphasizes the classic silhouette: bust, waist and hips. I wanted to draw attention to the hourglass proportions of a woman’s body,” says Michelle. “There’s also a lot of play on structure and shape.”
The key luxurious fabric used in the collection feels almost like a carbon fiber. What makes this material so advanced is that the transparencies give an X-ray effect.
This sportswear-inspired look with its architectural illusions feels so fresh and chic for spring.
Michelle’s attention to detail and continuous fabric innovation truly make her a master among contemporary designers. Bravo!
Photos by Fernando Colon
Texture has been a major theme this season, and Reyes’s patent paneling is futuristic and cool. Her ladylike silhouette gets a modern edge, thanks to her perforated leather coat and bold accessories. Love this daring, space-age lady look!
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Presenting a collection titled ‘illumination,’ designer Michelle Smith served up 43 looks for her Milly line that drew inspiration from the “beauty of urban landscapes at night.” From shimmering fabrics to hologram effects to glowing photo-realistic prints, fall/winter ’13 beamed with stylish statements that came in the form of stud-embossed leather pencil skirts, menswear-inspired overcoats and bonded wool-and-leather jackets. Join us backstage at Lincoln Center and see how Michelle’s radiant vision takes shape.
Backstage beauties L to R: models Zen Sevastyanova, Clarice Silva and Manon Leloup
Photos by Fernando Colón
Tienlyn is a woman of many talents, among them blogging and styling. She says Fashion Week is one of the most inspiring weeks of the year, even if it’s exhausting.
Tienlyn has a classic beauty and her style is chic and effortless. I am seriously coveting her studded leather jacket!
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Aimee Song seems to be perpetually surrounded by cameras during FW (including mine). It’s tough to get a lens in! It’s easy to see why everyone wants a shot of Aimee, as her style is always on point. She has a daring eye, and I like a girl who isn’t afraid to go bright and bold. In a sea of winter neutrals, the Song of Style fashion maven is a breath of fresh air.
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Since 2001, designer Michelle Smith has been revitalizing the appeal of American made fashions with Milly, a collection manufactured in New York City. As a label, Milly is celebrated for its timeless silhouettes, playful colors and exquisite imported fabrics. With the fall/winter 2012 runway season still fresh in our mind, The Thread asks Smith to translate three looks from her line that capture the epitome of the well-dressed American woman.
It is Smith’s sharp attention to detail which keeps her homegrown garments on the pulse of fashion. “My Fall 2012 collection is technical in nature, modernizing classic shapes with innovative fabrics and traditional couture techniques. Based in black and white, brilliant pops of color ignite excitement in zigzags and linear dimension,” says Smith, whose fan base includes the likes of Gwyneth Paltrow, Beyoncé and Victoria Beckham. The pops of color that grabbed our attention were in black and cobalt blue that captured the boldness and contemporary look of fall.
Hue Got The Look – Fall for Noir & Cobalt Blue Colors
The Buy: Milly ‘Clarise’ Sheath Dress — Runway Look 2
Trend: Sharp Cuts
Translation: “I love dresses that are cut close to the body and nip in the waist to create an hourglass figure, which is a timeless expression of chic sophistication and glamour,” says Smith.
The Buy: Milly ‘Audrey’ Double Breasted Coat — Runway Look 5
Trend: Bold & Boxy
Translation: “Whether you are walking down the street, entering an appointment or arriving for a cocktail party, your coat is your first-impression style statement,” adds Smith.
The Buy: Milly ‘Raquelle’ Flare Skirt
Trend: Architectural Contours — Runway Look 8
Translation: “Super-structured silhouettes accentuate the waist in dramatic proportions, which in turn creates a flattering feminine figure,” she says.
Smith’s daughter Sophia, 5, has basically grown up at New York Fashion Week, and is a true American stylista in the making. “Sophia has her own daring fashion sense, there is no holding her back! I don’t give her any fashion do’s and don’ts- I want her to express herself freely,” shares Smith on dressing her mini-me. “Thank goodness she wears a uniform to school.”
We asked Smith, a known fan of the 60s and 70s fashion eras, to tell us which model from that time period epitomizes the spirit of Milly. She says, “Marisa Berenson, Veruschka, Charlotte Rampling are all faves – impossible to choose! The Milly woman is smart, sexy, and glamorous—uptown sophistication meets downtown cool.”
What makes Milly an in-demand brand is Smith’s ability to fuse American craftsmanship with European fabrications. “Milly is made with love and care in New York City, of the finest European fabrics, which I design myself,” says Smith, who also shared that she dreams of opening another flagship store in Paris, one of her favorite cities.
Interview by Qianna Smith | Photo credit: Courtesy of Milly