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Behind the Seams: The Heart of Milly, Made in America

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