10 minutes With: Michelle Smith of Milly
September 26, 2016
The Milly collection epitomizes bold, contemporary fashion with a feminine edge. For Spring 2017, designer Michelle Smith went back to basics. Titled “Love Knot,” the collection was born out the designer’s craving for pure and natural materials that make her feel comfortable and secure. She set out to explore how these trustworthy fabrics could make her feel vibrant and sexy.
We had the opportunity to catch up with the designer before her Spring 2017 runway show during New York Fashion Week.
Neiman Marcus: What can you tell us about the Milly Spring 2017 collection?
Michelle Smith: I called my collection “Love Knot.” I was thinking about very simple, natural fibers such as cotton and silk, which make me feel comfortable and safe. I’m really not a wallflower — I’m a girl who likes to go out, have fun, and be sexy! So I found myself exploring what I could do with these beautiful natural fibers to transform them into showstoppers.
NM: One of the things we love about your collections is that you take American Sportswear and give it a unique twist by using Parisian techniques and custom prints and fabrics. Do these elements also play a role in the Spring 2017 collection?
MS: They do! You’re really going to see a healthy dose of drama — numerous beautiful design techniques, ruffles, and special seaming details. You can also expect lots of ties and lace. These are themes that run throughout every piece. Sometimes it is very subtle and hidden, other times it’s much more obvious. It’s a sexy touch that I think women are going to like.
NM: At NM we celebrate bold women with bold voices. One of my favorite stories about you is when you wrote a letter to the president of Hermès requesting an internship at the Paris headquarters, which was granted and made you the first American Hermès employee sent to work in Paris. Throughout your career, what has been your ultimate #MillyMoment?
MS: My ultimate #MillyMoment was the first time I presented my runway show. The moment I stepped out onto the runway for my final bow and saw those lights in my face and hundreds of people clapping for me I realized, “Wow, this has really happened. I’m a designer and this is my moment!” It was so exciting to have everything fall into place — all the training, all the schooling, all the internships had been leading up to this moment — I had launched my very own collection, and it was a dream come true.
NM: So many iconic women have worn your designs, from Beyoncé to Dita Von Teese to Kate Middleton. Who do you see wearing the Milly Spring 2017 collection?
MS: People often think that while designing a collection I have a certain celebrity in mind, but this isn’t the case. I’m really designing with everyday women in mind. I hope that every woman can find something in my collection that makes her feel beautiful and amazing. If I succeed in this, I’ve done my job.
NM: This is obviously a hectic time, how will you unwind after Fashion Week is over?
MS: I’m going to unwind at the beach! The week after, I’m off to Paris to visit the fabric shows for the upcoming Fall 2017 collection. It never really ends, but I love what I do so much!
NM: With the holidays around the corner, how are you going to be celebrating and what is the Milly Holiday look?
MS: I love lace, vibrant jewel tones, and the color red. These elements are all part of the Milly Holiday look.