Michelle Smith

Fashion Designer
New York City
Where she fuels up every a.m.: Via Quadronno for coffee

Milly dress and custom Manolos

Fashion icons: Audrey Hepburn, Sophia Loren, Jackie O, Coco Chanel

Inspiration behind her collections: “I design for real women who want to dress in a way that is smart, sexy and glamorous. Right now I am reading about Peggy Guggenheim and there were touches of that on the runway for my Spring 2011 collection.”

When she knew she wanted to be a designer: “When I was eleven years old, I began sketching ballerinas and princesses wearing ball gowns on my kitchen floor. In reality, I’d pinpoint my time interning at Christian Dior Haute Couture in Paris as the moment I knew that ‘I’d be a designer.’  Several pieces that I designed made it onto the runway, and I knew I could do this on my own one day. “

Designers she admires most: “Alber Elbaz for Lanvin is my absolute favorite designer.  He is such a visionary.  I also love Karl Lagerfeld and Miuccia Prada.”

Favorite item from her collection: “I love the Vivi Combo Dress from my fall collection—it’s perfect for a night out or even to ring in the New Year!”

Wardrobe essentials: “The vintage pieces that I’ve collected over the years, including my Hermes Kelly bag and Christian Dior Couture LBD; I also have a favorite pair of jeans from the Gap that are 10 years old and perfectly worn-in.”

What every woman needs:
1.   Self-confidence.
2.   Well-tailored pieces. When in doubt buy a size up and take it to the tailor. Fit is essential. Do not wear clothing that is too tight!
3.   Accessories. A statement necklace or great cuff instantly adds polish to any ensemble.

Beauty buys: Laura Mercier’s tinted moisturizer, Clinique mascara, brown eyeliner  and 3-Step Kit

On-the-go skincare:
“I travel often and flying dries out my skin. I love Weleda Skin Food moisturizer.”

Her cut and color: The John Barrett salon on Fifth Avenue
Always in her bag:
C.O. Bigelow Mint Lip Gloss in Bare Mint, which I’m addicted to. The color is really not visible; it just makes your lips looks healthy and flushed.  Plus I love the tingle!  Also, I always have my iPhone loaded up with my favorite songs.”
Music she groove to:
“I’m into classic rock of the 60s and 70s– as well more current music from Jay-Z and Mary J. Blige.”

Must-have accessory for fall:  Bold colored tights. “I designed a line for HUE this season that adds just the right pop of color.”

Shoes she adores: Manolo Blahnik heels and Roger Vivier flats
“A night out on the town with my husband Andy.”

Cheap thrill: “Taking long morning walks through Central Park with my little ones—it is the best start to my day.”

Favorite movie star: 
Gwyneth Paltrow

Celebs she styles: Kerry Washington, Taylor Swift, Carrie Underwood, Beyonce and Alison Brie of “Mad Men” (her favorite TV show)

Beloved blogs: The Daily Front Row Chic Report and StyleFile on Style.com

Top online shop: Net-a-porter. “It is so well-edited...perfect for busy, fashionable women on the go.”
Best shopping abroad: “For great vintage pieces, I love Didier Ludot in Paris.  For avant-garde fashion, I love 10 Corso Como in Milan, and for “it-girl” accessories and clothing, I love Matches in London.”

Fave hotel: “I often travel to Como to work with my Italian fabric suppliers and pour through their archives.  When there, I love to stay at the Villa d’Este hotel, which is right on the lake.  The view and décor makes me feel like a renaissance princess!”

Green efforts: “I always recycle and stay away from using unnecessary resources.”

Charities she supports: March of Dimes, Central Park Conservancy, Publicolor, Madison Square Boys & Girls Club