A California native, Michelle grew up splitting time between San Diego and Hawaii. Her professional career started in 2007 while living in Los Angeles, where she designed her first couture women’s wear line for her eponymous collection, where it was initially sold exclusively at the boutique, Curve. Since then, her brand has expanded and can now be found in select boutiques throughout the US and Europe. Her designs have been worn by celebrities such as Katy Perry, Paris Hilton, director Floria Sigismondi, and Ozzy Osbourne, to name a few. Her aesthetic combines an earthy, windswept Baja dreaminess with a gothic urban feel and some Hollywood romance, for good measure.
FW: How did you fall into designing?
I’m self-taught. I’ve always been doing it; it just took me a little longer to realize that I was actually very good at it, and that it was my true passion. I guess it really all started when I began only wearing clothing that was made by me.
FW: What was the first thing you ever made?
Well, besides Barbie clothes, I made a kimono when I was 15 on my first Singer sewing machine that my dad bought me.
FW: You recently worked on Katy Perry’s “ET” music video, creating gorgeous headpieces with Pamela Neal. What was that like?
I feel so lucky to have been able to work on the video. I was surrounded by the most brilliant creative minds. As artists, we don’t ways get the opportunity to shine. I’m honored that Floria (Sigismondi) even thought of me. I had made a headpiece for an art installation that Floria did, and she asked me to come work with her long-time, absolutely genius hair stylist Pamela Neal. I’ll be honest: the headpieces were a lot of work, especially for the short amount of time amount of time we had to make them, but very rewarding.
Because Katy was an alien in the video, we wanted to create a headgear look for Katy that appeared to be extensions of her body, like you’re not sure if it’s her hair because she’s an alien, or it’s part of her alien space clothes. Then, as she was falling through the sky, she gradually becomes more and more human, and she transitions to having more human-like hair.
FW: You’re obviously a multifaceted designer. Do you prefer creating any one thing more then the next?
For me, it’s not just about any one facet of fashion. I love all of it, ever detail! All the details need each other to create a look, an aesthetic. I prefer creating whatever is inspiring me most at the moment. And I do really love costuming. It’s a creative exercise for me. We can’t wear what, say, Katy wore in her video in real life, but it inspires me to translate it into something that you can wear every day.
FW: How do you think living in Los Angeles influences your designs?
Well, the earthiness plays a big part. When people think of California, they think granola, yoga, sun and surf. I grew up here, so I see all those elements as organic, raw, and natural. I get a lot of influences from the Mojave Desert and Mexico.
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