Backstage at Milly by Michelle Smith on the morning of Wednesday, Feb. 6, the slim brunette designer, wearing one of her own sparkly creations, explained the vibe of her new collection. “It’s unapologetically Uptown Girl. A lot of people are uptown trying to be downtown, with kind of a downtown edge. I’m just being Uptown Girl.”
In the past, Ms. Smith has been influenced by other locales.
“Sometimes I veer off and have French inspirations from my time spent in Paris and that sort of thing, but I live on 75th on the Upper East Side, and I love my life there. And I was thinking, ‘You know what? I’m just going to stick close to home and let my backyard be my inspiration.’ I really feel like getting dressed up this season.’”
The designer suggested hopefully, as fashion types will, that uncertain markets, rather than squelching the demand for adornment or sending us in a more subtle sartorial direction, have only enhanced our appetite for luxury.
“Because the economy’s only so-so, I think it’s really important to offer beautiful pieces,” she said. “If you’re going to spend money on clothes, I think it’d better be very special. So I’m doing very pretty, very opulent clothing in very luxurious fabrics.”
And no heroin-chic models, please: “I like the fresh, pretty face,” Ms. Smith declared. “With the uptown inspiration I don’t want it to be fuddy-duddy or too classic. And most importantly, girls who can walk. You’d be surprised how many models can’t walk.”