Building a couture wardrobe the best way a fashionista can: “Piece by Piece” — mixing and matching tops and bottoms by one of the most inspiring young fashion designers in the Magic City.
Tucked away inside Aventura’s industrial warehouse district, designer Michelle Meler is building her fashion empire with quiet resilience. When I ask what sets her apart from other designers in Miami, she doesn’t hesitate: “You have to have a great concept.”
And she does.
With seven tops and five bottoms, she guarantees you can build up to 70-plus looks with her line. She got the idea after exhausting her entire wardrobe getting ready for a night out on the town. “I tried on everything I owned and that was it. I had nothing to wear.”
Her wheels started turning as she wondered why cocktail attire was such a one-time event. “Who designed it that way?”, she asked me curiously. Meler, who is in her 20’s, fully understands society’s insatiable need for the perfect selfie or the everyday social media pic: “showing casing” or, as Fergie would call it, “The Fabulous Life.” I even do it with my television #OOTD.
Armed with a need for versatility, the one-time architecture student, who interned for a New York City fashion designer, decided to venture into haute couture clothing. Meler sketches beautifully, understands material, sews and chases originality; all characteristics of a budding artist. I like her style a lot. It oozes femininity, but not in an overly frilly kind of way. I see myself wearing her clothing, investing in them “Piece by Piece.”
“My designs are about movement, but also about being still,” she explains. I have an image of water as she pensively describes her designs. The ocean is textured with many different sides to it: interesting, peaceful, moody and never underestimated; an analogy that seems to fit her fashioning.
Clothing in versatile combinations isn’t Meler’s only talent; she also makes custom cocktail dresses and gowns AND they are to-die-for. Check out that purple number I’m wearing. Holy smokes. It screams old Hollywood. I can’t remember the last time I put on a dress of that caliber.
During our interview, Michelle is timid, but passionate. Something in her switches, though, when I ask what makes her designs stand out. “It’s about a moment, even if it’s simple. I always have in mind that moment when a woman first walks into a room: how does she feel, how do I feel looking at her…” she trails off.
Even though there are a lot of years between us, I fully grasp what she’s saying; I’m a woman, after all. I’ve had a lot of those moments: bad, mediocre, good and GREAT. I don’t want to sound trite, but the GREAT ones feel a helluva a lot better then the other adjectives on the list. That’s when I realize “Piece by Piece” isn’t just about what I’m wearing, it’s about what I’m feeling, too.
Don’t miss Deco Drive tonight on Channel 7 at 7:30 p.m. and 11:30 p.m., as Michelle takes us inside her creative space and gives us an up-close look at her decadent designs.
In this day and age, it’s not just about that one “wow” look, it’s about working your wardrobe in more ways than one and that’s why “Piece by Piece” is one of my favorite things.
Monday-Friday: 9 a.m. – 5 p.m.
or visit the showroom
1644 N.E. 205th Terrace
(use google maps for the best directions)
“Design is a constant challenge to balance comfort with luxe, the practical with the desirable.” — Donna Karan
For more fashion photos check-out www.ShireenSandoval.com.
James Woodley Photography
Styling: Michelle Meler
wardrobe provided by Michelle Meler Studio
Hair & Make-up: Odett Hernandez
Digital Editor: Jessie Neft-Swinger
Editor: Matthew “Timid, but Passionate” Auerbach
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