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b Michael’s charming s tyles

Renee Minus White | 5/29/2014, 3:49 p.m.
Designs from b Michael AMERICAN RED collection at Macy’s

On my way to the Harlem office this morning, I bumped into famous designer b michael on the street. We both took off our sunglasses, laughed and greeted one another warmly. “I just have a few questions, if I could just have a moment,” I asked. Michael, wearing a beautiful yellow shirt, smiled. “Of course!”

AmNews: What’s the look for fall 2014?

michael: I am offering a very finished way of dressing for both day and evening. It’s about being dressed up but in a very modern way.

What about length? Does it matter?

I never think of length as a trend. I prefer to determine length based on the dress silhouette …Most important is knowing what length works best for the individual.

Should clothes be fitting or loose on the body?

Unless by design of the dress, fitted clothing is always my preference. Proper fit at any size or price point is key.

How about colors? Fabrics?

This fall, I am showing luxurious fabrics that are textured. For day, there’s double-faced wool jersey and wool crepes and boucles. For evening, multi-weaves of silk and wool brocades are favorites. The colors are strong, including orange, clear reds and deep amethyst, and they are most often combined. Silver and gold are added to the evening wear.

Are women, in general, dressing better?

I think the idea of dressing “better” is subjective. However, I do believe there is again a move toward more feminine dressing for women who better understand their individual empowerment.

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Designs from b Michael AMERICAN RED collection at Macy’s

How does it feel to design a less expensive line, like the one now available at Macy’s?

I am very proud of the line I am designing under the RED Collection of our brand. It’s a dress collection with a similar point of view as my Couture collection … simply to offer timeless, elegant dresses. I am also proud that the collection is made 100 percent in America (New York Garment District). With the ready-to-wear, we are reaching a broader audience of consumers who are also a part of the b Michael AMERICA Advanced American Lifestyle.

Are there any tips on dressing for the New York Amsterdam News readers, especially if you must work with what’s in your closet? Accessories?

My tip is always find your own classic look and build upon that. Add your signature touch with accessories.

Michael offered “Advanced American Style” from the very beginning of his career. From the early days of his collections, his impressive designs have always taken my mind back to Paris. He is indeed the Balenciaga and Madame Gres designer of America. His clothes have always been elegant couture classics. Growing up in Durham, Conn., he found early inspirations in his mother, whose family extends back four generations. He was a Wall Street account executive before deciding to pursue his creative side and launching a successful millinery line. He also designed for Oscar de la Renta and Louis Feraud, among others. In his signature styles, b michael incorporates the fantastic with understated cool, sensational color with elegance and emotion with design. He has shown his collections in China and Korea.

Always willing to take on new challenges, he is a guest lecturer at New York’s Fashion Institute of Technology and serves on several charitable advisory boards, including New Yorkers For children and Fashion Targets Breast Cancer. Michael is also actively involved with Autism Speaks, the Dream Yard Project and the Cicely Tyson School of Performing and Fine Arts. Michael’s AMERICA RED ready-to- wear collection is available in select Macy’s stores nationwide, and online at Macy’s.com.