Lisa Michelle – Designing Clothes Beautifully Both Inside and OutBy admin | May 28th, 2011 | Category: 2008, Fall 2008, Fashion, Interviews | No Comments »
Lisa Michelle – Designing Clothes Beautifully Both Inside and Out
The Lisa Michelle Collection may have only debuted last spring, but designer Lisa Felsenthal herself is not just stepping into the fashion scene. Having designed for names like Rozae Nichols and Monique Lhuillier, this designer has a resume to envy. Establishing her own line just moves her one step closer to achieving her dreams of having her designs worn by models strutting down the runway during Fashion Week.
It’s a dream to be able to have the opportunity share my work with so many people.
Lisa goes on to explain that passing random women on the street wearing the Lisa Michelle label will be a huge milestone for her as a designer.
The Los Angeles native has always had an interest in art and fashion. However, her journey to becoming a designer was slightly unorthodox.
While attending Reed College in Portland, Oregon, Lisa studied Fine Arts and Art History. The school’s liberal arts program allowed her to explore and fine-tune her skills in multiple disciplines: photography, painting, and drawing. For her final project, she used a culmination of all media to design a series of sculptures based on connections between fashion and architecture. It was her sculptural clothing “finale” at Reed that inspired a new beginning.
My journey in art transformed into one in fashion. I realized I wanted to make things both artistic and functional. I moved back to LA and attended Otis College of Art and Design. It was a three-year program with intense pattern making, sewing classes, and internships.
During her studies, Lisa had the opportunity to work beside both designers Michelle Mason and Jeremy Scott. It was under the wing of Jeremy Scott she began to grasp how to take sketches and make them come to life.
I wasn’t always sure how to do it at first, so I just started trying to put everything together, and throughout the creative process I would transform these sketches into a reality. The internship was a very positive experience.
As a student, she did not go unrecognized for her talent. She received numerous awards and honors, among them the Rosalind Gilbert award for evening wear, a Fashion Group International Award. Select designs by the budding young designer were even featured in the windows of Neiman Marcus.
The Lisa Michelle Collection offers a style that is feminine and flirty. It provides a mixture of serious architectural jackets and soft drapery in dresses. There is great attention to detail in each garment. As a clothing designer, there is always the challenge of finding ways to distinguish yourself from your peers. Perhaps, the thing that separates the Lisa Michelle Collection from other clothing lines is the use of such unique and exquisite fabrics. Traveling to the top European mills has allowed Lisa to stay on top of the latest trends and give buyers luxurious, quality pieces to add to their wardrobe. Lisa strives to come up with interesting ways of finishing garments, whether it is through contrast binding or specialty trims.
I pride myself on making everything as beautiful inside as outside.
Lisa describes the 2008 Fall Collection as having a “playful and optimistic attitude.” The line is made up of two distinct groups. A black and white group inspired by bold graphics combines different fabrics and textures. She found a fuzzy hounds-tooth to be very inspiring and used it to create a jacket that’s sure to stand out in a crowd. In contrast to the harshness of the black and white group, Lisa chose more natural earth tones, skirts and jackets made of velvets and a floral jacquard.
One of my highest points as a clothing designer was putting together the Fall 2008 Look Book. At the photo shoot, when the models are dressed in the clothing, it allows me to see it all come together. The collection comes to life, and all the hard work is rewarded.
Lisa does admit that so far each season’s Look Book brings a higher ??? with the new fabrics, the expansion of the collection, and new photographs.
So what has been Lisa’s lowest low since stepping into the world of fashion?
It’s hard to pinpoint just one particular moment. There are so many ups and downs, but it always goes back up.
Each day Lisa is faced with the same challenges and frustrations that many of her peers deal with as clothing designers.
Sometimes I will drape a garment and when it comes back from the sewing machine, it isn’t the way I want it and I have to rework it. Eventually some pieces have to be put aside, but some turn out better.
Lisa freely admits the beginning stages of production and getting her line into stores have been more difficult than she expected, but it is clear that her passion will allow her to prevail. Her advice to up-and-coming designers is to just start making pieces and let it evolve.
My first collection started with a dress. Then I made a jacket, next a shirt. Ilet it evolve and my mentality was that even if the collection did not work out I would have my dream wardrobe!
A sneak peak of her Spring 2009 collection reveals a much softer color palette, made up of creams, lavenders, and mossy greens in combination with bright yellows. Expect to seefloral prints, matte jersey dresses, and a Grecian theme throughout, which inspired interesting drapery in the garments.
Try to create something new every day. It doesn’t have to be perfect, just an expression of yourself is Lisa’s personal motto; and it would appear, thus far, it is leading this ambitious young designer down the right path.
To Learn more about this designer, visit her website at www.lisamichellecollections.com.
Interviewed by Shannon Haggard