“I’ve heard from celebrities to my peers, everyone is enjoying taking a step back from the hustle and appreciating their personal lives,” said Michelle of current life in L.A. amid the pandemic. She also dresses singer Maren Morris, model Shanina Shaik and TV personality Kristin Cavallari. “We’re taking a new approach to work now.”
The focus is on minimizing needs, she went on: “At the end of the day, for instance the red carpet, you only need one look. But we were in this mind-set of more, more, more, more options, the biggest thing, the loudest thing. It’s a more sustainable work environment now. Things are more realistic and respectful in terms of the asks and demands.”
When it comes to consumers, while shoppers are prioritizing essentials these days, they still want to dress like their favorite celebrities — on a budget, she added. It’s what Michelle aims to offer with her first collection, a collaboration with U.K.-based retailer Missguided, out Aug. 4.
“While I do love exclusive pieces and luxury items, I certainly love mixing high and low, and I love things that are accessible and in reach,” she said, naming Helmut Lang, Jacquemus and Dion Lee as her top three brands.
“I really wanted to create my faves in this,” she continued. “I have been dressing different body types for so long that there are certain [elements] I know seem to work.”
The 43-piece collection ranges in price from $19 to $114, offering items like cropped tops and faux leather joggers. Pulling from her own closet, the line takes influence from recent trends popularized on social media like underwire shirts by Orseund Iris, for example. While Instagram-famous brands provide looks that often start around $200 and go up to $600 or more, Michelle’s underwire piece — which comes in the form of a bodysuit — is priced at $67.
It’s for “the cool, L.A. girl…the young girl building her career and life, still in school,” said Michelle. “They want to be able to buy something that’s exciting for them with their own money.”
The designs also keep in mind the L.A. aesthetic, a blend of ath-leisure and streetwear. Michelle’s favorite look from the collection epitomizes that style: a white, sequin set that’s able to be worn day to night, “from the beach to dinner out.”
Outings in the city are practically nonexistent nowadays, however — or should be — due to a recent surge of coronavirus cases in the state. Hollywood, too, is shut down.
“I do think my job is safe,” Michelle said with a laugh. “We all care about our appearance. Regardless if it’s 100 paparazzi on the red carpet or just one-on-one with our own cell phones [putting images] up on the Internet, I do think people will still care about fashion and be interested in the art of it and how they present themselves.”
She has, though, noticed the impact the pandemic has had on the industry. “Sadly, I’m seeing brands and showrooms financially suffer, which has been really upsetting, and it definitely affects the way that we have accessibility for samples for clients. I just think we’re going to have to go back to the mentality where people are designing for must-have items in the closet or things that are really wearable or usable.”