The writer gives you details of tomboy-turned designer, Michelle Salins. It’s a life of colours and fabrics
The pale green sheath dress (one of her own designs), long wavy hair, diamond jewellery and big sunglasses certainly make Bangalore based designer Michelle Salins the epitome of the woman she enjoys dressing up, “A well-dressed confident woman, modern with a traditional twist, sensuous not sexy, classy and sophisticated but not dated,” she smiles.
And very feminine. Her designs like the woman herself are a celebration of femininity — the soft lines, bright colours, luxurious fabrics simply scream, “I’m a pretty girl and I love being one.”
Her penchant for dresses came very late in life though, “I was a tomboy of sorts and lived in jeans and T-shirts,” she says, “I only wore a dress when my mother would make me wear one to attend church on Sundays. Now of course she has the last laugh. I love dresses and do a lot of them. They are sensual and feminine and suit almost every body form.”
Talking about her Spring Summer collection which she showcased at the Blenders Pride Bangalore Fashion Week, “I like to create eminently wearable clothes. My theme this time is about a woman who loves sunshine and is inspired from the Californian sky and beach. It also borrows from floral motifs used on German porcelain — I visited the porcelain factories of Germany last summer and was very inspired by the floral motifs I saw there,” she says, adding “I’ve used fabrics like silk/ satin jersey, cotton, georgette, chiffon and lots of lace and my colour palette includes hues of blue, sunshine yellow, red, orange, emerald green and gold.”
Daughter of a Manglorean father and Scottish mother, Michelle always had a flair for design and so was encouraged to pursue interior design by her mother, “I enjoyed it and was very successful but I always wanted to get into fashion. While I was working in the States as a decorator, I did a wedding designers studio and decided to ask if could train with her over weekends. She agreed and I did so over six months. We designed everything from bridal gowns to a first night getup. It really was a dream start.”
She came to India and immersed herself deeply in design. She even spent a year in Kanchipuram to understand fabric better, “I love fabric. I am like a kid in a candy store in a fabric place. I like soft, luxurious fabrics, love holding it up and feeling it against my face. I especially love silk,” she says.
Mostly self-taught, she developed a distinctive style and formally launched her label at the Miami fashion week in 2009, “It wasn’t easy, but I was blessed. I sold clothes and even footwear off the ramp at the fashion week. And I’ve never looked back.”
She has set up studios in both LA and Bangalore and hopes to retail her work in multi-designer retail outlets soon. Right now, she mostly gets business through word of mouth and she isn’t complaining. It’s been pretty good so far,” she smiles.
On a celebrity she would love to dress, “Madonna,” she says without batting an eyelid. “Just for her confidence, the way she evolved over the years and grown as woman.”
Perhaps her only regret is that the father she adored is not around to see her success, “He was a wonderful person and taught me how to stay grounded and succeed in a competitive space. I owe him a lot,” she reminisces.