Acclaimed couture designer B Michael unveiled his first independent ready-to-wear brand called “B Michael Collection” during New York Fashion Week on Sunday, Feb. 12 at 3 p.m. at his atelier in the Garment District in Manhattan. The event was hosted by the designer, who welcomed friends and clients, including Vanity Fair special correspondent Amy Fine Collins; Congresswoman Carolyn Maloney; philanthropist, author and socialite Jean Shafiroff; Emmy Award-nominated journalist Ayanna Harry; WPIX11 TV anchor Brenda Blackmon; fashion stylist Freddie Leiba; actress, director and producer Tamara Tunie; and longtime supporter, actress and philanthropist Cicely Tyson, among others.
B Michael Collection comes as an evolution of the designer’s sophisticated evening and couture collections. His clean American style created via a hands-on approach and desire to develop unique fabrics is now transferred from the runway to a more attainable lifestyle collection with luxe wardrobe essentials for existing clients and a new generation.
“I realized I had an opportunity and almost responsibility to dress the women who have been asking me to design a ready to wear collection for years,” says Michael about his a-ha moment.
“I feel very creatively stimulated,” he continued. “Ready-to-wear is the next challenge and what I feel I have been yearning to create for some time. It’s as though I’ve hit the re-set button on my creative process and brand.”
Michael’s approach to this fresh look and new concept comes in the form of what he refers to as “B’s basics” — a comprehensive line of dresses, topper coats, trousers, skirts and tops that add texture and sophistication to a woman’s lifestyle — basics to help build her wardrobe with classic closet essentials.
Must-have navy shift dresses come in a variety of cuts and fabrics. A straight cut, sleeveless, sculptured silk gabardine and an A-line, cap sleeve, double-faced wool crepe with silk-mikado accents can go from the office to after work event. Slimming flat front trousers are given the B. Michael touch with dramatic open front kick pleats for effect. Handmade knits woven with different types of mohair yarn, typically seen as day wear, are transformed into evening appropriate when cut as a form fitting seamless tank dress. A-line cuts are a common theme with several dresses and statement topper coats while Michael’s signature covered buttons create a polished finish. Boat and scoop necklines project a more regal look. Buttery leather is the fabric of choice for tanks and accents throughout the collection and on pocket trims providing another luxe texture. Gros-grain ribbon detail on a black and white long jacket pairs nicely over one’s own denim or dresses from the collection. Common neutrals are black, white and navy, with shades of berries to complement on days a bolder color is preferred.
Michael spends much of his time in his atelier and workspace in New York’s Garment District sketching, imaging looks and creating new and versatile designer fabrics exclusive to his line; all draping and sewing is still done by hand by talented drapers, pattern-makers and seamstresses, many of whom have been with Michael for decades alongside fresh new talent. With his new collection being at the forefront, B Michael will continue his partnership with Made in NYC™, a nonprofit that encourages film, TV, tech and fashion companies to create their projects in New York City.
“We should all evolve as artists and always seek to explore the next chapter. It feels, to me, to be an authentic time and I find I have a newly charged passion for what’s to come,” Michael closes.
The collection will be available in select retailers nationwide in the fall of 2017.