Designer Diaries: Studio Visit with Maria Cornejo
“I like the things that you don’t see . . . I think for a girl it’s more sensual what you don’t see than the obvious”.
Bird paid a visit to Maria Cornejo at her store and offices last week on a rainy, bleak fall day. Ducking in and ditching our umbrellas, we were instantly cheered by the bright, white, loft-like space peppered with electric colors, sumptuous silks and cozy shearlings. We had stumbled into the antidote to the dreary weather, it seemed, and we were happy. Then in comes Maria herself, all smiles, tan, jests and laughter - she seems more like she just jumped off a boat in the Mediterranean than in out of the rain. She is a warm breeze and a relaxing reminder that life is bigger than New York, her smile seems to remind you of this, as if she is luring you away to some warmer climate.
Jen has been a longtime champion of Zero + Maria Cornejo – ever since she unwittingly came upon Maria’s first store in Nolita in 1999 – Jen immediately added the collection to the Bird roster after she expanded to Smith Street. ”A woman’s body is never out of her mind when designing” says Jen, who is enamored by the modern, architectural designs that still manage to be extremely feminine and flattering – something she looks for in design but seldom sees.
We went to see Maria to hear about her new accessories collection – what is unusual is that Maria didn’t set out to make an “it” bag or the next must-have shoe, she just simply never could find anything that she liked. Her line of shoes and handbags is a continuation of the collection that you already know – subtle, chic, intellectually sexy with punches of fantastic color. Maria is not into statement bags or shoes that are too high, in fact, and it shows in the clean, graphic and understated accessories. They might not be your typical “it” items, but they certainly are covetable in their lean perfection. Jen fell especially hard for a pair of electric blue suede boots, and with some cajoling from all of us, she walked away with them to once again brighten her already brighter day.
by Starrett Ringbom