Quiet, tree-lined Melrose Place is the perfect home for Zero+Maria Cornejo's first LA store. Guests gathered to toast the seasoned designer, who currently has two shops in New York, on her new West Coast venture Thursday night. The space is tranquil, airy and spacious, with clothing hanging from steel rolling racks, or resting on wooden tables with raw edges. "The store is designed much like my home...natural and organic looking. It's not just a design, it's more about having nice textures together," said Brooklyn-based Cornejo. As for the feel of her clothing design, she says:
"My design aesthetic is more laid-back, and it's about really wearing clothes every day. It's more realistic...it's not about an idea or a photograph. People are relating to clothes actually being wearable, and something you want to live in."
Although her collections can be found across the globe, the Chilean-born designer doesn't see a huge difference in style sensibility from LA to NY to London. She knows the type of person she is designing for and that confidence has made her line widely popular (Sandra Bullock and Michelle Obama are fans).
"Our clientele is very similar in these places. It is a very cosmopolitan sensibility. It's a certain type of person who likes design, but isn't dictated by design, so they understand clothing, art, fashion, architecture and culture, but they are not a slave to fashion."
In addition to the opening of the LA store, Cornejo has been busy. She recently introduced a menswear line this fall, and admitting to "being a tomboy at heart," she likes the idea of unisex things. "Sometimes there is nothing sexier than seeing a girl wearing some of her boyfriend's clothes," she adds.
Cornejo has also included a line of swimwear, which she promises is "very flattering," to her seasonal collections of clothing, handbags, shoes and accessories.