Know your strengths and play up the positive

Rima Al-Mukhtar

Published — Wednesday 14 November 2012

Last update 14 November 2012 6:31 am

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David Meister is an American fashion designer that was born and raised in Ohio. He earned a degree in fashion design at the University of Cincinnati College of Design, Art, Architecture and Planning.
After he graduated, he moved to New York and worked at Danskin, the original fitness and body wear company. Here he taught himself stitching and sketching and how these can be used to present the feminine form in a way that flatters curves and embodies glamor. This notion is still prevalent in his designs today.
I was always very interested in clothing and all things visual as a child. I was also very opinionated about the clothes that I chose and wore,” he said. “My favorite outfit was my purple bellbottoms with a red and white floral print shirt. I always thought I would do something creative or artistic but at the same time I contemplated becoming a brain surgeon. I know that sounds crazy but it’s the truth,” he added.
Meister has been in the business for some time. He started his company 14 years ago and he has had many successes. Still, his philosophy is “Keep moving, don’t look back and learn from your mistakes. You are only as good as your last collection.

What items and colors will never go out of fashion? What belongs in every woman’s closet?
Obviously every woman should have a few great little black dresses. One that can be dressed up or down. One that can go from day wear to a cocktail party. Another that is sexy for glamorous nights out.
Beautiful high heel pumps and beautiful high heel sandals are both a must. I would like to emphasize High, as I hate low heel shoes. Nothing elongates a leg like a beautifully designed shoe.
Diamonds! Diamonds! Diamonds! One can never have too many and they NEVER go out of style!

What is your fashion design philosophy?
Keep it simple. Less is more. My clothes are simple, modern, and sexy with a sense of timelessness. A good design never looks dated or goes out of style.
As for my fashion do’s and don’ts in general, I would say: Don’t over-accessorize. Always be willing to try new things. Sometimes they work, sometimes they don’t. You will not know until you try. Be honest with yourself. Know your strengths and weaknesses and play up the positive. My BIGGEST pet peeve is the pantyhose… I hate them, they are so not modern. Even worse is pantyhose with open toe shoes. Seeing that sends me right over the edge!

Most of your designs are figure flattering, how do you design clothes that fit all body types?
Most of my clothes are either knit or have stretch. I am a firm believer in this and think it is a much more modern way to dress. It is an easier fit, works on more body types, is more comfortable, doesn’t wrinkle, travels well… The list goes on and on. I also believe that the darts and seams must be placed in exactly the correct spots so they flatter a woman’s body and curves.

You’ve dressed celebrities from different generations. How do you make designs that fit different age groups?
I don’t think so much about age. There are young women whose bodies are just OK and then there are older women who are smoking hot. Look at Jane Fonda. She is so sexy and glamorous. I think it is more about working with the person by playing up their assets and minimizing their negatives.

How did you become involved in dressing stars for the red carpet?
I have an amazing PR firm that works exclusively on celebrity dressing with me. They really got the ball rolling.

Which comes first, the dress or the actress?
This depends. Sometimes a celeb will see a dress they love and want to wear or have it customized. Other times, I sit down with the person and we chat and collaborate to come up with the perfect dress.

You’ve dressed everyone from Helen Hunt, Sofia Vergara, Diane Lane and more. How do you go about designing a red carpet dress for a particular celebrity?
They usually have an idea, a color, or a general direction they are looking for and we go from there. I also work very closely with their stylists.

Among all the people you have dressed, who has carried it off the best and why?
I must say my all time favorite is Sharon Stone. NO ONE can work a dress on the red carpet like she does! She loves fashion, understands what works on her body, and is so intelligent. It is great collaborating with her.

Who would you like to dress from the Arab world and why?
I would love to dress Queen Rania of Jordan. She’s stunning and so sophisticated!
Who is your all-time dream client? And why?
I have a few. I love Jennifer Aniston for her consistent style and look. She always looks beautiful, glamorous and sexy but in a very modern natural way. Jane Fonda, as I said earlier: she is HOT! Emma Stone looks so great and fresh on the red carpet. I am a die-hard fan of Cher. She is an icon.

Where do you get your inspiration from when designing a new line?
My inspiration comes from so many different sources. It can be travel, fabrics, walking the streets, and music. I am open all the time. You never know where or when the next idea will strike.

You have designed everything from bridal, gowns, eveningwear, cocktail dresses and day dresses. Which closest to your heart and why?
Eveningwear will always be my favorite. I love the glamor and sense of drama.

If you would have the chance to live in any city in the world, what would you choose and why?
I am very lucky. I already live there. I love Los Angeles and it is home. I do spend a lot of time in New York City as well.

Give us some insight about your Fall collection?
The Fall collection for day is about beautiful silhouettes with detailed seaming and trims that are modern and streamlined. Evening is about rich colors but also great texture — beaded net and tulles or sheer and illusion insets. Sequins, metallic fabrics, and lace are also very important.

What advice would you give young fashion designers who are still finding their way in the fashion world?
Fashion is a business. It is a creative form but it isn’t successful until the cash register rings. That is why I love fashion — it is creative and business combined. Stay true to yourself and never let anyone tell you that you can’t. If you want something badly enough and are willing to work very hard, you can achieve it.

Where can we find your collection?
You can buy my collection on We offer international shipping. If you want to try it on or purchase at a store, it’s also available at Saks Fifth Avenue and Bloomingdale’s stores.

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