Audrey Insider | Interview with Bangalore-based Designer Michelle Salins
  • by Audrey Archives
  • May 28, 2013

The up and coming fashion designer Michelle Salins has recently debuted her collection for Fall/Winter 2012 in America. What stands out about the Indian-born designer from others is her modern and feminine mix of both Indian and American cultures. Beginning her career in 2009, Salins was formerly an interior designer before establishing her career as a fashion designer. We were fortunate enough to interview the designer who talks about her inspiration, her American release, and her tips for Fall.

1) Your Fall/Winter 2012 collection is very sophisticated, yet very feminine and fun. How were you inspired for this collection?

For the Fall’12 collection, my inspiration has been the beautiful American woman! On my frequent trips these past two years, in an endeavor to research the American apparel market for my label’s entry, I came across and met with many WONDERFUL American women. Their styles especially impressed me! From Ms. Valerie Steele (curator at the FIT museum) to a young stylist I met at NY Fashion Week last September. I noticed it; an effortless style with a touch of simplicity and sensuality! This is what I wanted to bring with my first collection in the United States. As you can see it is a very versatile collection and is targeted to a wide age group of American women who like to dress well, are confident and like to feel sensual.

2) Are you satisfied with how your collection turned out? Is there anything you would have done differently?

I was extremely happy with how the collection turned out! I love my luxe fabrics that I have specially woven for this collection and the hand embroidery gave it an unusual sophisticated element, which can be stored and later worn as vintage. (You will see this especially with the black georgette woven full-sleeved dress and the black and white dress). Being my first collection here, I only had 24 looks, and I wish I could have increased the number, but I guess, I am young in the market and I have plenty more to do and to look forward too!

3) I noticed that a few pieces are named after celebrities (MDNA, Rihanna, Adele). Did you design these particular pieces based on their sense of style? 
Ha ha…well, absolutely!! Am so thrilled you asked me this!! My effort has paid off!! Well, I’ve grown up watching Madonna and I’ve been a huge fan and have been very influenced by her growth as a Pop diva! I absolutely think the dress named after her is a mix of her styles from then to now. And is one of my favorites from the collection!
Rihanna – A very dear gorgeous friend of mine…this is actually named with her in mind.
Adele – Absolutely…she is a very contemporary dresser and I always felt that a little more sparkle on her black dresses would give her that little extra bit! 

4) You incorporate a lot of Indian culture into your collections, which makes it so versatile. How do you decide how much of your culture goes into your line?
Let’s just say, I’ve done a lot of homework on the American apparel markets! I think I understand what American women look for in a garment. That insight helps me decide on my styles and patterns for each collection.

5) You had a previous career in interior design for a long time. What made you decide to transition into fashion design?
Absolutely, just one thing…my PASSION for dressing and having luxurious clothes with a perfect fit and finish. I am an extremely detailed person for finishes and neatness, which translates into my work.

6) How is this collection different from your previous collection?
The inspiration! My SS’12 collection was dedicated to music! It was a completely young and fun collection! I would love to share some images with you anytime! I had dresses embellished in crystal, beading and sequins in patterns of musical instruments, although the fabrics of course remained luxurious with silks and georgettes.

7) Can you tell our readers a little about where you are from?

I am from India, born to an industrialist Indian father and my homemaker mother is of Scottish descent. I currently live in the Southern part of India, in the very cosmopolitan area, Bangalore, which is otherwise known as the IT hub and a fashionistas paradise!

8) How do you think your collection stands out from other designers?
I think my fabrics immediately make a statement. I also believe my culture and mixing a bit of the Indian hand craftsmanship with a contemporary over all look and feel, gives my collection an extra edge and stands out.

9) What are some of your personal favorite pieces from your current collection?
The MDNA dress, the ANITA, KATHY and LISA dresses, the PARIS and NATASHA look, RIHANNA, the Chunsy pant (I’ve received so many compliments just wearing this trouser!)

10) What can we expect from you in 2013?
Lots of fun in the SS’2013 collection, I will be introducing a lot of jackets in luxury fabrics for Fall 2013!

11) What were your thoughts about releasing your line in the United States?

I was initially nervous but I am convinced my line has the potential in the US market. The reviews and feedback I have received has been very heart-warming and overwhelming. Today, I am completely confident of my entry here in US.

12) What are your current inspirations for your next collection?
I’ve been traveling a lot, which means I spend a lot of time on aircrafts and at airports! I’ve seen some fabulous aerial views of mountains, lush green patches in various shades, the sunset, the sunrise, lots and lots of inspiring blue shaded skies and fluffy clouds…the confident woman traveler and how she dresses…this is my inspiration for my Spring/Summer 2013 collection! She’s off to the beach, off to a formal luncheon, a trip on the yacht or a cocktail evening… the 48 looks in my collection offer you a fabulous look for every occasion! Anytime! Anywhere!

13) Describe to us your personal style.
Simple and chic during the day, and classic sophistication with a hint of sensuality for the evening.

14) Do you have any tips for our readers for the Fall/Winter season?
Dress sexy, classy and classic! Sheath style dresses are the perfect dresses to own. When worn to the knee or just below, it gives a sleek and edgier look. Cinch your waist to show off your shape for a ladylike look. Black will always remain the season’s favorite but dress it up this season by trying black in soft woven georgette or with a little embellishment for a modern look.

15) Who are your favorite designers? Why? 
John Galliano – for his over the top styling!
Chanel – for the label’s absolute classic and sensual style.

16) Where do you see yourself with your work in 5 years?
Surely as an established label in the United States and with an accessories line as well.

17) Have you done any pieces personally for any celebrities?
Yes, in India I have a close working relationship with many celebrities.
In the US, a few celebrities have worn my garments, although I have not specially designed outfits for them.

18) Who would you love to design a piece for (past or present)?
Madonna. ANYTIME! And Michelle Obama!

19) What are your top five must-have items (beauty, electronic, music, book, accessory, etc)?
• My Sony Waio – I must have it when I travel and by my bedside!
• My Apple iPhone 4S – it’s like an extension of my hand!
• Music in my car
• My Neutrogena face wash
• Estee Lauder’s night renewal crème.


Check out her entire Fall 2012 Collection below!