What Maria Cornejo Wants


Allow Maria Cornejo to reintroduce herself. The designer best known for giving real women exactly what they want, showed a tightly edited group of imminently covetable dresses and separates for women of all shapes, sizes, and ages. Her Spring/Summer 2016 ethos: monastic chic.

“I wanted to create something sexy without the wearer needing the perfect body,” Cornejo shared backstage. “Sexiness today is not about having a perfect body and wearing a tight mini skirt; it’s about what you don’t show that’s truly sexy.”

Mere moments later, a line-up of tonal slim skirts and billowing vests and coats took center stage near Manhattan’s Westside Highway. Of the 35 looks, a group of sumptuous knits that exposed just the right amount of clavicle and shoulder proved particularly alluring. In Cornejo’s hands, even the slight flash of ankle suddenly became provocative.

The textiles, with the exception of the leather shoes and the aforementioned knit program, were developed in-house and produced in New York City. The color palette, meanwhile, was reduced to mostly shades of grey and ivory, save for a few bold painterly strokes on a sampling of sheaths. “I sometimes watch [the makeup artist] Dick Page and what he creates for Shiseido, the colors, they’re just amazing!”

“Ultimately,” Cornejo continued, “this is my way of saying to my women, ‘Be yourself. Be an individual in the clothes!’ Being your own woman, not cookie cutter, that is the greatest luxury!”

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