"I'm self taught, and I'm inventing my own way to look at fashion." Yes, that she is, and it's perfectly displayed in each one-of-a-kind, intricately handcrafted piece that Michelle Laine creates. From her eye-catching mineral rock necklaces that appear to have originated from an otherworldly planet, to her unconventional, costume-inspired clothing collection, everything about her screams creativity and originality. Laine's unique designs have garnered attention from actors, musicians, trendsetters and fashion lovers alike. Her pieces have been seen on notable names such as: Katy Perry, Paris Hilton, Brandy and Adrian Grenier, to name a few.
A California native, 26-year-old Laine was captivated with the fashion world at an early age. "I learned how to hand-stitch dolls' clothing when I was 7 years old, and the sewing machine came at 10," she says. Laine's professional design career officially began in 2007, when she designed her first couture women's wear collection for her label Michelle Laine.
Seen in person, her designs are truly blending the line between fashion and art, capturing attention with the unconventional beauty displayed in each piece. "Earthy dreaminess," "neogoth" and "Hollywood romance" are choice words Laine may use, but it's not so simple to pinpoint her style. It's something she's constantly evolving and redesigning every day by combining different textures, materials and periods in time. Unique would be an understatement. All of her pieces are beautifully handmade and unparalleled. On inspiration Laine says, "It's hard to find amazing one-of-a-kind pieces that aren't thousands and thousands of dollars; I want to be able to make that for other people."
More recently Laine has been focusing on her jewelry collection, which is based around using rare mineral specimens and keeping them in their natural form. Her signature pyrite necklaces are exquisite statement pieces; unearthly rocks hand-wrapped in cage-like pieces of different colored metals, where no two are ever the same. The time and effort put into each unique creation shows, as she travels the states handpicking rocks from gem fairs, and extensively searches through vintage stores for the perfect pieces and fabrics. What's even more impressive? Everything from sewing to silversmithing she taught herself. On not having been classically trained Laine says, "This way I don't have any restrictions."
The rock vibe of her designs, which in part comes from the time she spends around her boyfriend's rock band, has caught the eye of other musicians as well. In 2007 Laine created a special version of her cap gun necklaces for Kristen Stewart's costume as Joan Jett, worn throughout the feature film The Runaways, and worked on costumes for Ozzy Osbourne's 2010 world tour. Most recently Laine teamed up with hair stylist Pamela Neal to create Katy Perry's sculptural alien headdresses for her to-be-released music video "ET."
All in all, Laine sure has it down. She has a life that would make anyone slightly envious: the uber-creative young designer who hangs with the equally cool rock band. She's cool, chic, interesting and talented. In a quote that seems to encapsulate her style perfectly, she says, "In my head, I'm envisioning this place that looks like a Fellini and a Kubrick film collided, and it's set at Coachella ... that's what I want to dress for."
Michelle Laine's designs are available at select tastemaker boutiques throughout the U.S. and Europe including Curve, Beau + Arrow in LA and Therapy in Miami. A full list of stores is available at her online site, michellelaine.com.
Fun facts about Michelle Laine
1. Laine’s current style icon: Model Abbey Lee Kershaw
2. Favorite designer: McQueen was my first love, I discovered him when I was 13 or 14; I also love Nicolas Ghesquière, Mark Fast and Alexander Wang.
3. Fashion faux pas: Not dressing for life. Having style means having it every day, not just when you’re going out at night or when you know you’re going to run into someone.
4. Favorite fabrics: Leather, velvet and lace. I really like to work with natural fibers.
5. Favorite era in fashion: At the moment I would say it’s a combination of Belle Époque / Late Victorian, and now in the Post Millennium Digital Age.