Milly’s Michelle Smith served up a sexy, confident, and strong collection for Pre-Fall 2018, infused with a heavy dose of Spanish flavor. Why? The #MeToo movement inspired Smith to think of women as matadors, facing off against bulls in the ring. Smith fills us in on why her woman is seeing red.
Michelle, how did Pre-Fall come together?
I’ve been really consumed and inspired by the women who have been coming forward, naming their abusers and attackers. The world is changing right now, and the power is shifting. Their strength, their courage, and their bravery is the inspiration for this collection.
How do the Spanish influences manifest?
They’re a metaphor. My women are bullfighter, and the big, powerful men who were abusing them are the bulls. I was doing research, and I saw graphic images of matadors being impaled by horns. I really felt the fear. [Women who came forward about sexual misconduct] were asking themselves, Should I come forward or not? What will happen to me? And they had to ask those questions because of the incredible power that these men wielded. My woman is a matador—she fights the bulls.
Have you ever experienced any proverbial bulls?
I started Milly at age 27, which was pretty young. I feel pretty fortunate in that I didn’t experience what a lot of other women have experienced.
What’s your favorite look in the collection?
The blazer dress is definitely a favorite—it’s strong and sexy. My new silhouette that’s launching with pre-fall is the super high waist, which is inspired by the matador pant. You’ll see it in my shirts, my pants, my skirts, and shorts.
Have you ever been to a bullfight?
I haven’t. My girlfriend Yliana Yepez, a handbag designer, does a tremendous business in Spain, and she went to Seville last year and said it was really incredible to see where they do all of the bullfighting. But I’m a little afraid to go after seeing all of those pictures. It’s really graphic!