Milly’s Michelle Smith On Bargain Shopping, Capri, And Her Kohl’s Collab

by Dena Silver

Sudden springtime downpours didn’t stop the chic set from descending upon last night’s soirees last night in New York. But the most transportive of those parties was surely Kohl’s Milly for DesigNation launch. Held at the Mondrian Soho, the room had a definite Capri vibe going on, from the abundance of colorful frocks to the towers of lemons strewn throughout. While Milly designer Michelle Smith was on hand to celebrate, as were celebs like Chanel Iman, Hannah Davis, Zosia Mamet, and Olivia Palermo, all decked out in the low-priced but high fashion line. We talked with Smith about the collection and why Capri was a big influence…

What did you dig about taking part in Kohl’s DesigNation program?
The really fun thing about the DesgiNation concept is that the designer selected gets to go on a trip of their choice, anywhere around the world.

So where did you go?
Of course I chose Capri! I went last June, and everything I did there was for this collection. Some of the prints you’ll see in the collection were actually from my photographs, like the photo-realistic print beach umbrellas. There’s also stripes, and a bougainvillea floral print. It was really fun and personal, and I think it’s really great to bring an Italy [inspired] collection to a customer at a more affordable price point. Whereas my main collection are a bit pricier, everything in this collection is under $100 dollars, and it’s [in stores] for one month only.

Are you much of a bargain shopper?
I make my own clothes, so I’m not a big shopper, period. But I spurge on shoes and purses! And artwork!

Do you speak any Italian?
I speak a little bit. Most of the fabric vendors I worked with were Italian, so I know a few business terms.

What are some of your favorite things to do in Capri?
Oh my gosh, so many things! I love renting a sailboat and going to the Faraglioni, those two famous rocks in the sea. I love going to the Piazzetta, which is the main center in town, and I love walking around. It’s such a beautiful island. Mainly, I love the Mediterranean, and I love the people.

If you didn’t pick Capri as your destination, where else would you have gone?
Hawaii, because it’s great for summer collections.

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