There is a powerful sense of complexity in the minimal, and that is exactly what downtown fashion designer Maria Cornejo’s work is all about. Her clothing label, Zero + Maria Cornejo, is high on our lists of favorites—because of its effortless feminine styling and refined tailoring—so you can understand how giddy we felt when we heard Maria wanted to speak to us for our blog!

Restorsea: Your background is very international (born in South America, growing up in Europe and now living in NY), how has this affected your design’s point of view?

Maria Cornejo: I always say I design for each part of my life; the colorful pieces for for my Latin side, the blacks are for my New York side and the more sophisticated pieces are for my Parisian side.

R: Speaking of your design, tell us about your experience dressing Michelle Obama!

M: She’s an extraordinary woman and I was just thrilled to have the opportunity to dress her. It was great to get a name check from her in Vogue.

R: And what can we expect in your upcoming s/s ‘14 collection?

M: It’s a special year for us. I’ll leave it at that.

R: Every day on our blog Patti gives out her Patti’s Picks, what are some of Maria’s Picks right now?

M: My Suni boots! They are the perfect in-between weather shoe; I received a Clarisonic brush this winter and its been my go-to beauty product of late; I walk across the Brooklyn Bridge in the morning on my way to work (it helps clear my head during the design process); I just saw the Nada exhibit for Frieze which was great and I like to ride my bike on the weekend, especially along the Brooklyn Promenade.

R: Fans of your label would be surprised to find out that…?

M: I’m funny! Sometimes I look very serious in pictures but most people would describe me as lighthearted.

Merci Maria! Mark us down for a shopping and joke-telling appointment soon!

Photo courtesy of T Magazine