A boy from Ohio studies Fashion Design, moves to New York and lands a job with the premier fitness wear company at the time. All the while dreaming of the day he can show the world what he can do with a few sequins, stretch fabric, and strategically placed prints. David Meister visited the Neiman Marcus store in the Cherry Creek Shopping Center in honor of Le Bal de Ballet 2013. Though the event was an evening soiree, David Meister spent the day at the store meeting clients and helping them to select the perfect dress.
303 Magazine: Was designing eveningwear always your passion?
David Meister: I was always interested in eveningwear. Even in school most of my projects were kind of glamour or evening based. I interned for Danskin then I went to work for them for like two years. The one thing I must say about that is the whole stretch thing. Most of my designs have some kind of stretch. It was a great place to start but I knew my whole goal was to get out and get into dresses, eveningwear, and cocktail.
303: How important is fabric in your collections?
DM: I think in today’s world with people traveling, you want to wear a dress and be able to get in and out of a car without feeling like it’s going to split. If a dress has no stretch and you sit down in some fabrics when you stand up you have a lap full of wrinkles. I think you have to feel good in your clothes. Even when you are doing something special for someone on the red carpet, I think, how does it photograph? Does it move? Does it wrinkle? Is it too sheer? Once someone is dressed for an event they don’t want to worry, is my dress going to fall down? Is my boob going to come flying out? Fit and comfort is a part of it. OK, a strapless dress is never going to be like wearing your jammies, but it can be comfortable for what it is.
303: Is it an emotional experience for you when you see one of your designs on the red carpet?
DM: I think I am getting old and jaded. I mean, it still is and there are certain people who I think like oh my god!
If Angelina wore my dress I’d probably have a melt down, or I don’t know, I’d mess myself.
It’s always fun to see it and it is great for the business. It is an exciting part of my career.
303: What is it like when you see someone on the street in one of your looks?
DM: It is always interesting to see how they are wearing it and what they are wearing it with. The bottom line is, they liked it and they bought it. We go to a lot of different events as my partner is in the entertainment business. We will see people in my dresses and he says you gotta go tell them you gotta go tell them. I’m like, I am not going to up and tell them. Sometimes he makes me. Or he will go “excuse me, did you know you are wearing David Meister? This is David Meister”.
303: You are a popular TV contributor, do you enjoy that?
DM: Any time you can be more accessible to your customer or to a larger customer base I think it is great. For me it is something that is very easy. It is fun. You show up, this is what we are going to do you do it, and you’re done. You can’t think about it. When you’re designing you can say maybe that dress shouldn’t be red it should be blue and maybe we should take the sleeve off. On TV, tough, it came out of your mouth; it’s done, over. So I think that is why I like it too there is no second-guessing or analyzing, you can’t change it.
303: Who is the David Meister woman?
DM: What’s interesting about our collection is our core customers is women in their early 30’s to 50, but we dress people from 18 to 70. I’m a big believer in it’s not about age with anything anymore. You look at Jane Fonda who’s 75, that woman is smoking hot, she doesn’t look good for someone her age, she looks great. I think it is about your mindset, how you feel, and how your take care of yourself. There are people who are 50 who look better and can wear dresses better than a 25-year-old. I don’t really like to put age out there. You need to know what work for your body. If you can wear something plunged to the waist and it works and it looks good, hey, let’s go.
303: What is most important to you in regards to your philanthropic efforts?
DM: I was taught that you should give back. It doesn’t really take a lot of effort or time. When people say, “oh I’m too busy” I think that is BS, an hour a month, really? There is an organization called The Art of Elysium in Los Angeles that I am involved with. People can be musicians, actors, designers, whatever and you go onto hospitals and you hang out with the kids. At Christmas I went and made stockings with kids who were in outpatient cancer treatment. To me, you get more out of it than they do. I think most people take for granted how fortunate they are. By lending my name or lending my time, if I can make a difference and help, I am all for it. For me it is so important, you have to give back. When it comes to kids, I can’t imagine saying no to anything.
303: Tell us about the collection at Neiman Marcus?
DM: It’s spring. Lace is a huge trend this season. A lot of bright color, yellows and oranges, hot pinks and turquoises, a lot of color for spring. My dress customer loves color. Black and white are strong and graphic and it will do well and we always do very well with metallic, it is great for evening. The other thing for day that looks very new is our placement prints, which means they are very specific where the layout fits and works on the body.
303: What can we expect in the future?
DM: We are working on a couple of things. We are always looking for ways to expand and grow. Hopefully you will be seeing a lot more.