Meet David Meister at Key to the Cure
Guests at the Oct. 19 Key to the Cure will be treated to a personal appearance by David Meister, fashion designer to the stars – as well as to fashionable women in every walk of life.
The list of celebrities who have worn David Meister creations includes Diane Lane, Katherine Heigl, Queen Latifah, Fergie, Felicity Huffman, Tina Fey, Demi Lovato, Drew Barrymore, Sigourney Weaver, Jamie Lee Curtis and Sharon Stone. The stars love him. A close look at that list reveals something interesting: The people mentioned range from starlets to veteran actresses, from buff to not so much.
That might be the reason real women love his designs as well. And, oh the relief to know that someone loves to make every woman look her best, regardless of how much gym time she is able to fit into her week.
Born and raised in Ohio, Meister earned a degree in fashion design from the University of Cincinnati College of Design, Art, Architecture and Planning. His first job after college was in New York with Danskin, an experience that taught him the magic of stretch in fabrics.
In 1998, Meister’s fall line of modern evening wear premiered. In 2000, he followed with the launch of his daytime dress collection, and then in 2009 with the launch of David Meister Signature, which is sold exclusively through Bergdorf Goodman. His lines of day dresses, cocktail dresses and gowns can be found in the nation’s top luxury department stores.
In a phone interview, Meister shared his design philosophy as well as his philanthropy.
Who is the woman you design for?
She’s a woman who wants to look modern and pretty. She’s not a particular age. For me, it’s more about a mindset and a body type. We dress women from size 2 to size 26.
When a woman wears a David Meister dress or gown, she feels pretty, glamorous, sexy. The first thing you notice about her shouldn’t be the dress. You should notice first that she looks pretty.
What is your attraction to stretch in fabrication?
I got into stretch when I worked at Danskin. It’s easier, more comfortable and travels well. I would say 90 percent of my collection has stretch in it.
For myself, I prefer clothing with stretch. I love denim with stretch. If you’re wearing a skinny jean, it’s much more comfortable with stretch.
Which elements do you retain from your earliest designs?
First, great fit has always been key. It’s very important to me. Second, great quality. Third, David Meister designs are 90 percent manufactured in the U.S.A.
Simplicity and cleanness of the clothes are also important. Clothes should have a timelessness. A well-designed dress should sill look great in eight or nine years. I don’t believe in overdesigning – a fussy fabric or print plus ruffles and beading.
Will the bright colors of this summer continue into fall?
Bright color has been amazing for us. Orange cocktail dresses, white cocktail dresses. For fall, we include tons of colors, but always richer and darker. Going forward to resort and spring you’ll see more color.
Who is your favorite designer?
My favorite is Halston. He revolutionized American design with great shape and color. Very simple. A lot of his clothes still look great today. He’s sort of like my design mentor.
My design god is Bob Mackie. It was through watching the “Sonny and Cher” show that I learned people do this for a living. For some reason, I noticed the line in the credits “Cher’s gowns by Bob Mackie.” His clothes were always glamorous. He’s such a great guy.
Left, Felicity Huffman. Right, Sophia Bush
What is your favorite dress worn by a celebrity?
The one that stands out is the fuchsia gown Felicity Huffman wore to the Emmy’s a few years ago. She has the perfect kind of body – very athletic, toned. It takes a specific kind of body for that dress. I didn’t design it for her, but her stylist had seen it in my collection. I think my favorite gown I designed for a celebrity is the orange gown we just did for Cynthia Bush for the 2012 CFDA Fashion Awards in New York.
What causes do you support and why?
Breast cancer. I have known people personally who have had breast cancer, and luckily they have survived. My mom has had many friends with breast cancer, but some haven’t been so lucky. My great-grandmother died of breast cancer.
I’m also very involved with the Art of Elysium, an organization in LA and New York, where different artists, actors, etc. go into hospitals and give kids an outlet to be creative.
Also Project Angel Food. We take meals to people who are stuck in their homes. I’m being honored at one of their events this fall.
I’m a big believer in giving back. It usually doesn’t take that much to do. What seems to be such a small effort can make such a big difference.
Key to the Cure
Oct. 19, 2012, 8:30 a.m.
Saks Fifth Avenue
Chairs: Katie Mueller and Vicki Vaughn
Photo at top: David Meister and Sophia Bush at the 2012 CFDA Fashion Awards in New York City
Text by Cindy Miller
Photos courtesy of David Meister