One look at the inhabitants of Miami and there’s one thing clear: We love our fashion, both men and women alike. Which is why we sat down with Maxine Victor, founder of Miami Metropolitan International Fashion Week (formerly known as Brickell Fashion Week) and got the inside scoop on Miami fashions as well as what to expect at MMIFW this year. This years event is from Thursday May 24th to Saturday May 26th at LMNT in Midtown Miami.
Let’s first start off by having you explain exactly what MMIFW’s mission is & how it came about.
It started due to the event founders living in the heart of the Brickell corridor and feeling there were so many interesting people, such a vibrant energy that needed something. The something was to create an event that showcased talent but also showcased our city as something much more than “South Beach”. They took the initiative and set off to create the show.
Where can people get tickets for the event?
Our website, MMIFW.com
What advantages do they VIP tickets have over the regular tickets?
They give access to the after parties and VIP receptions. (And hey, you never know who you might rub elbows with!)
Now a few weeks ago an e-mail was sent out by you and your associates saying that the events name was going to be changed from Brickell Fashion Week to Miami Metropolitan International Fashion Week, and that the dates were going to be pushed back. What was the reasoning for that?
This was via our gauging interest outside of Downtown for the event and collaborating with the agency that is representing us, Creativas Group. Collectively we felt that we could make this a bigger project by opening it up. That in fact did happen. From sponsors to participants, media and celebrities it grew immediately. Our vision is to make this a platform for other great attributes our city has to offer in the work of art. But I will keep a bit of that a secret for now (as she gives us a wink)
What made you decide on having LMNT host the event?
Our publicist Liza Santana suggested it. She has sponsored an event for a well-known promoter in the LGBT community (Lynn Bove) that was a great success. We discussed how the venue was very well equipped for what we needed. They have a great setup and we felt it was perfect when we saw it. The venue has a real “artsy” feel to it but very Miami at the same time.
I think a lot of people have a misconception about the fashion shows they see on TV that tend to be these outrageous outfits no one would wear and ones such as MMIFW. Could you elaborate on the difference between the two?
One has to understand that the shows one sees on TV that take place in NY, Milan etc are HUGE, the top designers in the industry. These shows are more than fashion shows; they are art exhibits that draw celebrities, media and people from all over the world. What you see on the runway is not always meant “as-is”. Many times they are inspirations. You will see simpler versions in the stores and boutiques.
How do you think fashion shows help the general public understand styles and trends and how it integrates into our daily lives?
Again, its art imitating real life. The collections are created via inspiration from colors, experiences, landscapes, eras, heroins, it goes on and on. The shows indicate cuts, lengths, fabrics, and of course overall style as it relates to a “look”.
Obviously we know you don’t just allow any designer into the show, so how were the designers picked/chosen for presentation at this year’s show?
They had to complete an application process that was then put through a committee. We were fortunate to get some great talent!
Is there a purpose of this combination of designers that were ultimately decided on?
We want to showcase a myriad of talent from all over. That’s what Miami is, isn’t it? A place whose residents are from all over. That’s why our city is so diverse.
Is there a certain theme you’re going for in this year’s show?
Yes, METROPOLITAN (again, giving us a big smile)
If you could capture the essence and spirit of Miami’s fashion, how would you describe it?
Fearless, sexy, daring and appropriate for the camera at all times!
What fabrics and designs (if any) do you think define the spirit of Miami’s multi-cultural society?
There are so many textiles one can choose. We live in a place that is filled with beautiful people. I’d like to think the designs and fabrics that are recognized for the Miami scene would be silk, linen and jersey.
Maxine, most people affix New York and Los Angeles as the fashion capitals of the U.S. Do you think Miami is becoming a force to be reckoned with in the fashion industry, in the U.S and otherwise?
It always was. Although the models left and the heydays of the 90s are gone where the models were seen everywhere, Miami’s still got it. We are still the one place that trades with everyone else in the world. Have you been to MIA lately? It’s proof. Form our retail industry to our amazing boutique community our town is filled with “fashionistas”. Small spots like My Best Friend’s Closet Boutique in Coral Gables which popped up a year ago and has a resident stylist, Patricia Flores who now dresses load of celebrites including Karent Sierra. That is also proof that the industry here is thriving from the high end department stores to specialty stores. This includes those who focus on the bridal industry. They too have morphed to deal with the major fashion demand. Chic Parisien known for dressing the most well-known in society and celebs for their big day also carries Monique Lhullier cocktail dresses for example. They sell like hotcakes. We actually talked to the owner Catherine Fox when putting together MMIFW. She gave great insight. She told us how her industry has changed because of the Miami influence and our city being such a capital for the bridal market. Miami is a force to be reckoned with in all things fashion. We spoke to Ocean Drive Shoes that we are collaborating with and they too say that their online business is booming with so many women who want the latest trends and they want them “NOW” in a click. Its amazing and very exciting.
Why has fashion become such an integral part of Miami’s ever evolving reputation?
Because Miami has a climate and scenery that lends itself to be fun, daring and push the envelope. We are a dynamic city filled with diversity and flair that reflects in the food, real estate and so many other areas, art and of course fashion.
What are YOUR personal favorite fashions and designers at the moment?
Oh my! So many to list. I love the classic stuff but also the very eclectic and daring. At the end of the day, I am a woman. We are known for being indecisive! From McQueen to Calvin Klein I could list 20!
Wrapping up the interview with Maxine, it’s extremely clear that with the vision that is MMIFW, we will have the pleasure of covering it for many many years to come. Be sure to get your tickets now before they sell out! See everyone there!