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7 Minutes with Couture Designer b michael

Couturier to the likes of Beyonce, Lena Horne and SF's own Pamela Joyner, b michael was this year's featured designer at Fashion On The Square held July 25th at the Intercontinental Hotel. After leaving the white-collar world of Wall Street, the NYC-based designer had stints at Oscar de la Renta and Louis Feraud before launching his own millinery line, finally taking the plunge into eveningwear in 1999. Gavin Newsom was so excited about his visit to our fair city that he even declared July 25th b michael Day. How's that for street cred? We were lucky enough to catch up with b michael for a quick chat to discuss the San Francisco aesthetic, his inspiration and plans for the future:

How do you think your designs fit into San Francisco style? The urban elegance and sophistication of San Francisco and the cities embracing of the arts keep with my design point of view. 

Where do you look for design inspiration? I never really know from where I will get inspiration. I have been inspired by people, a geographical location, books, music, movies, and on and on...the real point is to always be open for inspiration.

What influenced your latest collection? The collection for Fall 2009 was inpired by what I call Classic American clothes that are modern and timeless. 

How would you describe the b michael woman? Man? The b michael consumer is a very advanced thinker, sophisticated but with an edge that is modern. 

Who are your style icons? I think having style is not about one's fashion, it's more about the total person. Manners and taste combined with an individual sense of what works for one's lifestyle. I can't really say I have a style icon, but I think Jackie Kennedy Onasis epitomized what I would call style. That said, there are many women and men I know that I would say also have style.

Who is your dream client? Nicole Kidman for her style.

Do you have any plans to break into the mainstream fashion market or do you prefer to remain solely in couture?
I am very excited, I do have plans to launch a line of ready-to-wear dresses of affordable luxury, but that's all I can reveal at the moment.