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02/12/14 Artists celebrate 15 years of Zero + Maria Cornejo

“If the clothes could talk, they’d have incredible stories to tell,” says designer Maria Cornejo of pieces beloved by the likes of Tilda Swinton and filmmaker Miranda July.

Since its inception, Zero + Maria Cornejo has appealed to the compelling woman through its brand of minimalism and sparks of ingenuity. The characters roaming the designer’s longstanding Nolita boutique represent these qualities—highly sophisticated but with an inner turbulence about them.

To celebrate the milestone of 15 years, the designer asked 15 artist-clients to select a favorite Zero piece from their wardrobes, each to be re-issued in an archival capsule collection for 2014. From musician Karen O’s off-shouldered bubble dress (S/S ’07) to a long silk dress (resort ’08) favored by Swinton, the pieces certainly speak for themselves, although, as NOUS gathers, their wearers were a little more verbose.


“I own two versions of this dress. I love it so much. I have so many pieces of Maria’s as they’re always the first thing I think about choosing when I want something very flattering, comfortable, and, like so many of Maria’s styles, great for traveling.”



“I was very touched when I found out a dress had been named after our daughter Ayah. I saw the dress and immediately fell in love. It was unique: strong and soft, classic and ‘wild’ all at once. This was an incredibly special time for me. Three years later, the Ayah dress is still as fresh and I always have a special warm feeling of lightness and optimism whenever I wear it.”



“I am preparing to go out to a charity event alone. We’re having a bad day, the worst kind. I dress. This dress, which I’ve been longing to wear all spring, but the weather still isn’t right. Too cold. Constant drizzle. He rises from the sofa for a moment and removesa loose string at my shoulder. Somehow, I find this reassuringly tender.”



“I bought this suit at a critical point in my career. I had an extremely important meeting with a very intense architect who I wanted to work with on a major project. I felt the suit expressed what I knew I could deliver when I entered his amazing office. It is seriously tailored and detailed, refined and of the highest quality. It also has the nerve to go off center at the hip, be vulnerable on the edges and be open at the heart. The suit is a sculpture in its own right as an object on the body as I moved. I got the commission and I’ve always thanked the suit for helping me to express how sensuously serious I was that I wanted what I wanted.”