An Interview with Designer (and Multi Tasking Mom) Maria Cornejo

By: Ali Brownrigg | Posted July 11, 2014
Maria Cornejo
Detail shot of the Kou slit-shoulder dress from Zero + Maria Cornejo, $925

New York-based Chilean designer Maria Cornejo was in Seattle in mid-June, making her first ever trip to our Barneys at Pacific Place to promote the most current collection from her line Zero + Maria Cornejo. We had a chance to e-chat with Cornejo, whose designs we admire for their sculptural yet fluid and flattering yet forgiving shapes.

Seattle mag: What can we expect from your fall collection and what inspired your prints that season?
Maria Cornejo: The collection was inspired by travel and what you would wear while traveling. I was thinking about what I would have been doing had I taken a year off in between college. There are lot of new sportswear inspire shapes in luxury fabrics. There aren’t as many prints in this collection as most. I wanted to cleanse the palate a bit. The two prints are inspired by iPhone snaps I took while on a trip in Chile: a blue wren I saw and a roll of paillette fabric.

SM: Your designs appeal to woman of many different body types because they're flattering yet forgiving. What woman do you have in your mind as you're designing? Yourself?
MC: Yes, I definitely think about what I want to wear when I design, but I also think about the women who wear the clothing. They are moms, creatives, executives, independents.

SM: As a working mom, how have you kept your work/life balance intact?
MC: It’s a constant struggle to keep the balance. I’m always running around.

SM: At what phase of your life (motherhood, turning 40, 50?) had the most influence on your designs?
MC: I’m constantly influenced by my life experiences. I think about what I want to wear now a lot, but I also think about my younger self and what I liked to wear when designing something more youthful. Most women have many roles to fill. They go from getting their kids to work to meetings to an event. The clothing reflects the eclectic demands on a woman’s day.

SM: What is your current favorite article of clothing in your closet right now? And what are your perennial go-to items that you gravitate towards season after season?
MC: Picking a favorite is a bit like picking a favorite child! But recently, I have been gravitating to my jumpsuits. They are so easy to throw on and be dressed for the day.