It’s time you met fashion designer Michael Smith. If you’ve been on the internet or have seen the news this week, chances are you caught a glimpse of The Black Eyed Peas’ Fergie and her fun LEGO dress worn during the 24th Annual Nickelodeon Kids’ Choice Awards Nickelodeon held last Saturday.
The heavily blogged about LEGO dress is a hoot, but hardly impressive when compared to other work by the same designer. The dress was created by Michael Schmidt Studios of Los Angeles and New York. You may not now his name, but you certainly know his work. He’s been designing for musical legends like Tina Turner, Cher, Deborah Harry, Joan Jett, Iggy Pop, Steven Tyler and Grace Jones since the late 1980’s. He was even nominated for an Emmy Award for Costume Design for a Variety or Music Program, “Cher… At The Mirage” in 1991.
above: Michael’s chain maille and crystal designs for Cher and Tina Turner in 1986 and 1989.
More in demand than ever, Michael continues to design for today’s popular entertainers like Madonna, Lady Gaga, Dita Von Teese, Rihanna, Brittany Spears and the Chrome Hearts brand. Often working with lots of Swarovski crystals, snake-like imagery and scales, corsets and chain maille, Michael produces sexy, body conscious clothes for concert tours, award shows and other appearances.
above: Michael Schmidt’s designs for Lady Gaga, photos by David LaChapelle
Michael has also made several forays into the world of interior design. Projects include the installation of a massive bamboo ‘Wave’ construction at the restaurant Simon At The Palms, Palms Casino, Las Vegas. Another creation is a knotted rope curtain for the lobby of the Ace Hotel in Palm Springs, CA, woven from more than a mile of white cotton rope. Past projects include designing the VIP rooms of the Palladium nightclub in NYC, featuring the installation of black leather floors upon which silver studs spelled out the lyrics to the classic Iggy Pop song ‘Nightclubbing’ in Braille.
His costume and accessory designs are nothing short of body sculpture and last year the PMCA (Pasadena Museum of California Arts) featured much of his work in their California Design Biennial: Action/Reaction exhibit.
above: Rihanna wears his denim-printed metal mesh shorts on the cover of last month’s Rolling Stone
Working with stylists B. Ackerlund, Schmidt as also created other memorable outfits for Fergie. Hand-sewn snake scale and Swarovski studded body suits and boots for her 2010 appearance on American Idol Gives Back, chromed body armored catsuits, even a vacuum-formed and chromed corset.
Some of his pieces designed for Madonna’s 2008-2009 world tour:
DITA VON TEESE
Designs for Dita Von Teese include Swarovski Crystals soldered onto aviator glasses and the Swarovski crystal-embellished outfit and accessories worn in her Opium Den show:
Michael has created sterling silver and diamond jewelry, accessories and mesh clothes for rock n’ roll luxe brand Chrome Hearts:
Designer Michael Schmidt amongst a retrospective of his work at PMCA: