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in the studio


Inspired by Sofia Coppola's film, Marie Antoinette, our Spring/Summer 2014 Neon Baroque collection is fun and irreverent, lending a punk spin to elegant designs. For our New York Fashion Week presentation, designer Lisa Salzer envisioned decadent up-dos with splashes of color alongside full tulle skirts and skillfully structured corsets.  To capture this look Lisa partnered with clothing designer Mary Kahle. Between the two of them, a stunning wardrobe came to life in the form of cropped lace-up corsets and robust tulle skirts in variations of color. After hours of work, the presentation commenced. Seven stunning models stood in our temporarily transformed NYC studio adorned in Marie Antoinette-like fashion. We went behind the scenes with Mary to cover her design process. Read more in our Q&A below:


Tell us a little bit about your background?

I was born in Pittsburgh, PA. I started sewing at age 8 and became obsessed with how 2-dimensional fabric can be used to create 3-dimensional forms.  I've been passionately involved in fine art and design my entire life.  I attended RISD (Rhode Island School of Design) and earned a BFA in Apparel Design in 2012.  I've interned for companies including Billy Reid, Alexander McQueen, Ohne Titel and Wes Gordon.

How did you first learn about Lulu Frost?

My good friend from RISD and current roommate, Victoria LaMantia, works for Lulu Frost .  Through her, I have been lucky enough to meet many people on the Lulu team.

How did you end up designing the wardrobe for the Neon Baroque presentation?

Lisa had been debating whether she wanted to use vintage pieces for the presentation or create her own look for the wardrobe.  I met Lisa several times and she knew of my sewing and design background and reached out to me about her ideas for the presentation.

What was your inspiration?

We wanted to create a modern look while maintaining the essence of Marie Antoinette and all things baroque.  The tops have traditional corset lace-up backs but are cropped to a very modern length and the skirts are made of typical tulle but the layers of color are intriguing.

How many hours did the entire process take?

In total, I worked 75 hours from drape to finish.  Sewing time for one entire look was about 7 hours.

What was your favorite part of the whole process?

I loved the whole process! Even wrestling with yards and yards of tulle in my small apartment.  I think the best part was getting to work with Lisa and the amazing Lulu Frost team and seeing the whole thing come together so beautifully.

What was your favorite part of the presentation?

Everything! From the dripping Lulu Frost jewels, to the wonderfully colored coifs, it was just the right amount of opulence in a perfect setting that transported you to Marie Antoinette's private party circa 2013.

We're recently enamored with the term "Modvin" (modern + vintage). How would you define this?

I think modern vintage can be defined as taking a vintage piece or vintage inspired silhouette and transforming the shape and style by adding modern touches such as converse sneakers with a vintage tulle ballet skirt and a denim jacket.  I think it's important to have fun with vintage pieces and make them your own.

What's your next big project?

Currently, I'm working on making select looks from a collection I designed a while ago but never had time to finish.  Other than that, I would love to continue to collaborate and make custom pieces for clients.

How can people follow you?

My website: (it's undergoing some changes and will be up and running by the end of September).  

and of course...

Instagram: @kahlemari

See more photos from our Neon Baroque Presentation here.