Born and raised in New York, fashion designer Cristina Ottaviano graduated from the Fashion Institute of Technology in New York, as well as from the Central Saint Martin in London. While she was studying, she worked as an intern for Marc Jacobs and Oscar de la Renta. Her impressive résumé also boasts some time at Marchesa, where she truly proved her worth. Reflecting her longtime passion for Italian art, architecture, and fashion, Ottaviano’s first line seeks inspiration from Sir John Everett Millais’s painting of Ophelia. The Feminine, elegant, and delicate dresses she makes are made from silk, lace, tulle, chiffon and they reflect her impeccable attention to detail.
For the prestigious Fashion Institute of Technology “Make A Difference” Foundation Gala, she designed a dress for honoree Joan Hornig. Hornig had only wonderful things to say about the designer, including, “Cristina represents everything I value in a designer—ability, taste, impeccable education from FIT and experience. Equally impressive is her commitment to giving back to others.”
We chatted with Ottaviano and got the answers we’ve been dying to know about her line and success.
When did you realize you wanted to become a fashion designer?
When I was a child, I would watch my mother dress for events and galas. I fell in love with fashion and the art of self expression.
How would you describe the Cristina Ottaviano woman?
The Cristina Ottaviano woman is elegant, confident, and romantic.
If you had to choose a muse among the models and actresses of our time, who would it be?
What would be your definition of femininity and elegance?
Femininity and elegance come from within. It’s how we, as women, express our innate beauty.
Where does your inspiration come from?
Inspiration for me comes from anywhere, really…A place or an experience, a painting or a piece of art, architecture, nature, an interesting person etc….
What would you wear to go out on a date, on a business dinner…?
It depends on the venue and also on how I am feeling. In the evening, I prefer a dress and heels. For a business dinner, I prefer a draped leather skirt and chiffon blouse with a pair of gorgeous pumps.
How did you meet FIT Gala honoree Joan Hornig?
Joan and I met during New York Fashion Week. She attended my presentation at Radio City Music Hall. It was an honor when she asked me to create a piece for her.
What does Hornig’s gala gown look like?
Joan is wearing a custom gown with beautiful draping and intricate embroidery.