West Coast Celebrity Designer Alexia María Is Heading To NYC Just In Time For NYFW 2018

West Coast celebrity designer Alexia María Esquer knew at an early age that New York was where she was going to wind up. The Mexican-born designer spent her childhood commuting to California for school and returning home to Mexico, but dreams of the Big Apple were always there. Inspired by the elegance and grace of the 1950s, she would stay up at night, watching Grace Kelly movies and vintage film reels of career girl-turned-first lady Jackie Kennedy strutting her stuff and imagined those styles on the streets of New York.

Designer Alexia María Esquer
Designer Alexia María Esquer

Photo Credit: Alexia María “Those are the styles always inspired me.. Jackie, Grace…those timeless looks are what I love.”

Alexia took that inspiration to the sewing machine and made her passion a priority. After graduating from college in Mexico, she found her way to New York via the Fashion Institute of Technology where she studied fashion styling and design. Back on the West Coast, she launched her eponymous collection in the spring of 2014 with a flagship store in San Diego. “That’s where it all started.”

Alexia María brought her dreams to life with custom-created silhouette-driven gowns and unique designs like the Convertible Collection comprised of innovative pieces that allow for multiple styling options including full length skirts over pants, jumpsuits or mini skirts. “The convertible collection became very popular.”

Popular enough to attract A-list clients like Gwen Stefani (who wore a convertible skirt/pant ensemble during her live “Make Me Like You” performance at the 58th GRAMMY Awards), Julianne Hough, America Ferrera, Abigail Spencer, Kimberly Schlapman, Hilary Duff, Tori Kelly, Aimee Song, Blair Eadie and more.

The Convertible Collection by Alexia Marie
The Convertible Collection by Alexia Marie

Photo Credit: Alexia María
“Then we opened an online store and started to attract more clientele from the East Coast and abroad. The goal then became to bring the line to New York where our customers could come directly to us. Now we are doing it.”

In September 2018, just in time for New York Fashion Week, Alexia María will be opening the doors to her flagship store on the Upper East Side at 27 East 67th Street. The store will be all Alexia María – from the complete collection on display to the ‘50s inspired designs to the Hollywood movie screening events and custom-created Champagne bell, perfect for ringing to request a celebratory glass of bubbly after a fitting or alteration.

“It is a dream come true.”

Ahead of the store opening, we chatted with Alexia María about her heritage, designs and every piece a woman should have in her closet.
You grew up in Mexico, but spent a lot of your childhood in California. How has your heritage influenced you?

I grew up in Mexico but am based in USA so I try to combine the best of both worlds. I really want to highlight the arts and culture of Mexico. Once you really get to know what Mexico is, the culture,  you get a different perspective and I want to incorporate that into my work. For example my grandmother is a painter, and I am planning on using some of her paintings and art into my next collection. Into the fabric.

How do you feel about bringing your brand to New York?

Well, New York was always the goal, so it is exciting. But also very intimidating. I am very excited about it because we already have customers based here. They would always email us asking to come to trunk shows. We would come more and more and the idea started to expand and the next step was the store.  

What makes your style stand out against the rest?

The bows are our most popular. Customers are always asking for a piece with a bow and there is one as part of the logo. Aside from the bow, our structured and clean lines. The silhouettes. We have best become known for the Convertible Collection. It’s all about having a two-in-one dress that can be a  jumpsuit and an over skirt, or convertible skirt and mini skirt. It’s very popular with modern brides because you can wear it to the ceremony with the long skirt and then take that off for the party. And we do all our styles in different colors so you can get creative with that, too.

Are pants for wedding something you do often?

Yes, pants for a wedding or any formal event or gala. We are seeing a lot of women wearing pants more than dresses.

ii_jju2alvl0_164b806ede2dc917Photo Credit: Alexia María

We know you are inspired by the stars and styles of the 1950s – Who do you think has great style from the modern day?

Amal Clooney. I love her style. She is very modern but still elegant, classic and timeless. I loved her look for the Royal WeddingAnd it’s impressive that she is fully rounded. She loves fashion and is an influencer but a humanitarian first.  

What fashion staples should every woman have in her wardrobe?

A little black dress. A comfortable pair of heels.A very basic, white crisp shirt. That always looks good and can be dressed up and down. A good pair of denim. And a gown that you can wear for any last minute event but that you can wear any season. The convertible dress is perfect for this.

Since your line is more about classics than trends, how do you feel about women experimenting with trends?

I would say if you feel confident with a trend, go for it. If you are just wearing it because it’s trendy and you don’t feel comfortable, it wont’ work. Whatever you wear, if you feel confident, you can pull it off.