Photo: Brian Doben

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Michelle Smith
Michelle Smith interned in Europe with luxury-goods heavyweights Hermès, Vuitton, and Dior—one reason her collection, which debuted in 2000, has such superior quality and workmanship. Unlike those houses, however, she doesn't charge prices only the superrich can afford, and she isn't caught up in attention-getting, over-the-top runway stuff. "'Wearable,' to me, is the ultimate compliment," she says.

Why You'll Like Her Look

There are options for different bodies "I make a sleeveless dress but also one with sleeves," says Smith. "A few years ago, my skirts got pretty short, and customers complained. Now I build in a bigger hem so people can let it down if they want."

Its fun spirit Her happy palette and whimsical shapes are inspired partly by Michelle's mother, "a child of the '60s. I loved her bright minis, fantastic coats, and go-go boots."

The built-in accessories Notice-me prints, lively colors, and fanciful details (beading, dramatic buttons, gold chains) mean that you don't need additional embellishment, which simplifies life. "I'm superbusy. I can't be overdressed or schlumpy," Haddon says, "and I must be comfortable."

It's youthful but not silly The clothes are adorable enough to appeal to 29-year-old LaToya McLean, while also discreet enough for people in their 50s and 60s. Now 35, Michelle says, "As I get older, my collection is maturing, too."
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