Zigzag print V-neck tunic, Milly Minis ($150); Mykonos crochet cover-up, Milly ($265)

“A colorful cocktail of my years living in Paris and New York, being absorbed by the unique culture and energy of these two cities, combined with my innate love of art,” are what Michelle Smith says inform the aesthetic of her brand, Milly. “I design clothes that I myself would want to wear,” she adds. “Each Milly collection is like stepping into my dream wardrobe for the season.”

With an interest in fashion from a young age, Smith knew while interning at Christian Dior haute couture that she’d make it as a designer. “After paying my dues designing for other companies early in my career, I felt I had found my own unique style to bring to the world,” she says, noting that she defines her aesthetic as smart, sexy, and glamorous—ideal for fashionable Hamptons women. “I always love a sexy, colorful silk dress that shows some skin—there’s no easier outfit,” Smith says. “This summer is also all about shorts. The perfect Milly ensemble for the Hamptons is a bold, printed short over a bamboo-trim bikini, paired with a simple, loose blouse, and a colorful clutch.”

Smith introduces the East End to her designs, not only in the select boutiques that stock her Milly collections, such as Adornments Fine Jewelry in Sag Harbor, but also at Super Saturday, July’s annual event to support the Ovarian Cancer Research Fund. Participating in Super Saturday for 11 years, since the inception of her Milly brand, Smith says, “I feel passionately about supporting causes that advocate for women and children. It’s always a fun-filled day for a great cause. I love being a part of it.”” Smith also has been on the board of directors at the March of Dimes for more than five years and hosts a sale for the charity every year to raise funds to aid in preventing birth defects and premature births. These causes resonate with Smith, mother to Sophia, 5, and William, 3. Her clothing designs also reflect being a busy working mom, and with a customer base that ranges from 16- to 60-yearolds, “Versatility is key,” she says. “My favorite collection pieces can take me from a flurry of morning meetings to a business luncheon to after-work cocktails, give or take a few accessory changes.”

Describing her design process as very personal, Smith envisions styles and then begins sketching. “I work loyally with a handful of revered, old-world Italian and French fabric and print mills and enjoy poring through their centuries-old archives for inspiration,” she explains. “After archive visits, I map out my collections by color and fabric. Color tends to take center stage, and I love to mix and match my prints and colors together for exciting new combinations.” Smith calls her new fall line futuristic and modern, with technical fabrics and innovative finishes. “Clean, bold pops of color juxtapose a base of black and white,” Smith says. “I can’t wait to wear it!” Smith also favors leather for fall, as reflected in the short, leather-paneled dress, gorgeous leather circle skirt, cashmere sweaters with leather collars and cuffs, and an allover leather asymmetrical dress that are part of the upcoming line. “I can’t forget my chartreuse wool crepe petal skirt trimmed with a black leather waistband,” Smith adds. “So chic!”

Counting fashion-forward celebrities like Gwyneth Paltrow, Victoria Beckham, and Beyoncé as Milly fans, Smith is branching out beyond womenswear to include jewelry, handbags, Milly Minis children’’s collection, and now a bridal line. Often asked to create custom bridal gowns and noticing brides buying Milly dresses in bulk for bridesmaids, she launched a comprehensive bridal line when she opened her Madison Avenue flagship boutique. “The Milly bride is a peach! She is definitely not a bridezilla,” Smith says. “She is generally an accomplished, young professional, who looks to Milly as her destination label for each step of the wedding whirlwind—showers, rehearsal dinner, ceremony, reception, brunch, and her bridesmaids.”

With her brand already sold by the finest retailers, including Bergdorf Goodman, Neiman Marcus, Saks Fifth Avenue, Harrods, and akashimaya, Smith is looking forward to opening more of her own retail locations (perhaps in East Hampton or Southampton in time for next summer) and also delving into shoe and home design. But at the moment, she’s enjoying the summer in Water Mill with the family. “I’m pretty low-key when I’m out here. I love spending the day at the beach or lounging by the pool,” she says. “Simply stated: It is relaxing and beautiful.” Adornments Fine Jewelry, 83 Main St., Sag Harbor, 725-0051

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