His obsession with singer Cher paved the way for his venture into the world of fashion design. Today, David Meister dresses the who’s who of Hollywood for red carpet events, keeping them and the world glamorous, one dress at a time.
TELL US A BIT ABOUT YOURSELF.
I grew up in Cincinnati, OH and from a young age I was very creative and opinionated. I always wanted to know “why,” and that was my constant question of choice. I had a great childhood and my parents always taught my brothers and me that you can do or become anyone you want to, as long as you work hard and do your best. When it was time for college, I was either going to be a designer or a brain surgeon. I know, I know … crazy… what can I say? I studied at the University of Cincinnati. It was a great program. It was a 5-year program and I had to do six internships before I graduated. Most of them were in NYC, including Danskin and Ellen Tracey.
DID YOU HAVE AN INFLUENCE IN YOUR YOUTH THAT INSPIRED YOU TO BECOME A FASHION DESIGNER?
I was always very interested in clothing. My favorite outfit in kindergarten were my purple bell-bottoms, red and white floral shirt and a red, white and blue belt. I loved it!! My poor parents. The first time that I was really aware that someone actually designed fabulous clothing as a career was when I saw the mid-summer premiere of the Sonny and Cher Show. Bob Mackie’s designs were flawless and when put on Cher they rocked the fashion world. I was obsessed. No one was like Cher. No one could wear clothes like Cher. I was in heaven. To this day, I must be honest – I am still obsessed with Cher.
21 YEARS SINCE LAUNCHING YOUR DAVID MEISTER BRAND. WHAT HAVE BEEN THE HIGHLIGHTS DURING THIS ‘COMING OF AGE’?
I have had many highlights during the 21 years since I launched my brand. The biggest one is that I have been able to build a company that has existed so long and continues to go forward. Fashion is a very tough business and I am very proud of this fact. I have been lucky enough to have the most amazing teams of talented people.
WERE THERE DISAPPOINTMENTS ALONG THE WAY?
There were many disappointments along the way. So many things often don’t go the way you planned. You need to stay focused on the big picture and be quick with creative solutions.
LESSONS LEARNED …
The most important things I have learned are always to listen to your gut and keep moving forward. Don’t stop …if you do, you’ll get run over.
YOU HAVE DRESSED SOME REALLY INFLUENTIAL WOMEN – SHARON STONE, VIOLA DAVIS, DIANE LANE, SOFIA VERGARA, TINA FEY, SIGOURNEY WEAVER, JANE FONDA TO NAME A FEW. WHAT IS IT LIKE DRESSING THE WHO’S WHO OF THE SILVER SCREEN?
It is always fun to dress famous celebrities for the red carpet. I have been lucky enough to work with some of the most amazingly talented women. When you are on the red carpet the entire world is watching. You need to not only look great but feel great.
WHAT DOES YOUR CREATIVE PROCESS ENTAIL?
My creative process is very fluid. Sometimes I start with a sketch and sometimes I start with fabric or some other inspiration. Fashion is a reflection of what is going on in the world – economically, socially, musically, creatively. It is global. I love to be aware of as much as possible that is happening in the world. As a designer what you create needs to be a reflection of what is happening and to be relevant.
TO WHAT DO YOU ATTRIBUTE YOUR SUCCESS?
I think I have been successful because I love what I do and have a great passion for the fashion business. I am very determined and hate the word ‘No’. I love interacting with people and most importantly laughing with them. I love to learn something new every day. I don’t take myself so seriously. It’s fashion, not a cure for cancer.
WHO IS DAVID AT HOME?
Hmmm, David at home – I am pretty chill … for me. Which means I am a low-grade type A instead of full-throttle type A! I have been together with my partner Alan Siegel for 25 years and we are obsessed with Petey, our Havanese, who is in my humble opinion the cutest dog in the world. We live in Los Angeles and Palm Springs. We are really into traveling, interiors and adding to our art collection.
EXCITING PROSPECTS ON THE HORIZON?
I am currently working on finalizing additional licensing deals as well as partnering with digital firms to create some specific products for online retail. I intend to keep the world glamorous one dress at a time.