I first learned about the MICHI brand, unsurprisingly, in a fashion magazine. I remember being struck by the minimal (yet carefully placed to be eye-catching and sexy) mesh details on otherwise simple black leggings. My introduction to Michelle Watson, the Canadian woman behind the brand, came during a trip to New York City when I happened to see that she was hosting a trunk show at Bandier (one of my favorite places to shop for activewear in the city, by the way). She could not have been more helpful and kind, and I left with a few key pieces (these leggings, this sports bra, and a top similar to this one) that became the building blocks of my current MICHI collection.
What I love about the brand – i.e. it’s edgy, subtly provocative vibe combined with high-performance materials, is the perfect metaphor for its creator. Michelle is an accomplished athlete (she was a competitive downhill skier and golfer in high school) and dancer who maintains an enviable level of physical activity (including martial arts, running, and aerial yoga, among other things, in her spare time) while developing what is fast becoming a cult following for her high end, fashion forward designs.
She studied fashion design at Parsons and went on to work with labels like Donna Karan and RLX/Ralph Lauren before launching her own brand in 2010. Her style inspirations are, in her own words, “bondage, pin-up girls, vintage lingerie, sport, and super heroines.” She designs for women who are confident, strong, and fearless, with a unique sense of style. And that pretty much describes how you feel when you are wearing any of her designs.
Here, without further ado, are the answers to the Proust Questionnaire of Dita Von Teese’s alter ego, Michelle Watson.
What is your idea of perfect happiness? Being with family and friends while being surrounded by beauty, serenity, adventure and excitement.
What is your greatest fear? Boredom.
What is the trait you most deplore in yourself? Sometimes I’m too extreme. I’m trying to be more balanced.
What is the trait you most deplore in others? Feelings of contempt
Which living person do you most admire? A great example is Malala because she had the boldness and courage to continually to stand up for the right for women’s education while living in fear of the Taliban.
What is your greatest extravagance? Massage and acupuncture
What is your current state of mind? Figuring out the next big thing while focusing on calming my mind
What do you consider the most overrated virtue? Being opinionated.
On what occasion do you lie? If it’s for the greater good.
What do you most dislike about your appearance? When my skin gets pasty white in the winter. On the bright side, I can channel my inner Dita Von Teese.
Which living person do you most despise? Martin Shrkeli
What is the quality you most like in a man? Sense of humor
What is the quality you most like in a woman? Sense of humor
Which words or phrases do you most overuse? Sure! Great! Thank you! Cool! Awesome! (I sometimes talk in my sleep, and have been known to repeat some of these words over and over)
What or who is the greatest love of your life? My husband of course!
When and where were you happiest? When I caught my first green wave in Costa Rica.
Which talent would you most like to have? A beautiful (singing) voice
If you could change one thing about yourself, what would it be? To be more punctual and not get too lost in the moment while losing time. I’m always working on better time management.
What do you consider your greatest achievement? Starting MICHI from nothing (simply some small personal savings) and growing to become an emerging business.
If you were to die and come back as a person or a thing, what would it be? Another human (with an occupation using talent chosen above), I might get bored as an animal or a tree.
Where would you most like to live? Somewhere overlooking the ocean or sea, close to mountains and reasonably close to a cosmopolitan city. Perhaps, Malibu or the Italian Riviera.
What is your most treasured possession? My passport.
What do you regard as the lowest depth of misery? Loss of freedom.
What is your favorite occupation? A performer.
What is your most marked characteristic? Being creative.