Maria Brito is a fiery Venezuelan who you can’t help but love. A Harvard-educated attorney, Brito possessed a passion for art and design that led her to give up law to launch Lifestyling, a full-service art advisory and design company. She started integrating design, art, fashion, and “life curating” well before the rest of the world jumped on the “curating” and “collaborating” bandwagon. Now based in New York for several years, she is about to launch her second fashion collaboration, Feminine Irreverence. Full disclosure: Maria’s energy and advice inspire me as much as any fine, visual artist. Total girl crush!
Feminine Irreverence is intended to channel a group exhibit of top women artists. The “show” (if you will) features Katherine Bernhardt, Natalie Frank, and Trudy Benson. It includes 18 pieces of acrylic clutches and scarves handmade in the United States. I had a chance to download with my new favorite art-world maven herself to get the full scoop.
D: What made you decide it was time to launch a fashion product line?
MB: It was a natural extension of what I was already doing. There was a gap in product collaboration with artists. We were only seeing mass production, and eventually consumers feel oversaturated when something becomes “too available.” You feel less compelled to acquire when nothing seems different. I wanted to extend my brand to really scale and curate my products. People get to walk away with an exclusive, unique piece of art in their hands. We are creating something that defines a moment in time.
D: Why accessories, and why Bernhardt, Frank, and Benson?
MB: I am doing all accessories first because it’s the most simple. I partnered with a Paris showroom for international distribution. I chose these particular artists because I wanted to work with three women whose art moved me. This time around, the group is more emerging and all Brooklyn based. It was fun learning what they were thinking when they worked on their pieces. This project needed to have the level of integrity I put into everything. I work first with my eyes, intuition. The way to pick things that work best is to fall in love with your eyes first and then the story behind it. This is pure art. Professionals in the gallery world understand this bridge between bridging the fun, passion, and creativity with the intellectual. The rest of the market is evolving.
D: I am in awe of how much you accomplish every day. How do you do it with a family and full life?
MB: A keen eye, passion, and integrity! For every 20 efforts, only a fraction “take” but I work hard and stick with it.
D: How can we acquire these awesome clutches and scarves?
MB: They are available in 12 stores worldwide. A few sources are in NYC and online at Kirna Zabête, the Standard Hotel boutique, Alchemist in Miami, Urban Flower Grange Hall in Dallas, Joyce in Hong Kong, and Takashimaya in Tokyo. You can also go to mariabrito.com.
D: Who is the dream artist collaboration?
MB: Beatriz Milhazes! Those colors, shapes, and flowers are so exuberant and optimistic. I would go crazy with embroideries and textiles and would go to create just about everything I could within the accessories categories.