August 23 2014

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The 411: Maria Cornejo


Maria-CornejoDesigning wardrobe staples that also happen to be interesting is no easy feat. In fact, many would say that it’s an art mastered by a select few. Chilean-born, New York–based designer Maria Cornejo is certainly among them. Cornejo worked as a creative consultant for big-time retailers like Joseph and Jigsaw, and was one half of the design partnership Richmond Cornejo, before branching out to craft her eponymous line in the late nineties. A collection of fluid architectural silhouettes, many of them cut and draped from a solitary piece of fabric, is progressive minimalism at its very finest, and her singular aesthetic has earned her discerning devotees like Christy Turlington, Tilda Swinton, and even First Lady Michelle Obama. Nowadays Cornejo, who has freestanding stores in New York and L.A. and a lengthy list of retailers around the globe, calls Brooklyn home, where she lives with her husband, photographer Mark Borthwick, and their two children. Here, she divulges some of her favorite local spots and splurges.

Solitary Scent: Escentric Molecules 01
“I first smelled this on Tim Blanks. On men or women, it’s pretty irresistible. Even my animals love it! I think it becomes about the wearer, which is important for any fragrance.”
Available at

The Essential Oil: Amika Obliphica Hair Treatment
“I have very thick hair and this product tames it down and makes it glossy.”
Available at

The Makeup Guru: Dick Page
“Dick is a close friend and an amazing artist. We’ve been working together for years now, and I love collaborating with him. He always brings something fresh to the makeup. He also knows all my music references because we are the same age!”

The Wonderful Workout: Re:Ab Pilates
“I couldn’t avoid it for any longer because it’s right down the hallway from my studio. Instead of taking a lunch I usually run into Re:Ab for 45 minutes to take a class once a week. I also love the YMCA on Atlantic Avenue in Brooklyn. There are lots of locals of all sorts (moms, dads, kids), and I really like to do the beginner’s yoga class, a.k.a. the ‘granny class’!”
For more information, visit

The Local Spa Stop: 119 Smith Street Spa
“Whenever I need a massage, I always go to 119 Smith Street Spa. It’s local, easy, and I can pop in. Or I go to the Relaxation Garden, also on Smith Street, for Chinese acupressure.”
For more information, visit; The Relaxation Garden, 130 Smith St., Brooklyn, (718) 624-7202.

The Acupuncturist: Jonathan Daniel
“Jonathan has been my acupuncturist for the past eight years. I go see him at Kamwo Herbal Pharmacy on Grand Street every Wednesday. He’s the best for stress relief and tension.”
For more information, visit

The Indispensable Beauty Tool: Clarisonic Brush
“I was recently given a brush as a gift and have been a convert ever since. It makes my skin look significantly brighter, so I make sure to use it every day.”
Available at

The Must-Have Makeup: Shiseido
“Dick has turned me onto some amazing new lipsticks called Perfect Rouge Tender Sheers from Shiseido that are my new beauty obsession. They are very moisturizing and almost like a sheer, tinted lip balm—perfect for summer.”Available at

The Go-To Lunch: Organic Avenue and Oaxaca Taqueria
“Organic Avenue is quick and easy food on the go. It’s good for you so you don’t have to think about it. I love the juices there, especially the Firebomb and Gazpacho. And then I love Oaxaca Taqueria. You can’t beat a taco in the middle of summer. It’s all fresh there, and I love that you can sit outside.”For more information, visit and

Photo: Courtesy of Maria Cornejo

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