One never knows who’s browsing among booths at an art show.
For fashion designer Cynthia LaMaide of Rochester, a touch of Hollywood entered her life at the Ann Arbor Art Show.
LaMaide was selling a variety of her handmade pieces, from scarves to tops, when a woman stopped by her booth to chat.
“She was a costume professional for movies. She saw my pieces and said, ‘These are perfect for a movie I’ll be working on.’ ”
The costume expert (Debra McGuire) was referring to the upcoming film Wanderlust, starring Jennifer Aniston. The movie features a woman who wants to have a simpler life.
Wanderlust is set to be in theaters early next year; in the film, Aniston will be wearing LaMaide's creations.
The designer has worked on five films in Michigan thanks to the state film incentive.
One of those was TUG. For that movie, LaMaide worked as a costume designer with film director Abram Makowka.
“Cynthia is an epic talent,” Makowka said. “Her clothes brought a visual dimension to our female protagonist admittedly not on the page and an emotion resonance that could never be put into words. There is a magic about Cynthia and her work that always brought depth and elevated each scene where her touch was on display.”
Following the aforementioned Ann Arbor Art show, LaMaide sent a variety of pieces to the Wanderlust staff based on McGuire’s request.
“I’m proud that they chose my pieces,” said the designer, whose clothes help to transform Wanderlust characters’ looks to more natural and organic. The story line includes an urban couple who purchase a place in New York, and then the husband loses his job. With no other options, the couple leaves for Georgia to live with family.
LaMaide was recently busy preparing for a Showroom Seven event in New York, at which she was to show some 20 pieces of her work to a variety of buyers. The buyers will be looking for apparel for spring 2012.
LaMaide recently traveled to France to show her work in the Prêt a Porter Paris Expo Show.
Eco-fashion a priority
Using natural fibers, LaMaide combines fiber-art techniques such as felting, knitting, weaving and painting.
Besides creating unique designs, LaMaide says she focuses on sustainability.
“I don’t have any waste; I use all the fabric for things like felting or other techniques,” she said. She also uses organic fabrics, yarns and cottons.
“I like to make my own fabrics,” she explained, adding that she purchases her yarns from an Italian mill. “They have these great yarns and I knit them on a knitting loom and then drape what I create onto a dress form, loosely. Then I alter it to enhance the body.” She also likes to paint on fabric or use a marbling technique.
“It’s funny, at the shows here, people love the felted and knit pieces but I don’t see a lot of interest in marbling. Yet, in Europe they love it. This one shop in Switzerland bought tons of marbled pieces.”
Patterned after Grandma
“My grandma was always making things,” said LaMaide, who grew up in a rural area in Wisconsin. “She had a loom and wove and made clothes; that’s where I picked it up, I did it every day.”
LaMaide, who went to Arizona State and majored in clothing design and textiles, sewed all the time when in junior and high schools. “I actually sold my designs in high school,” she said.
LaMaide moved to Rochester in 2002 from Miami when her husband landed a position at Beaumont Hospital in Troy.
“There’s a lot of really talented people here in Michigan,” she said. “There’s been talk of starting a garment district in the state; I hope they do.”
With her recent growth, LaMaide plans to expand and perhaps hire some assistants.
“With CCS, Wayne State, Eastern and the new Art Institute of Michigan in Troy, there are a lot of students here and a lot of focus on fashion.”
To see Cynthia LaMaide’s work, visit her web site at www.cynthialamaide.com.