Her designs are fierce and have been seen in some of the most prominent shows across the world. Therese Marie, red-carpet fashion designer, and the creative brainchild behind The Therese Marie Collection is gearing up for a stellar event in the form of a luxury fashion show in October. The beautiful Cynthia Bailey, of The Real Housewives of Atlanta alumna, model, and entrepreneur, and humanitarian, who has millions of social media followers will Co-host the special charity event. The Heeld Luxury Fashion Show will also have two additional hosts, one of them is Miss United States of America 2022, Keerah Carter and the other is, Miss Milwaukee Jada Davis, the first Black woman in history to be crowned Miss Milwaukee. Also in attendance will be our special guest Nikki Rich, host of The Nikki Rich Show, and OWN network ambassador.
Just in time for the beautiful season of Fall, the red-carpet showcase will be full of celebrities, as well as having a variety of media outlets, social media influencers, bloggers, and magazines in attendance. Throughout the event, guests will be served champagne and appetizers. This will also be a great networking opportunity for all guests. Therese Marie says, “It’s been a journey for me, but I have stayed on course. I’ve had the opportunity to dress people for numerous red-carpet events. My pieces have been at the Oscar’s, the Stellar Awards, the BET Awards, and the Grammy’s. I’m excited for people to look out for what’s next with my brand.”
Anytime people can come together for a noteworthy cause all while showcasing the beauty of fashion is a grand thing. Therese Marie has worked diligently over the years to solidify her position as a master designer who creates unique and memorable pieces for people of all shapes and sizes. She is very thankful for those who have supported her and says, “Heeld will also give back to a few charities. We will hold a silent auction in which 100% of the proceeds will go to our selected charities. Businesses will donate services or products to be auctioned off for a great cause. The chief sponsor of the event, Dr. Shontina Gladney is a breast cancer survivor herself. We are very thankful to her and all she has done. We also just added a new sponsor that has recently come on board, which is CRC Employment and Entrepreneurial services. They are coming in a big way.”
I had a chance to sit down with the fashion guru and talk about the upcoming Heeld Luxury Fashion show, as well as the new and exciting things she is preparing for.
Therese Marie, you are a fashion designer whose work has been seen all over the world. For those who don’t know, tell us a little bit about how you got your start in the industry.
I was a tailor for many, many years. I had been making clothes and I did go to college for fashion design, but I was just making my own clothes and making clothes for friends and family. Then I was asked to do a fashion show with one of my really good friends. She has a huge, very successful boutique here in Milwaukee. I got a lot of good reception. I was really excited about it. That’s where it took off. That was about nine years ago.
Did you ever see yourself as a fashion designer while you were growing up?
Yes, it’s so funny that when I was young, my parents told me this. I remember it, but not as vividly. But I used to make my parents sit and I would go and dress my brothers and sisters. I would be like, “I’m dressing everybody.” I had to be five or six. I would dress them and I’m like, “Okay, mom, dad sit down.” Then I would let them come out one by one. It’s so funny, I was doing a fashion show at five years old and didn’t even know. It is so funny. They bring it up all the time and I’m like, I remember very little, but yeah. They were like, “We knew you liked clothes.”
Now Therese, you’ve teamed up with the beautiful and inspirational Cynthia Bailey known for her modeling career, being an entrepreneur, and her time on Bravo Tv’s the Real Housewives of Atlanta. How did this collaboration come about and why is Cynthia the perfect co-host for your stellar event?
Okay. I absolutely adore Cynthia Bailey. I love the way that she dresses and carries herself. I love how she presents herself to the world. She’ll switch up a wig, an outfit, and try new things with her looks. That’s something I love as a fashion designer. When the show came about, we were like, who should we bring? The only person that my team and I thought about was Cynthia. She was literally first on our list. Now she’s going to be a part of the show. We are really, really excited about that.
Tell us a little bit about the name, The “Heeld” Luxury Fashion Show. You have a little play on words there with the word healed, as it’s spelled H-E-E-L-D for your event. Tell us about that.
Yes. Well, the word “Heeld” literally means to pour into, it’s like a pouring effect. That’s what we’re doing. We’re pouring inspiration into people. That’s how we included the charities, which are very important to me. Also, “heeld” is the heel on your shoe, which the models will be ripping and running the runway with heels. It’s like a play on two-word meanings and it just is the perfect word for the show.
The Heeld Luxury Fashion Show takes place on October 29th in Milwaukee, and you’ll be celebrating several high-end fashion designers from across the country. Tell us what else attendees can expect on this monumental night.
Well, we have myself, and my new collection, which I’m going to debut in Paris. That collection will be shown. For those who love the men’s wear and for the men in. general, we have you all the way taken care of. We have one of the top stylists from Milwaukee who is going to be showing his collection. I’m really, really excited about it. You will see fashions from four different perspectives from four different designers. You will definitely see what’s new and see what we’re thinking about.
I know this event is near and dear to your heart. Why did you choose to do a charity fashion show at this time, and what did your thinking process involve?
Well, this is the first show that I’m producing on my own. My previous productions I did collaborations. I’m producing the show. For two reasons, I decided to use it as a charity. One, for breast cancer research. One of my good friends who I talked to, loved and adored, who also became a family friend. She was diagnosed with breast cancer five years ago. She recently passed and wasn’t able to come to this show. She was just literally my biggest supporter. Every show, you would hear her screaming to the top of her lungs, “That’s my friend!” She supported me from the very, very beginning, even when my stitches were crooked. I had thread hanging from clothes. She would always tell me I’m the best designer out there. This is just pouring love back into her and then just inspiring women who are going through being diagnosed and on their journey to healing. The venue location is perfect, and it belongs to Shontina Gladney, who is a breast cancer survivor. She is doing very well, and I am looking forward to having the show in her venue.
You are working on some wonderful things, I hear you have not one, but TWO Paris fashion week runway shows, how exciting. Run us through the preparations for something as big as this.
Oh goodness. I’m really excited to go back to Paris and show this collection, which is very dear to my heart. Because the collection is like my redemption. Everybody has gone through a challenging time with COVID and I had to restructure my business. One of the things that caused me calmness, and to bring me back was taking long walks on the water in which in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, we have a beautiful lakefront. I go out there as much as I can. I watch the water and that’s where this collection is coming from. Coming out of the water. Redeeming yourself. Reinventing yourself. This collection will show that.
What else can we expect from you in the near future?
Well, my clothes will be in two new stores. I’m really excited about that. One is in New York and then one will actually be at the same location where the venue for the Heeld Luxury Show will be in Milwaukee. I’m really excited about just showing the world my new collection. You’ll be able to go online and get my pieces. The pieces are for all women of all shapes and sizes who want to stand out, look beautiful and feel comfortable in their pieces.
If you were to sum up your philosophy about fashion in a few sentences, what would you say?
To dress unapologetically. Never apologize for your fashion style or what makes you comfortable. It’s just a way of self-expression. Jeans and a t-shirt are fashionable. Because some people say, oh, well I don’t really dress up. I just wear jeans and t-shirt. That’s fashion. Someone created that and made it for you, and it fits you and you feel comfortable and beautiful in it. It’s your style. I dress women of all shapes and sizes. I just want everybody to feel comfortable and never apologize for that. It doesn’t have to be the most expensive piece. You can go from couture to shopping at the Goodwill and come out with something beautiful. It’s all about what you feel, not what someone says is fashion. It’s what you say is fashion. That’s fashion.
The chief sponsor of the event, Dr. Shontina Gladney is a breast cancer survivor herself, so I know how important it is for you to give back to those who pour into you. Where can people go to learn more about the event and some of the sponsorship opportunities that you have?
Yes. You can go to www.heeldluxuryfashionshow.com. It will show all the sponsors that we have and address how others can become one. We will include all sponsors in all of our marketing. We also have a silent auction for this show. Any business with a product or a service, can donate and we will auction it off. 100% of the proceeds will go directly to our charities. The other one is also the women’s center of Milwaukee, which gives clothes for both women and children and families who are on their way back from hardships. We’re giving back to these organizations. By being a part of the silent auction, you can give back as well.
Who inspires you?
Claire Sulmers. She is amazing. She is someone who I inspired with my own fashion designs as well. She loves my fashion. By meeting her and her telling me that she loves my collection was a pivotal moment for me. That really meant a lot. She has a huge platform. I think she has two million followers over there at Fashion Bomb Daily. I love her fashion style. She’s unapologetic and just switches it up. She’ll throw a wig on and take it off and just go.
Photo Credits: www.instagram.com/cynthiabailey/ & Therese Marie