Dressed for Success

PHOTO COURTESY OF DAVID MEISTER

David Meister’s journey to become a fashion designer to the stars is based on “no rules” and creating timelessness.

A fashion designer or a brain surgeon. As a kid, the “very opinionated” David Meister already decided he was going to be one or the other. It was Cher who convinced him to choose fashion. Or actually, her dress.

Meister couldn’t help but notice how great Cher looked on “The Sonny & Cher Comedy Hour.“ “I watched the credits where it said ‘Cher’s Gown by Bob Mackie,’ and that’s how I realized that people could really do that,” he says, meaning design celebrity evening wear. From that point on, Meister put himself on a path toward fashion stardom.

Meister went on to study Fashion at the University of Cincinnati College of Design. He would later move on to New York City where he worked at Danskin, a fitness and body wear company. There, Meister learned to work with all types of fabric and how it can be used to effortlessly accentuate and flatter a woman’s form. It wasn’t long before he had his first collection of evening wear in 1998, followed closely by his first fall line, which was composed of the more modern evening wear that came to be the beginnings of his brand and signature style. His career has only grown since the 1990s, as he’s gone on to create a daytime dress collection, a line of bridal dresses, and numerous pieces that can be found in top luxury department stores like Neiman Marcus and Saks Fifth Avenue, as well as top boutiques across the country.

Apart from his overall love for all things fashion, Meister notes that the aspect of fashion that appeals to him is that it’s always moving. “I love it because it’s never static or ever the same — it’s always different and it’s always changing, and it’s quick. There are no rules, there are no formulas.” He also says that design itself is just another form of creative problem solving — “problems” he continues to solve by creating beautiful pieces in a style that offers a “sense of timelessness” so they will stay fashionable no matter the decade. This style not only makes him stand out as an iconic designer, but as a master of his craft.

What keeps people coming back to Meister’s style is his judgment in terms of design, particularly with fit. “I think a great fit is key, something beautifully made that fits beautifully,” which helps him remain inclusive of all sizes. This is essential, especially for his clients who are walking the red car-pet, noting, “once you put a dress on and go on the red carpet, you should not be thinking about anything except smiling and feeling good you shouldn’t have to worry about anything else.”

PHOTO COURTESY OF DAVID MEISTER

 

Meister’s pieces have become staples on the red carpet, as his star-studded list of clientele continues to grow along stars such as Diane Lane, Sofia Vergara, Tina Fey, Sigourney Weaver, and many others. Some of his favorite dresses include a hot pink piece worn by Felicity Huffman at the Emmys in 2007, as well as Valerie Bertinelli’s sky blue chiffon dress for her New Year’s Eve wedding, a personal request made to Meister only a week before the wedding. Even with the razor thin deadline, he and his team finished the dress in time for the wedding, a lovely gown worn by Bertinelli that was also featured on the cover of People Magazine in 2011.

Another strong passion of Meister’s is giving back to others. Now residing in Los Angeles, he frequently works with philanthropic groups in his free time. For example, with The Art of Elysium, Meister goes to communities in Los Angeles to support individuals in the midst of difficult emotional life challenges such as illness, hospitalization, or crisis. He does this by spending time with children or young adults, doing fun projects and helping them to be creative and expressive with art. Meister is also very involved in Dress for Success, having donated dresses and supported the organization as a whole.

PHOTO COURTESY OF DAVID MEISTER

“I’ve always been a big supporter of this organization that works so hard to help people who are trying to put their lives back together and get back into the workforce,” Meister says, noting that it’s especially important for people to give back.

No matter the facet of life he sets his mind to, Meister showcases unwavering determination to succeed. When discussing his goals for the future, he humorously yet seriously says, “Simple: global domination.” Though these plans might take some time to reach their full effect, he adds that “if there’s something I want to do, I’ll do it.” He also recommends to anyone else interested in pursuing a career in fashion that this field is not for the faint-hearted.

PHOTO COURTESY OF DAVID MEISTER

 

Helen Mirren

©2013 JON KOPALOFF

Julia Louis-Dreyfus

 

PHOTO BY JOHN SHEARER / ©2009 WIREIMAGE

Viola Davis

PHOTO BY MATT BARON / BEI / SHUTTERSTOCK

Delilah Hamlin

PHOTO BY DAN MACMEDAN / WIREIMAGE

Diane Lane

PHOTO COURTESY OF DAVID MEISTER

Emmanuelle Chirqui 

“Fashion is one of those professions where if you’re talented and you just keep going, there’s no limit to where you can end up … You’re the master of your own destiny, but only if you want it, you have to work hard for it.”

 

     

This editorial originally appeared in The High End Winter 2020.