Chit Chat: A Q&A With Michel Onofrio
In a cool kid's world: generations of refined pupils keep their eyes peeled for mini-muses in the making through editions of petitePARADE Presents Kids Fashion Week. Michel Onofrio’s story begins in the 80’s—an era of emphasis, expensive dressing, & color (lots of color, darling). When the “pump” was not only a shoe but also the common way of saying: “raise the volume!”.
She started at the bottom as a sales rep. for the Barney’s co-op in Chelsea where her keen sensibility for fashion & art fueled her talent to the top of the sales chart.
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This time around… we sat, sipped, and talked trends with children’s wardrobe stylist Michel Onofrio.
pP: Name three brands 8-year-old Michel Onofrio would wear in five seconds.
MO: Scotch & Soda. Mimisol. Stella McCartney.
pP: What’s one trend that has translated from the petitePARADE runway into the P.S (public school) sidewalk’s & playground streets?
MO: I didn’t invent the wheel but if I have to own-up to a trend I would say: high-socks paired with sneakers. A common trend seen at Bonnie Young the past two seasons.
pP: Talk to us about the time you opened your own store in San Francisco, Salon De Te.
MO: There was a time in my career where I was frequenting California, it was at the peak of the grunge era in the 90’s and fashion was at an all-time high. Being born in Brooklyn exposed me to different cultural customs and ways of dress. Working at Barney’s gave me access to contemporary designers like Kate Spade, Aurora Lopez Mejia, & TOCA—to name a few. I developed relationships and introduced their brands to the west coast market in effort to bridge the gap between high fashion and prominent trends in California at the time. I opened Salon De Te, a boutique specializing in up-and-coming brands and designers that offered a competitive edge in the market. Salon De Te quickly became a go-to destination for celebrities, socialites and trendsetters.
pP: What made you specialize in kid’s fashion?
MO: I was working on campaigns for global brands like Barney’s New York, Lord & Taylor, ABS, & Bloomingdales. I had the opportunity to work with kids from time to time — here is where I discovered a passion for styling kids.
pP: Do you inject your personal style into your work with kids?
MO: Truth be told, I fantasize of being a child from the “selfie-generation”. Growing up, I was dressed in frocks and stockings; but today’s kids get to play dress-up in miniature versions of their parent’s outfits. Needless to say, the time to be a kid is NOW! I definitely draw inspiration from my personal style and wardrobe to create story ideas and mood boards.
pP: Who’s was your style inspiration growing up?
MO: My cousins. I often dig into memories of childhood photos for inspiration. As a little girl I looked to my cousins for style and beauty advice—I was intrigued by their ability to dress impeccably.
pP: Share a piece of advice for every trendsetting kid that aspires to dress the next generation of fashion.
MO: Believe in yourself. Follow your dreams. Work hard! It’s not an easy business but you have to believe in yourself. Confidence is key.