Plus, shares her stylish eco-essentials.

By Melissa Ozawa
February 25, 2019
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Credit: Peter Ardito; Getty (bridge); Courtesy of Jill Platner (earrings)

Something remarkable happens when you put on a Zero + Maria Cornejo piece: You stand up taller and sharper, but you also feel amazingly unfettered. Stylish and unstoppable? Check. The proof is in the women who wear her: Michelle Obama, Mindy Kaling, Solange Knowles, and Cindy Sherman are all fans of Cornejo's flowing yet architectural clothes. The Chilean-born designer has been draping and cutting her influential silhouettes in New York City since 1998, responsibly designing much of her line with eco-friendly fabrics whenever possible. She's drawn to items with personal significance: a handbag her late mother-in-law gave her, jewelry made by a friend, textiles collected while traveling. "People need things for the heart right now," says Cornejo, who pours hers into everything she does. "Yes, we're creating a product, but it is meant for someone. It needs to have a life of its own."

Here, the designer takes us through the everyday essentials making her heart happy.

maria cornejo tastemaker
Credit: Martien Mulder

Her Essentials

"I try to be creative with less, and push the needle to be more sustainable."

The Brooklyn Bridge

"To unwind, I walk across it to and from the studio. It clears my head."

Priti Polish, in "Tawny Day Lily," $15, pritinyc.com.

"I wear this eco-friendly formula on my fingernails. The color looks very natural, so I don't have to worry if it chips a bit."

Zero + Maria Cornejo "Lena" Top and "Takeo" Pants, $550 each, nordstrom.com.

"Since I work with color and pattern every day, I keep my own outfit neutral. It helps me focus."

Red Flower Aromatherapeutic Body Oil, $34 for 4 oz., redflower.com.

"After scrubbing with a brush in the shower, I moisturize with Italian blood-orange oil in the morning and French lavender at night."

Jill Platner "Antiope" Earrings, in 19k gold, $2,640 (also available in silver, $255), jillplatner.com.

"Jill has become a friend, and I feel a little love every time I wear her work."

Chloé Mini "Marcie" Bag, in Cashmere Grey, $890, saks.com.

"This was a gift from my late mother-in-law. It's a discreet, tiny purse that fits a lot inside."

tastemaker products chair music flower lipstick
Credit: Peter Ardito; Getty (gardenia); Courtesy of 1stdibs (chair)

Wanderer, by Cat Power, $12, amazon.com.

"I've known her for years and feel very attached to her. This album is my new favorite."

Knoll "Tara" Fabric, in Scarlet, $102 a yd., knoll.com.

"I collaborated with Knoll on this textile line; it was inspired by abstract photos I took on my phone. I used it to make throw pillows for my house."

O&M "Frizzy Logic" Shine Serum, $30 for 50 ml, originalmineral.com.

"I have really thick hair; this smooths it perfectly."

Escentric Molecules "Beautiful Mind, Vol. 1," $165 for 100 ml, luckyscent.com.

"Beauty and joy in a bottle."

Yola Mezcal 1971, $60 for 750 ml, yolamezcal.com.

"It's great mixed in a cocktail or on its own."

Gardenia plants, from $13 for a 2.5-inch pot, logees.com.

"They're so special, with an incredible fragrance. I never cut the blooms."

Bobbi Brown Luxe Matte Lip Color, in Burnt Cherry, $37, bobbibrowncosmetics.com.

"I don't wear a lot of makeup, but this lipstick gives me a little color."

Hans Wegner "CH-27" Lounge Chair, 1stdibs.com.

"My home is my oasis. It's lived in and comfortable-filled with midcentury-modern pieces, like this chair, and lots of plants."

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