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Patricia Michaels is a young designer living in Taos, New Mexico. Patriciaís clothing celebrates the feminine: the nurturing, the softness, the essences of the female self that Patricia believes women, and many designers, have forgotten.

"The world is moving so fast," Patricia says, "And I find that sometimes women canít let go a bit; they donít allow their femininity to happen. And I try to have my clothing read a lot more soft, a lot more sensual, so that women arenít afraid of that side of themselves. Because the cold, hard edge side of women is so easily there."

A master of the fine art of creating and manipulating textiles and dying fabrics, Patriciaís designs are lush, unique, brilliant, ethereal, sensuous, and, of course, very feminine. Patricia is of Taos Pueblo and Polish descent, and her creations incorporate the visual landscape, the symbolism, and the esthetics of her Pueblo origins, and the skills of sewing and pattern making of her Polish ancestors.

Patricia uses fabrics such as velvet, silk charmeuse, silk organza, felted wool, and chiffon. Into these fabrics, Patricia incorporates delicate, elegant elements, including gold thread and emu feathers. She also distresses her fabrics, sometimes burning holes into them, sometimes painting on them by hand, sometimes silk-screening the pattern onto the fabric, and sometimes using her own innovative methods. She often works in black or white, but the beauty of her desert surroundings may just as well inspire her to work in brilliant colors. The dyes are her own blend.

Patricia Michaels and her children.

Fashion Finds presents Patriciaís newest collection mixed with images of past collections. Her latest creations are the essentially all white pieces. Patricia finds that when she conceives a new collection, she starts with white, or one simple color, so that the viewer can focus on the construction of the garment, and the basic idea, or theme, of the collection. She likes to bring the viewer back "to a fresh palette."

Special thanks to Rosalind Cutforth for
introducing us to the work of
Native American artists and designers.
Patricia Michaels does commission work.
Contact her at

Patricia Michaels' designs can be found
at the Katonah General Store,
in Katonah, NY. 914-232-6400

All photographs by Jennifer Esperanza